Last updated: July 14, 2022

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Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness: Proven Strategies for Discovering Happiness, Meaning, and Fulfillment was released on November 15, 2021.  It is now available as an eBook, paperback, or hardcover at Amazon.comAlso, for an enhanced reader experience (highly recommended!), the "Workbook for Christopher Martin's Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness" by Oak Tree Reading is now available as an eBook and paperback on Amazon.com. 


A talented and experienced narrator is currently producing an audiobook through ACX, which will likely be available by May 2022.     


If you buy a copy of Finding Joy or its workbook, please consider leaving a star rating or short review on Amazon.  Thank you!



Who is this Book Written for?


1. Any unwell chronic illness sufferer regardless of whether not yet diagnosed, recently diagnosed, or diagnosed for a
long time. In fact, while the undiagnosed may particularly utilize the sections on diagnosis and access to healthcare, the discussions on mental health, stress, grief, and relationships apply more to the recently diagnosed and long-time sufferer.


Furthermore, while the spiritual content early in the book offers personal insights and several Bible verses – which Christian readers may particularly appreciate – my goal is to inspire all chronic illness sufferers, first and foremost. Plus, research shows the benefits of faith to good health, as this is an evidence-based, psychology self-help book. 


2. Loved ones, the well spouse, and caregivers of the chronically ill. Chapter 7 provides specific guidance on what
one should say, what one should not say, and what one could do to help their loved one. It also discusses the important roles of well-spouses and caregivers in the lives of their chronically ill loved one. Often overlooked, their needs matter, too.


3. Mental health and medical professionals who treat those with chronic illness. Examples include counselors, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, primary care providers, and specialist physicians. 




Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness has been written in part to address the following problems chronic illness patients confront:


1) the emotional challenges that stem from living with an invisible chronic illness and the subsequent high rates of depression;

2) the loneliness many with chronic illness experience, misunderstanding from others, and ensuing relationship difficulties; 

3) the diagnostic and prognostic confusion, and difficulty accessing and maintaining high quality healthcare; 


As a school psychologist and patient, Finding Joy integrates my professional and personal insights to advocate a holistic approach to managing chronic illness.


On a personal note, I wrote Finding Joy thanks in large measure to the following: 

  1. The pandemic afforded me the time to write it.  My family is my first priority, but I wasn't driving them around everywhere or traveling as I would in normal times.  Frankly, I didn't think I would ever write another book after my 2007 book, Having Nasal Surgery? Don't You Become An Empty Nose Victim!  
  2. The topic of chronic illness and the difficulties associated with it have been on my heart for several years.
  3. There are not enough comprehensive, practical books for those suffering from chronic illness.  
  4. I offer a unique and professional angle to understand chronic illness given my psychology background.
  5. I tire of hearing the suggestions such as "stay positive" or "this pill will cure you of your illness."  I thought I would explore firsthand what the positive psychology literature really has to say about chronic illness.  




  • How can you experience those good thoughts and feelings, enjoy life at its fullest, and de-stress when faced with constant, unremitting physical suffering?


  • How can you enhance your relationships, find support, respond to the naysayers, and possibly even help them understand you and your illness?


  • When seeking medical care, how can you get the answers you deserve, and access and maintain quality healthcare?





A key difference between Finding Joy and other books on chronic illness on the market is Finding Joy is not only a comprehensive guide for living with a chronic illness, but it is written from a psychologist (and patient) point of view, with citation of research on positive psychology tips, stress management techniques, and treatment options for depression as they relate to chronic illness.  


Finding Joy offers an easy to understand, concise but thorough explanation of countless tips for living well with chronic illness.  Finding Joy is divided into three sections: the emotional aspects, the relationship impacts, and access to quality healthcare.  
Finding Joy is an A-to-Z guide that critiques the literature and empowers the reader with:


  1. Positive psychology techniques. These range from self-compassion, positive reappraisal, positive self-talk, and pacing to positive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors such as optimism, humor, and volunteer work.
  2. Stress-reduction methods. These include tools such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, simplification, and (therapeutic) journaling.

  3. Proven therapies. Examples include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

  4. Effective communication strategies and their impact on relationships and even the ability to access quality healthcare.

  5. Numerous tips to both access and optimize your your experience with high quality healthcare.
  6. Important considerations for loved ones of the chronically ill, so they too can know how to best support their loved one and take care of themselves in the process. 



  • As of March 1, 2022, the "Workbook for Christopher Martin's Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness" by Oak Tree Reading is now available as an eBook and paperback on Amazon.com.  This can be used for personal application or in a support group or book club. 


  • On NetGalley - a popular site of 440,000 members (booksellers, bloggers, media, librarians, educators, journalists) where reviewers can receive a digital copy of books - Finding Joy has been among the most requested and reader recommended books in its niche categories of Health, Mind, and Body; Self-Help; and Nonfiction (Adult).


