Queen of Sleep

Living with narcolepsy: a personal journey

Six uncomfortable reasons why you can get stuck with a negative attitude

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Coping with Long-Term Illness


At the moment I am going through the shelves of my local library to find more information on self-management of long-term illness and health.  I found an interesting passage in “Coping with Long-Term Illness” by Barbara Baker published by Sheldon Press.  It follows a similar theme to my previous post. Read only if you feel courageous enough!

Six uncomfortable reasons why you can get stuck with a negative attitude

1. It is quite a good way of getting attention. If you are always negative, then chances are people who are positive will try to cheer you up!

2. It is easier. If you are positive, then it means you have to try to actively solve problems. It may seem tempting just to accept the status quo instead.

3. It is a way of avoiding responsibility if things do not turn out well. After all, if you are a positive person and try this or that in a bid to ease symptoms or attempt to beat your illness and it does not work, then you might feel it was your fault that it failed.

4. You do not have anything to live up to.  If you are a positive person, then everyone might expect you to get better. If you are a negative person, people are less likely to expect improvement.

5. At least you are prepared for the worst!

6. It may help you ‘stay stuck’ in the illness, which, in turn, may be resolving a problem. A simple example is that if you are ill, it might give you a cast-iron reason to avoid going out, helping others or getting a job. The difficulty is that you might not be aware of all this consciously and it can be hard to fathom out the underlying connections. It may be something to do with fear of responsibility, fear of showing your emotions, fear of failure or fear of rejection. Another way of approach this is to write a list of all the things you would be able to do if you were well. Do any of the things on that list make you feel uncomfortable? Ask yourself what would happen if your illness suddenly stopped. What disadvantages would there be?

Barbara then goes on suggesting that if you feel that anything in this list feel familiar it might be worth your time to talk to a professional counsellor or therapist. I could not agree more. She also recommends looking at your past and your family what did illness mean? How did people respond to it, what did they say and how did they act?

Being ill, gives you and members of your family a “role” i.e. some people feel more comfortable being cared for whereas others prefer caring for someone else.

The possibility of changing roles and switching dynamics of relationships can be perceived as uncomfortable or worrying and can potentially mean the end of some relationships. Remember that you probably didn’t consciously put yourself in this type of “being cared for – carer” relationship. I see it everyday, these types of people are drawn to each other because of a personal need to perform in-learnt roles. Your family or partner might need to change with you  – this might seem like a scary prospect but they will if your relationship is built on healthy foundations.  It might take time for your environment to realise what is happening to you so be as patient with them as you would be with yourself. If the relationship is holding you back it might be time to leave it behind so you can make room for a more positive and healthy one. This happened to me. It wasn’t easy to let go, but I had to, because I increasingly realised that we wanted different things in life. When I learned to manage better and became more independent we became incompatible and the relationship developed into a very compatible friendship.


Written by Queen of Sleep

December 14, 2010 at 7:33 pm

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