Can poor health be a blessing in disguise?

I’ve begun asking myself this question as I faced some thorny changes in my own wellbeing, caused by nothing I did nor anything a doctor could pinpoint.  I’ve always been disgustingly fit with the exception of a little extra weight.  I gave up smoking years ago, ate well, and maintained a schedule of fairly active exercise.  In spite of doing all the right things, I developed an autoimmune condition (I refuse to call it a “disease”) affecting my legs, which no treatment can cure.

The first thing people usually do immediately after a confronting a negative situation like this—right after denial, of course—is to ask “why me?”  I skipped that stage, believing that most occurrences in life result from random chance rather than a superior being who’s directing the universe and is susceptible to appeals.  Still who can be happy if your body doesn’t respond to commands and discomfort is constant?  Not I.  

I do know that several broken bones and a major root canal convinced me that good health is better than any kind of drugs.  It’s the most important contributor to our quality of life.  So when I fell over cliff of a chronic ailment, I expected my life was pretty much ruined.  

I was wrong.  A chronic malady can bring unexpected benefits.  One is that I’ve learned to push through or over physical discomfort, a kind of personal challenge much like glorying in the labor and delivery of child birth.  Another is valuing the present moment while I still can move with some ease to take walks, ride bikes, and dance, which may be limited in the future.  

The biggest benefit is realizing that I’m experiencing a bit of what many people go through.  No longer do I pooh-pooh the pain of arthritis, question the distress of a bad back or knees, overlook the irritation of sinus problems.  These tribulations are part of the human condition for many, and I’m no longer exempt.  I understand my fellow creatures better.  

So I try to view my troubles as learning disguised as a life event.  And as long as they’re not life-threatening, I can deal with them. Would I react differently if my condition was portentous*? I’ll ponder that question next.  

*Portentous: very serious and significant, especially with regard to future events.

5 thoughts on “TO YOUR HEALTH, Part I

  1. Good point, Bonnie. Once people get past the “woe is me” stage, a change in health can make you think or appreciate things differently. Luckily for me, my situation was temporary, but I learned a lot and became less afraid to ask for help when I was ill.

    • That’s why I, like you, no longer try to conceal health issues, or misfortunes, or negative feelings. I don’t parade them either, but admitting to them not only helps me, but also seems to give permission to others to acknowledge their human responses. After all, how many superheroes really exist? On some level I think many of us have realized that the idea of encouraging a community of support around us can only be for the good. And, funny thing!, studies are now corroborating this concept.

      • good discussion here. valuable and echos the stuff been going through my head the last couple of years, but clarifies. thanks Bonnie and friends.

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