  • On Amazon.com, Finding Joy has been a #1 New Release in the following categories:  Disorders & Diseases Reference; Medicine & Psychology; Asthma; Genetic Disorders; Genetics Health; Rheumatology; Endocrine System; Multiple Sclerosis; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Cystic Fibrosis; and Lupus.


  • On Amazon.com, as of December 28, 2021, Finding Joy has reached a #1 bestseller (kindle version) in the following categories:  chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatology, and multiple sclerosis.  It has been a #2 bestseller in genetics diseases & disorders, and a #3 bestseller in endocrine system (right behind the book, Medical Medium).


  • On December 28, 2021, the following promotion websites have added Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness:


Discount Book Man

Reedsy Discovery

It is also posted on the blog, Family Therapist Digest2021




Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness was published on November 15, 2021.  As of July 14, 2022, eight months after publication, I have received 57 Amazon customer ratings/reviews: 47 on Amazon.com, 4 additional reviews which appear only on Amazon.ca (28 total Amazon.ca reviews), 5 additional reviews that appear only on Amazon.co.uk (29 total Amazon.co.uk reviews), & 1 additional review that appears only on amazon.com.au (25 total Amazon.com.au reviews).  Unfortunately, Amazon does not always publish customer reviews across marketplaces, particularly if the review is not a verified purchase so some Amazon.com reviews, for example, may not appear on Amazon.ca and vice versa.  Before I say anything further, please note that only 1% of Amazon customers leave reviews; they are very hard to come by!  So I appreciate it when people take the time to leave an honest review.


Additionally, I have received 16 reviews that appear on other sites:  Melinda @ Looking for the Light Blog (6,976 followers as of 12/17/2021); Sacha T.Y. Fortuné, Reedsy Discovery reviewer and author (2,338 Reedsy Discovery followers); Diane Donovan, senior reviewer from Midwest Book Review; three 5-STAR reviews from Readers' Favorite reviewers; Carey's review on Goodreads.com & BarnesandNoble.com; Saira's review on NetGalley; Alison S.'s review on NetGalley; Brooke Oakes on onlinebookclub.org; and Jeffrey Hatcher on LibraryThing; reviewer 823951 on NetGalley; and Sam on Bookbub; Dina Husseini on Goodreads.com; Ladyreading365 on Goodreads.com; Grace on Goodreads.com; and Alison S on NetGalley.


So, across all sites, I have received 73 reviews/ratings!



*Below are NOT all of the reviews received, but rather some VERY NOTEWORTHY ONES*




 As a chronic illness sufferer, I highly recommend this book.

Reviewed by Elsa Bridger in the United Kingdom on 20 April 2022

Verified Purchase


The thing that sets it apart from others is that it’s actually written by a fellow sufferer and he can also give valuable insight as a psychologist. This topic could easily be heavy-going, but it is mainly an upbeat, positive read. Saying that, the author has taken care to balance positivity with reality, and points out that although it’s not always possible to look on the bright side, there are still things we can do to ensure that we don’t spiral into depression. This is a comprehensive book packed with practical advice, personal and professional experiences and knowledge. Examples of the information covered: self-help, dietary supplements, many therapy options and advice for the care-giver/s. The chapter on grief struck a cord with me, and I now see that this is what I’ve been going through. Somehow, having a professional tell you it’s normal and justifiable, helps. I highly recommend this book to sufferers and, perhaps even more so, to those that are well, so you can better understand why we can’t always live up to society’s expectations. After all, I was fine until I wasn’t and, sadly, it can happen to any of us at any point in our lives.


Reviewed by Alison S. on NetGalley in April 2022


I liked "Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness" a lot. I would say that if you are dealing with a chronic illness, you'll find it resonates and gives you things to think about. I think that finding one's way through chronic illness is an individual journey, but this book helps you begin to think about what it looks like for you.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.


Reviewed by Don S and TeamGolfwell in the United States on March 20, 2022


I thought this book was excellent. It is very comprehensive and very well written by an author sharing his valuable advice that is helpful and very practical to anyone who suffers from an unseen chronic illness. It was a pleasure to read this information and the author gives sound advice. Very well done and highly recommended.

It was my pleasure to receive a free copy of this book but that does not in any way affect my opinions in this review of this exceptional book.


Elizabeth Wells on Amazon.com (Oak Tree Reading)

Verified Purchase

"You are tough.  You are a fighter.  And there is always a silver lining in every battle you fight." 

What Problem Does This Book Attempt To Address?
Chronic illnesses can take a toll on emotional, mental, social, and physical wellbeing. It can severely impact quality of life and a person’s ability to function day-to-day. This book offers people who have chronic illnesses strategies for coping and improving their mental health amidst the struggles and limitations that comes with chronic illness.

