NOTEWORTHY REVIEWS (AS OF January 7, 2022)

 

Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness was published on November 15, 2021.  As of January 2, 2022, one and a half months after publication, I have received 19 Amazon customer reviews: 17 on Amazon.com & 2 on Amazon.ca; unfortunately, Amazon does not always publish customer reviews across marketplaces so some Amazon.com reviews may not appear on Amazon.ca and vice versa.  Before I say anything further, please note that only 2% 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.

 

I have also received 6 reviews from other sources:  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; and three 5-STAR reviews from Readers' Favorite reviewers. 

 

EXCELLENT AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Elizabeth Wells on Amazon.com (Oak Tree Reading)

"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.

Content
• 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.

 

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.

 

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

 

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 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.

 

ADVANCE REVIEWS OF  

FINDING JOY WITH AN INVISIBLE CHRONIC ILLNESS: 

PROVEN STRATEGIES FOR DISCOVERING HAPPINESS, MEANING, AND FULFILLMENT

 

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

 

"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