Live Bold/Live Now: Six Guidelines "Successful" Patients with Chronic Conditions Live By
Real quick ...
I’ve just finished perusing the entries in HealthCentral’s Live Bold/Live Now event. Each entry offers a snapshot (literally) into the life of someone contending with a debilitating condition. We have a photo. We have a caption.
We have a broad spectrum across conditions we are all aware of: Diabetes, cancer, HIV, depression, bipolar, MS, arthritis, chronic pain, and so on. We also have conditions you probably never heard of, much less even suspected existed. One of these is called Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS). In case you’re wondering, says Alana:
Imagine going to sleep on June 29, 2009 and not waking up until February 11, 2010.
According to Alana: “It’s not what you go through that makes you the person you are. It’s how you react to the situation you are dealt with that makes you the person you are.”
Alana has found meaning in her life by looking past her personal struggle to help others. This is the predominant common theme amongst those who have entered Live Bold/Live Now. Call it advocacy, call it service, call it raising awareness, I would simply describe it as generosity.
Generosity is big. Thinking of others can be extremely difficult when your condition drains you of so much of your life force and turns your focus inward. But giving definitely translates into life’s major prize, namely one worth living.
A few other common themes:
Exercise. Live Bold/Live now has no shortage of great action shots. Whether it’s hiking or running a half-marathon or simply getting outdoors in a wheelchair, exercise engages the body in its own healing and improves function at every level, cellular to organ systems to mood and cognition. Plus, if you keep doing it, you start to feel good about yourself.
Hobbies. Live Bold/Live Now is well-represented by people who pursue their passions, be it gardening, playing music, or making things. This is what life is all about, but our conditions typically rob us of both the ability and the incentive. Significantly, many of the entrants cite getting back into it as major milestones in their recovery.
Setting goals. Facing the present requires the ability to look into the future and daring to imagine a better life. From here to there. “There” is your goal. It may be modest. It may be ambitious. Every entry in Live Bold/Live Now contains a strong sense of “there.” This is the key to establishing a good relationship with “here.”
Enlisting support. Our conditions tend to isolate us, cut us off. Yet, at least a third of the Live Bold/Live photos have someone else in the picture. No man, no woman, is an island. We can’t do it alone.
Gratitude. A severe chronic illness amounts to a major setback. But life is also about the small things, and developing an appreciation for them looms large in all the stories in Live Bold/Live Now. A quiet moment in nature, a shared experience with someone close, maybe just feeling good about breathing - this sounds crazy, but have some of us actually stumbled upon the meaning of life?
Please check out the stories at Live Bold/Live Now. I also strongly encourage you to enter your own photo and brief story. Deadline, July 11. You can enter the event by clicking the link above.