• Concept explanation: Very clear
• Related stories: Few
• Data references and studies: Adequate
• Charts and graphics: Few
• Practical application: Strong

This book undoubtedly fulfills its stated goal of providing the reader with strategies to improve happiness, meaning and fulfilment while living with chronic illness. The concepts are very clear and well-written. The information is useful and easily applicable. Where the book is lacking is only in attempting to get more buy-in from the reader in Chapter 1. Many people who could benefit the most from this book are probably used to having their lives run by their chronic illness. They may feel like a victim and they may believe that this illness, especially if it is severe, has taken their lives away. For readers who for instance can no longer work, engage in their favorite hobbies, socialize as they want, etc., and have been struggling with their chronic illness for a while, changing mindsets may not feel possible or justified. A reader who feels their illness has ruined their life may not be sold on reconstructing their entire mental framework without more of an emotional argument to persuade them. Jumping straight into the content in Chapter 1 seems like a big ask for the audience.

Other than that, I really found the book to have great content, easy to read, helpful and interesting. I loved the section on grief, I thought the explanations of the different types of therapy were excellent, and the section on stress had very interesting information, not just a repeat of what we always hear. I also liked that he added the section on well-spouses and caregivers. I think the needs of those who take care of people with chronic illnesses are easily and often overlooked and this was a very important topic that he raised awareness about. Overall this book is a compilation of a lot of great info presented in a very effective manner.

Writing Style & Presentation
• Tone: Informational
• Organization: Excellent
• Flow: Excellent

The organization of this book is well done. One reason it is easy to read is because it flows really well. The tone is straightforward, informational and feels professional.

Bring It all Together
1. One thing done really well: While many of the strategies presented in the book may be familiar to the reader, the author did a superb job of supplying additional information regarding these topics that is both interesting and not readily found in most self-help articles and books.
2. One thing that could be better: As stated previously, getting more audience buy-in on making very challenging mental shifts would make the book more effective.
3. One main thing I took away from this book was: You may never be able to improve your chronic illness, but you can still work on improving your mental well-being and lead a happier more fulfilled life despite your diagnoses.

Overall Recommendation
- Overall recommendation: 4.5/5
- Who I would recommend this book for: People who have a chronic illness and feel stuck or trapped because of it.
- Who I wouldn’t recommend this book for: For people struggling with moderate to severe depression due to a chronic illness, this book would not be an adequate replacement for therapy, nor is it intended to be.


Please note: as a result of the above review, I added the following sections to the introduction:  What Exactly is an Invisible Chronic Illness? (which was previously defined in a footnote), Who is this Book Written for?,  When Chronic Illness Turns Your World Upside Down, and How to Apply Strategies.  These 4 additional sections more or less make the book more user-friendly.   The Kindle Content Review Team at Amazon also reviewed the updates and considered them "minor quality corrections" so, as of January 28, 2022, anyone who has already purchased the eBook on Amazon can now go to "manage your content and devices" and get the updated kindle version of the book.    Talk about an effective review - this review ultimately enhanced the quality of my book!!  Now I look forward to her Chapter Discussion Questions, which she will be doing this February.   


Sam on Bookbub.com

Reviewed on March 31, 2022


I did find this book very useful. An interesting read, with practical advice & good instructions on what can be done & how to implement it into your life. Easy to read & understand, so I do think this book would be a useful, practical tool in helping to manage life for those with a wide variety of chronic illnesses. I will continue to use this & am hoping for excellent results!


All Inclusive

Reviewed by Xaves in the United States on April 17, 2022

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Brooke on Amazon.com

Reduce the stress of living with chronic illness

Reviewed in the United States on January 30, 2022

Verified Purchase


This book is jam-packed with information to help those struggling with chronic illness who are looking for understanding and meaning in their life. This book guides the reader to stop focusing on their illness and start focusing on what they want their life to look like. Christopher Martin covers multiple aspects of life including self-advocacy, spirituality, working with medical professionals and even diet. He walks the reader through how they can improve their quality of life through methods that promote looking beyond their illness. I found it to be a helpful and inspiring read!


Erik Tornquist on Amazon.com

A comforting book

Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2022

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Bob on Amazon.com

How to experience abundant life through suffering

Reviewed in the United States on December 9, 2021  

Verified Purchase


“Now, 1 in 2 Americans (around 165 million) have a chronic medical condition, in which their illness impairs them in one or more of their everyday activities.


Further, 96% of chronic medical conditions in the United States are invisible, making them both harder to diagnose and for others – family, friends, and healthcare providers – to understand.2a As a result, because others tend to assume what we can or cannot do simply by how we look, they tend to downplay this suffering, and assume we are either lazy, irresponsible, or even faking our illness.”


Excerpt From
Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness


Chris hits the last nerve with this paragraph. Many people with chronic illnesses have been brushed off, or their illness underplayed or outright not treated. He has some great ideas on how we can harness our energy, what energy we have to take control of our healthcare by assembling the right team of doctors, making the most of our doctor’s appointments, and becoming your best advocate.


