When people greet you with, “Hi, how are you?” most of the time they do not expect you to answer the question. But, when you are dealing with a chronic illness, that question can be very annoying. A person in a health struggle has to be very aware of who they are speaking to and not share with people who cannot consciously deal with it. This may seem like a small thing, but sometime the little changes you make in your mind can completely change your perspective.
How you share sets the tone of how you relate to your illness. If your sharing is casual, giving pat answers only, your focus on your illness becomes limited. If your sharing is panicy, expressing fear, your focus will be scattered. The ideal focus is to allow the interest of who you are talking to, to pull your answers out. This is a natural phenomenon; when you talk to someone who is truly interested, there is a flow and sharing seems to be easier. When you talk to someone with is not truly interested, your sharing is awkward and does not seem to flow. So, be conscious of who you share with because it sets the tone for how you deal with your illness.
It is important to be conscious of what you are sharing, because it is very easy to fall into unconscious, manipulative actions. For example, when a child does not want to go to school, they will often say, “I don’t feel good.” This is something children might do to get out of going to school, but that behavior can spill into other areas of your life. For example, a chronically ill person might use their illness to get out of something they do not want to do. The alternative is just to be truthful and share without any ulterior motives.
When some people have a chronic illness for a long time, it is not uncommon for them not to want to talk about it. They may have explained it over and over and there may be no hope for improvement in the future. This type of sharing can create a dangerous habit, where they use avoidance and it becomes a natural response.
Often, people will try to serve you by offering you the newest ‘magic cure.’ Even though they are well-meaning, I suggest that you be open to everything, but check everything with your doctor. It is important to have an objective perspective, where wishful thinking doesn’t lead you down unscientific paths.
If you share with someone in an unconscious way (for instance, complaining and self-pity), you may be setting up thought patterns that do not serve you. The ideal state of mind for a person in a health struggle is to be conscious in the moment, connected to inner resources and accepting the responsibility that this is your body.
Marc Lerner, President of Life Skills Institute, has taught people in a health challenge how to develop a healthy way to be sick. He has written a book and hosted a radio show also called A Healthy Way to be Sick. Go to: http://lifeskillsinc.com to listen to 14 radio shows and find a link to order the e-book from Amazon.com.
© 2011 Marc Lerner and Life Skills Institute

Author's Bio: 

Marc Lerner is the President of Life Skills Institute and has been working with people in a health struggle since 1982. He is the author of A HEALTHY WAY TO BE SICK, which teaches you how to consciously create yourself in the midst of a health challenge. He also conducts tele-seminars and has hosted an internet radio show, A Healthy Way to be Sick. Shows can be listened to at http://lifeskills.com.
Marc has had MS since 1981, is legally blind and in a wheelchair. The idea of a healthy way to be sick reflects a positive spirit during difficult times. If a patient consciously approached the healing process, they would become valuable partners with their doctor. Marc has been working with people in a health crisis for decades and knows that this is a significant resource in a national health plan. Marc has developed simple techniques that transport your consciousness to powerful inner resources which can reduce medical expenses and personal anxiety.