It can be incredibly hard to stay positive when living with a chronic illness. Unfortunately, many sufferers develop depression and anxiety. This is understandable as dealing with constant pain and fatigue can really drag you down. 

Depression is like a dark, heavy raincloud. It follows you everywhere you go and is the last thing a person needs when already dealing with so much! So, the question is how on earth can you stay positive when living with an illness like Functional Neurological Disorder? 

I have put together a list of what I do to keep as ‘happy’ as possible. Once again, I am NOT an expert. I’m definitely NOT medically trained and by no means would I ever want to offend anyone. Each and every one of us is completely different. What works for me, may not work for another but if I can help anyone, then that’s great! So, here it goes …

1) Take each day as it comes. It’s inevitable that you will probably have more bad days then good. However, try and not to plan too far ahead. Chronic illness is so unpredictable. If you have a good day, enjoy it and savour it BUT try not to over do it!

2) Focus on the positives. Yes, I can see your metaphorical eye rolls lol. It’s true, believe it or not. When you’re lying in your bed in agony and feel like there’s no point anymore, close your eyes, take a deep breath and focus. Today is a hard and awful but there’s still hope. Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have friends, family or colleagues who care for you? Have you eaten today? If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you have more to be grateful for than you realise. 

3) Do one thing that you love each day. This is very tricky, especially if you are juggling illness, family and work! However, you have to remember that you matter. Please don’t take this in the wrong way, I’m not saying throw away all your responsibilities and run off in to the sun! Just try and think of simple things. Listen to your favourite song, relax and read your book or laze in front of the TV. Basically, whatever ‘floats your boat’. Even if it’s just 5 minutes. It’s so important to remember that you and your happiness matter. Give yourself some ‘me’ time and it makes a big difference! 

4) Ground yourself. This is a technique that I have been taught by both psychologists and neuro physiotherapists. I have, kind of, made my own interpretation of it that helps me fight off the dark clouds. It can become overwhelming, living in constant battle with your own body. It’s like being sucked into a black hole. When I feel this I simply take 5 deep breaths, in through your nose and out through my mouth. Then, I look at 5 different things around me. It could be the windows, the trees or even a flower. I take notice of the feeling of my feet on the ground, my bottom on the chair. I appreciate feeling alive and the simplicity of everything around me. Again, this works for me but it may just seem weird to others and that’s fine.

That’s it, my list of fighting away those nasty, black clouds. I hope some of these might help, even if just temporarily. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my story.

Charlotte xxx