He also addresses the depression that often follows someone with a chronic illness which can, in turn, fall into the cycle and create more pain. It is one many know all too well and don’t always know how to balance the two. 


Chris also has some questions for you, to take a hard look at yourself and answer about your chronic illness. I found them enlightening and worth soul searching on. 


Being a Psychologist Chris’s approach to the book is one of mind over matter. You can change how you talk to yourself and how you chose to look at each situation.  


I think Chris says it best, the diagnosis is a step forward, it’s not the last. 


“While an official diagnosis represents a huge step forward in the management of your condition, it also represents a new beginning in your journey of further seeking help for your condition, not the end. In dealing with a chronic illness, the search for improved health and a better quality of life never ceases. Likewise, despite an official diagnosis, you will continue to confront challenges when accessing quality healthcare or dealing with others, but it will be that much easier to confront these challenges. You have cleared a major hurdle.”


Excerpt From

Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness


Chris includes a helpful chapter for loved ones as a resource and support. 


Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness is a great find, one for all to read, the patient, the loved one, and family members. It is a simple and very practical approach to taking control by understanding how we think and what we have control over when it comes to our chronic condition and healthcare treatment. 


Carey's Reviews on Goodreads.com

4.5 Stars! This is a great book and anyone with an invisible chronic illness should really read it. I’ve had an illness since age 14 and I still suffer from illness now. That’s why I wanted to read this book in the first place. The author has some great tips and tricks for dealing with illness, in general, and the mental health of someone with a chronic illness. A must read for anyone with an invisible chronic illness.


Review by Saira A. on NetGalley

This is an excellent book for anyone who has a chronic illness (and even those who don't if only to have more people in the world understand what its like to live with chronic illness).


As someone with chronic illness this book made me feel seen and understood, it was insightful and honest. I really appreciated that the author makes early on about not wanting to have an overly rosy portrayal of chronic illlness (likening it to people only showing the best of their life on social media) and that he has his flare ups and that it doesnt mean he's done anything wrong but that he just has a chronic illness. I found this really hit me because there are times when your chronic illness creeps up on you and it can be painful, and a big aspect of finding joy with chronic illness is accepting that this is life with chronic illness and going easy on yourself in those times.


I also really appreciated how he explained everything he has gained and particularly how his faith gave him something to hold onto, depending on god gave him strength and hope. It's something that helped me through my own illness, in the depths of it when everything felt so wrong. These days people are so afraid of talking about god with those who don't have faith belittling the rest of us constantly so i truly appreciated the author being vulnerable and sharing his whole truth with us not just some aspects.


The author covers many techniques that have successfully helped me manage my illness over the years, one amongst many others being pacing and how to practice it. He covers how we can use psychology, spirituality, supplements, stress management techniques etc to our benefit.


There is a section on considerations for people with chronic illness in regard to exercise which i thought was great! For myself i found exercise crucial to managing to chronic illness BUT i have to be very careful about what and how much i do so I felt this section was great!


This book takes a very holistic approach to living with chronic illness which is absolutely essential in my opinion. When i first started struggling with illness I was never able to find something that had all this information in one place and even though I've learnt so much over the years, there's still so much to learn from this and comfort to take from it. I would definitely recommend!


“You Look Well”!

Reviewed by Sarah Stuart in the United Kingdom on January 2, 2022

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The key word in the title of this book is INVISIBLE. Thankfully, I don’t suffer from any of the three conditions dealt with in depth, but I have experienced enough ill-health to understand where Christopher Martin is coming from. How do you take “you look well”? You appear to be fine, so why are being so lazy/such a bore/a nuisance? You look absolutely ghastly, but I’ll tell you differently to cheer you up? The person addressing you very likely meant “considering how you must feel, you are bravely putting on a cheerful face” but it isn’t the way you take it, depressed by constant pain and exhaustion.

So, what to do about it? LEARN TO FORGIVE YOURSELF. Forgiving others is easy in comparison but take heart... trust Mr Martin to show you the way. If you share his Christian faith, trust if God. Your affliction is not your fault! There are many books, written by people of every faith, which promise that their deity can works miracles if you spend a few dollars, but this is not one of them.

