So I got a complement the other day. I was praised for how I can stay cheerful throughout this ordeal that is ME.
People have told me that they think they would not cope "AT ALL!"
I guess I would have thought the same thing too, a few years ago.
Yet somehow the mind adapts to the new reality, and somehow we can keep going...
There was a BBC article this week that got me thinking: A Point of View: Happiness and disability
The author made the point that the public at large seem to assume that disabled people should be permanently unhappy about their situation.
Yet he also noted that individuals tend to have a default level of happiness, and that after major injury (or even a lottery win) that happiness levels will change for a period, but then return to this default state of "happiness" once the situation has become normal.
I imagine there are some situations, such as unresolved pain, unmet needs, or escalating debt that would not follow this pattern.
Likewise an ME sufferer who has a declining state of health and no feeling of control, would also find it more difficult to feel content.
I know that I have had periods of decline through out this illness, and each one of those has required a new and unpleasant re-adjustment. However over the past 6 months I have been able to stabilise my health through careful attention to pacing techniques.
With this stability, I find I am now more content to see the good things in the world around me and to feel grateful for what I have. Of course sometimes I'm frustrated - my daughters have just gone shopping without me - but I'm learning now to balance my life and to feel less anger at how my life has changed.
Happiness, in the light of illness, certainly takes on a different flavour. Yet I agree with the article: provided a situation is not worsening, we can adjust and find something of our old selves once more.
And even in illness happiness can bloom again. ;-)