The roots of this book lie in the author’s own suffering and how he tackled it. It is jam-packed with advice on how to get the treatment and support you need, both physical and emotional. He lists exactly what all the strangely titled (to the layman/woman) specialists do and what they can offer. When you know that, you can build a support team. YOUR support team, which it is your responsibility to ensure communicate with one another and with you. When you meet with any of them, there is a comprehensive list of test results to amass before your appointment, plus what to say, and what not to say. “YOU are in the Driver’s Seat,”

I promise it is possible. I would have found it easier had I read this book before I began my battle towards the optimum health my body can achieve, but I have done it. Never mind “take up your bed and walk”, the miracle of JOY in my life lies within this book, and that is my new goal.
Everything you want to know about chronic illness explained simply

Reviewed by Sherry M in the United States on February 6, 2022

Great Tools

Verified Purchase




Verified Purchase



Helpful, especially for those of us who would like to be a support but have no idea how

Reviewed by A Vogel in the United States on March 1, 2022


This book contains information I think all of us could benefit from. I don't suffer from a chronic illness, and I learned so much about how it affects the person suffering from it, as well as their near and dear ones. Should I ever meet someone suffering from a chronic illness, at least I feel somewhat prepared to be able to say the right thing, rather than having a foot-in-mouth moment to destroy any chances of supporting that person.

I liked that the author presents his own experiences, which I understand may be unique to him, but at the least gives some idea of what it's like for those of us who have no idea. At the same time, the advice for people suffering from such illnesses, their careers and their support network is set out clearly and made a lot of sense to me.

The author also includes a whole range of information so that people in different circumstances can hopefully glean useful information from this book. It definitely seems to be an exhaustive pooling of all the information available, meaning this book is a great place to start for anyone recently diagnosed or for their family and friends who'd like to better understand what it's like and the difficulties invisible chronic illnesses pose.


A Valuable Resource!

Reviewed by Hilary Walker in the United States on March 5, 2022


This book is written with great compassion for people with hidden chronic illnesses by a fellow sufferer, who knows only too well how difficult it is to maintain a positive outlook on life under such trying circumstances.

Yet he guides the chronically ill towards a more fulfilling life, without necessarily eliminating their pain. A committed Christian, he helps the sufferer to “learn to be content whatever the circumstances” as described by the Apostle Paul, and accept their chronic illness.

He provides multiple coping strategies, empowering sufferers to even flourish, and finds that confronting his illnesses has caused him to ‘become more grateful, more humble, more kind-hearted, more eager to help others, and more reliant on God.’ In other words, his conditions have made him a better person.

Included is a valuable chapter addressed to the loved ones of the chronically ill, where he explains how to provide them with emotional and practical support, as well as take care of themselves.

My son has a chronic hidden illness: he has already adopted several of the strategies suggested by Christopher Martin with great results and I look forward to sharing many new ones from this book with him.


Finding joy in acceptance

Reviewed by Carmel McMurdo Audsley in Australia on March 5, 2022




Awesome book

Reviewed by Jay Rocken in Canada on February 11, 2022

Verified Purchase



Reviewer 823951 on NetGalley on February 17, 2022


An invaluable read. I have chronic invisible Illness and was interested to read this book. Many things I could totally relate to. Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness is a great find, one for all to read, the patient, the loved one, and family members. Also addresses the mental health aspect of those of us living with mental health which essential too.


Overall, the message is positive with sound practical day to day advice

Reviewed by Anthony Wright in the United Kingdom on February 15, 2022

Verified Purchase

Anyone living with a long term condition will find the insights and suggestions in this book most useful in their daily lives. This would apply to the patient and equally to friends/family who are close to the patient.
There are many self-help books for health and wellbeing in the marketplace, but one of the real challenges is very few people writing these books actually have first-hand experience of the medical issues and disabilities of the condition. But in this case the author has over a decade of first-hand experience living with the condition and also its consequences. I would not describe the book as a storybook or novel, the resulting book is very much a guide or walk through around all of the issues that one might have to face. Owing to the nature of the condition it does actually cover a very broad range of human ailments, both physical and mental. As the title suggests the book also explores the nature of conditions that are not easily spotted and the tendency of patients not to be believed.
While in many cases the author is offering his own solutions to manage the condition, he is often able to substantiate the advice. It is interesting that many of his real life experiences can be cross referenced with long-term medical studies from established, credible, medical sources. His own pathway also included the more alternative therapies and again there are insights as to what seems to work and under what circumstances.
Overall I was particular impressed with the depth of research and attention to detail, written very much from the inside out. There are numerous action plan examples to assist anyone trying to take their life forward when confronted by such issues. There are also some useful insights for loved ones, careers and the wider family – It is simply not easy to live with someone who is unwell indefinitely.
Overall the message is positive with sound practical day to day advice; there is no suggestion of some `miracle` cure but more about the long term management of the condition – seeking improvement, but accepting that it may be a long term process.

Beneficial for All (chronic illness sufferers or not)

Reviewed by Vicki in the United States on February 22, 2022





Review by Sacha T. Y. Fortuné, Reedsy Discovery review and author (2,338 Reedsy Discovery followers as of 12/17/2021)

Author, editor (15+ yrs) & avid reader/reviewer of most genres. When I love a book, I LOVE a book. Please share the love and upvote my own novel via: sfortuneauthor.com/upvote 


Loved it! 😍

An inspiring and useful book for those suffering with chronic illness


This was an inspiring and useful book for those suffering with chronic illness.


The author notes the high prevalence of chronic medical conditions, and points out the poor quality of life for those who suffer. He highlights the importance of focusing on mental health alongside any other therapies or medications, stating that even when conditions are “invisible” they are still very real to the patient and require a multi-pronged approach.


Blending facts with useful resources, as well as sharing his own experience of struggling with an immune deficiency disorder, he promotes “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”, which helps patients clarify their values and lead a more fulfilling life while improving psychological flexibility; as well as “positive psychology” which embraces optimism while understanding the merits of "defensive pessimism".


He shares his religious faith, which has guided him through his challenges, and also advises that staying open to new experiences can be a healthy coping mechanism. Lifelong learning is important to keep your mind active and healthy; volunteering, in particular, is another strategy to help take the focus away from one’s pain and into more altruistic measures that can be of mutual benefit as it reduces your own stress.


There are self-reflective questions to guide the reader, as well as prompts such as: “Write a letter to someone you have never thanked before” and “Write one thing for which you are grateful for each day”. He also encourages practicing mindfulness, such as breathing exercises and various forms of exercise; and mentions supplements that can help chronic illnesses. There are also practical tips to help simplify your life, such as decluttering your home or having groceries delivered.


Dating advice is also included, as well as resources to access support groups, and tips about discussing your illness with your loved ones as well as with your employer. I also appreciated the section where he outlines things that someone should NOT tell someone with a chronic illness, for example it is insensitive and cruel to say: “You don’t look sick” or “It’s all in your head.”


Finally, he encourages others to not succumb to the negative emotions caused by their illnesses, but to instead consider how their conditions can benefit them. He states:


I have found incredible meaning and purpose from living with my invisible chronic illnesses. While my search for better health never ceases, I view this suffering as a part of life from which I can grow and learn.


Overall this was a very useful book with several aspects of guidance, and there is a lot here that can benefit multiple audiences. It is well researched and aptly presented, and it can be used by both those with chronic illness as well as those who are caregivers or loved ones of someone with such an illness. I would highly recommend this book to others, and look forward to future works from this author.


Donna Donovan, senior reviewer at Midwest Book Review

Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness: Proven Strategies for Discovering Happiness, Meaning, and Fulfillment comes from a psychologist and father of 6 who has battled multiple invisible chronic ailments ranging from asthma and allergies, a primary immune deficiency disorder, sleep apnea, and more. While any of these would seem enough to struggle with, the combination results in a real challenge to leading a joyful life, injecting the specter of debilitation and illness into the most mundane of daily rituals.

Invisible chronic illness is more prevalent in society than one would think. There are all kinds of conditions that create pain, uncertainty, and struggles with daily routines, yet are not observed by those outside the family. As a result, they are less understood by others, are often self-diagnosed outside of medical circles, and are challenging for everyone involved.

Chris Martin advises that the first step in dealing with chronic illness is to gain an accurate medical diagnosis, but he's careful to also say that this isn't the last step in the process of regaining a meaningful life: "While an official diagnosis represents a huge step forward in the management of your condition, it also represents a new beginning in your journey of further seeking help for your condition, not the end. In dealing with a chronic illness, the search for improved health and a better quality of life never ceases. Likewise, despite an official diagnosis, you will continue to confront challenges when accessing quality healthcare or dealing with others, but it will be that much easier to confront these challenges. You have cleared a major hurdle."

Finding Joy acknowledges both the complexity of searching for better treatments and health through medical circles and gaining support from family and friends who may come to question a process which holds no clear avenue to resolution, yet impacts many life choices: "When others doubt the validity of your illness, they may view you as faking your illness and encourage you to just push through it. They struggle to understand why you frequently need to cancel on them, why you are not up for social gatherings or outings, or why you do not appear productive. Although most people with chronic illness would prefer to stay productive than chronically ill any day, they may view you as lazy and over-indulging in rest or your "time off." In short, they often perceive your invisible chronic illness as not severe enough to prevent you from engaging in daily life activities."

Martin offers concrete paths to better health, communication, and mind-stretching/supporting routines such as mindfulness, and tailors all these approaches to chronic illness.

While there is plenty of information here about acceptance, self-compassion, reappraisal, encouraging self-talk, social support, and positive psychology concepts and stress management techniques, the heart of this discussion lies in putting these ethereal concepts and ideals into daily life and interactions with others.

All this lends an ultimate purpose of finding joy in everyday life against all obstacles. Martin's discussion incorporates how to create new mindsets, habits, and approaches to living for optimal results. These offer a revised set of actions and new solutions for those who have found themselves swamped with chronic ailments and daily life challenges.

Anyone with chronic illness needs this blueprint of new pathways to joy. It's a survey recommended not just for the chronically ill patient, but also for the family and friends supporting their efforts.


Reviewed By Edith Wairimu for Readers’ Favorite - RATING 5-STARS

Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness: Proven Strategies for Discovering Happiness, Meaning, and Fulfillment by Christopher Martin is an approachable and useful guide for patients with chronic illness and their caregivers. As a person who suffers from multiple chronic illnesses, Martin understands the toll that such illnesses take not only on the physical body but also on other important aspects that are critical to living a healthy, joyful life. The book delves into grief and stress management and being aware of the limitations of positive psychology while applying its benefits. It explains the importance of support from loved ones when dealing with chronic illness. It also includes advice on navigating healthcare, how to advocate for your own needs and seek a professional opinion, and how to maintain a healthy diet.

Christopher does a brilliant job of explaining the tools for managing the social, spiritual, mental, and physical aspects that chronic illnesses affect, which many times are disregarded. It shows that patients who suffer from chronic illness can still live a wholesome life. I loved that the book contains straightforward tips for patients, their caregivers, and loved ones. Every chapter includes useful advice on how to navigate each topic, such as what to say to a patient, how to help them, and how a patient can navigate their diagnostic journey. The advice contained is also impactful and important in combating issues such as negative self-talk and stress. Though chronic illness can pose significant challenges to a patient’s wellbeing, Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness by Christopher Martin describes strategies for living a happy and rewarding life.


Reviewed By Vernita Naylor for Readers’ Favorite - RATING 5-STARS

In today's society, you will find at least four generations co-existing under the same roof. We are living longer and, for some, experiencing a more stable quality of life. But for others with more fast food restaurants all around us, technology usage creating a more sedentary lifestyle, and the added COVID pandemic which now results in children being homeschooled, and becoming caregivers to our parents, is causing us to become stressed and overwhelmed. Without proper balance, diseases and illnesses are quickly beginning to surface. Author Christopher Martin understands first-hand your journey and he shows you that you're not alone in his book, Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness: Proven Strategies for Discovering Happiness, Meaning, and Fulfillment. He's not only a two-time author, but a father of 6, a psychologist who has been dealing with a wide array of chronic illnesses, and health discomforts. This book is a self-contained resource that takes the reader from the psychological impact that illnesses have on us, to managing the loss of others while still working through our illnesses, to effective strategies for handling stress, to learning the elements of essential healthcare and allowing the help of others, to healthy eating.

As Christopher shares his journey, he gives others the tools and ability to have a fighting chance to achieve a healthier life. As part of the journey, Christopher offers thought exercises, scriptures, wisdom, and strategies to lead you to the pathway of good health and healing. Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness brings illumination and peace to the darkness of illness and pain. Christopher reflects the transparency of hope and joy at the end of the tunnel of his discomforts. One thing that was essential for me was the importance of having a strong support system for helping to walk the different pathways that we may find ourselves on during these times. If this is also your story, and you're looking for answers, guidance, and solutions to bring you clarity and optimal health, this book is for you.


Reviewed by Brooke Oakes of onlinebookclub.org (Rated 4 out of 4 stars)

Chronic illness is full of uncertainty. You never know how you will feel from one day to the next. You never know how your symptoms will evolve. Those with chronic illness tend to spend countless hours at the doctors without answers. They may not be able to work at their job. There is an effect on their life at home. Chronic illness even affects a person's mental wellness. How do you cope with what these illnesses do to your mind and body? What strategies can help you when you feel like you are losing hope?

Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness by Christopher Martin provides insights and tools to help people cope with chronic illness. He points out that many times people blame themselves. It can create depression and feelings of loneliness. In the beginning, there are explanations of some of the different chronic illnesses. The author talks about how people are affected by these illnesses and the frustrations that they experience. There is a focus on the psychological effects that these illnesses have. These may not be visible to friends and family.

Martin explains how mindfulness practices and self-compassion can help those with chronic illnesses. These methods help break people out of the negative cycles, decrease depression, and increase optimism and happiness. The author shows how a positive mentality is beneficial. He explains that it can help the person during the management and treatment of their illness.

I liked how the author broke the book down into different chapters that expanded on each other. He discussed the importance of stress management, a healthy diet, and even psychological strategies that are helpful to someone living with a chronic illness. I think all three of these areas are important to the person as a whole. They all work together to support well-being.

There wasn't much that I didn't like about the book. It was well written, and it appeared to be edited professionally with few errors. The chapters flowed well as they transitioned through the topics. Therefore, I give the book 4 out of 4 stars. I did not rate it lower because I appreciated the knowledge that the author shared and the effort that was put into editing the book.

I recommend this book to Christian adults living with chronic illnesses. There are several references to Bible verses and an emphasis on the importance of sticking to your faith. It could also be beneficial to those who want to help friends or family living with illness. Younger readers may find some parts of the book difficult to understand.


Reviewed By Daniel D Staats for Readers’ Favorite - RATING 5-STARS

Christopher Martin is differently-abled. He has multiple chronic illnesses. He has learned how to live—not just cope—with these limitations and shares his experiences in Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness. Problems will be encountered and limitations exist; however, keeping a positive outlook will go far in helping one survive well. Christopher shares the need to use positive psychology to increase health benefits. However, being positive is not the same as blind optimism. A positive outlook on life can be defined as being realistically optimistic. Since God has a purpose even for our suffering, part of our job is to learn the good that will come from our suffering. Laughter, gratitude, and other mindsets all help us find our joy. Christopher shares coping skills most do not think about when in pain. Another area where those with a chronic illness struggle is finding the right doctor and treatment. Christopher covers this too.

Christopher Martin has been there, done that, and did not even get the T-shirt while living with invisible chronic illnesses. In Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness, Christopher shares skills and techniques to help those suffering from chronic diseases find true and lasting joy. As one who has several invisible chronic illnesses, Christopher knows first-hand the struggles these conditions bring with them. Christopher had to learn coping skills, new thought processes, acceptance, and gratitude to do more than just cope and exist. With the training and knowledge contained in this book, Christopher teaches one how to find joy in the darkness and struggle. Our mindset has a much more significant impact on our physical well-being than most people realize. This book will show you how to develop a healthy mindset and find joy in your illness. This book is for you if you have a chronic illness—especially an invisible one.






“Chronic illness has the potential of allowing the individual to grow personally from the experience or become a victim and debilitated emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Finding Joy provides a comprehensive, evidence-based roadmap for not only coping with chronic illness, but personally optimizing self-growth and resiliency from the experience.”—Joanne Joseph, PhD, professor of psychology and interim dean of the College of Health Sciences, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and author of The Resilient Child: Preparing Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s World


"This book offers great value for anyone with chronic illness, as it contains clear, practical, and actionable insights and steps that can be naturally implemented into daily life. An engaging, easy, and helpful read. Highly recommended.”—Alla Bogdanova, MSc, MIM, co-founder and former president of the International Empty Nose Syndrome Association 


Finding Joy is a vital guide on how to best manage and navigate life with a chronic illness."--James Nestor, New York Times bestselling author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art 

"In particular, his chapters on how to seek healthcare and efficiently make the best use of physician appointments dramatically provide a large return on investment from reading this book."--Subinoy Das, MD, FACS, FARS, CEO and director of the US Institute for Advanced Sinus Care & ResearchDr. Das wrote the foreword for this book.


"Finding Joy is absolutely phenomenal. Chris Martin's heartfelt approach offers numerous meaningful strategies to thrive when faced with the many unseen, unrecognized issues of living with an invisible chronic illness." –Heather Lewis-Hoover, MS, CAS, school counselor


"There are times in our lives when practical guidance is not only needed, but is provided in a way that lifts the greater good. From the unique vantage point of a patient and school psychologist, Chris offers a complete resource for those suffering from invisible chronic illnesses.


Encouraging a holistic approach to chronic illness, he thoroughly explores and critiques the positive psychology literature to offer numerous communicating, thinking, feeling, and behavioral approaches.


Additionally, Chris offers a chapter specifically for those who have a loved one with a chronic illness so they, too, can help their chronically ill loved ones on their journey.


Having known Chris for decades, I am beyond fortunate to have been privy to such a work that serves others by providing a timely message, a powerhouse of practical strategies, and invaluable guidance." --Mark Montgomery, PhD, founder and chair of Joseph's Experience, Inc, an organization that assists children impacted by cancer and/or leukemia


"Chronic illness can leave you depleted of energy, withdrawn, full of self-blame, and wallowing in self-pity.  You won't feel this way after reading this book!  An easy to read, understand, and very useful resource, Finding Joy will not only lift your spirits, but it will also show you how to navigate the complex social and emotional journey of living with a chronic ailment."-- Kai Zhao, PhD, associate professor, Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, Ohio State University


"Martin offers concrete paths to better health, communication, and mind-stretching/supporting routines such as mindfulness, and tailors all these approaches to chronic illness.


While there is plenty of information here about acceptance, self-compassion, reappraisal, encouraging self-talk, social support, and positive psychology concepts and stress management techniques, the heart of this discussion lies in putting these ethereal concepts and ideals into daily life and interactions with others.


All this lends an ultimate purpose of finding joy in everyday life against all obstacles. Martin's discussion incorporates how to create new mindsets, habits, and approaches to living for optimal results. These offer a revised set of actions and new solutions for those who have found themselves swamped with chronic ailments and daily life challenges.


Anyone with chronic illness needs this blueprint of new pathways to joy. It's a survey recommended not just for the chronically ill patient, but also for the family and friends supporting their efforts.--D. Donavan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review