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How Do You Keep A Positive Attitude?


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The first few weeks after I met my current boyfriend I felt good enough to go out and about. But since then i've been sick pretty much the whole time, to the point that I can't really even go anywhere. He's really very wonderful about my not being able to get out much and he still does things without me several times a week and spends the rest of his time with me. Our relationship is pretty serious and he's talked alot about getting married. But I think that since i've been so sick and stayed so sick for the past several months that i've been starting to feel pretty hopeless about ever getting better. And I think he kinda picks up on my attitude when i'm upset like that and he freaks out and wonders if he really has it in him to deal with this forever. Most of the time, it's not that bad and I tried communicating that to him along with the fact that it's like a rollercoaster...after being sick for awhile things always look up and I feel better. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep a more positive attitude? Or perhaps a better way to deal with coping with this and not accidentally scaring away the best thing that's ever happened to me? Maybe leaning on my boyfriend as much as I have been isn't a good idea. I just don't feel as "strong" and capable of dealing with being sick when I have no kind of reprieve or chance to feel better and maybe gain a little weight back and store a little energy. I'm pretty much open to any suggestions or advice at this point.

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I'm dealing with the same problem right now. My boyfriend and I were dating for 1 1/2 years when I got sick, but since then, I've pretty much not been able to do anything with him other than watch movies on the couch. It has really strained our relationship, especially when i'm openly feeling sorry for myself.

The only advice I can give you is to "fake it till you make it". It sounds stupid, but it's worked for me. Just pretend you're emotionally okay and strong, and eventually you'll become emotionally strong. I had to do this early on, since my BF was ready to leave after the diagnosis because I was so depressed, so I just put a smile on my face even though I was dying inside. Over time, I actually managed to convince myself things really were okay.

I still have days were I can only cry in bed, but those are few and far between. Mostly, I try to stay upbeat. When I do need real support and hugs, I come here where I know I'll be understood instead of going to my BF, who will only stress out.

Hugs,

Lauren

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Hi, Speaking from 26 years of marriage almost 28 years total being together and having many health issues the whole entire time. I would say first finding a person who can understand what you are going through is important in the first place for a good foundation, which it sounds like you've found that with your BF.

I would just keep things honest and real and wouldn't hide anything emotionally or otherwise regarding health as a whole as it effects everything in your waking life anyway but having said that, I would also not complain about every single symptom constantly as it wears anyone down on a daily basis. Just explain what your down days are in the first place and then after that tell him you are having a down day whenever your having one, he will understand. I call them my low gravity days and my husband knows exactly what I am referring to.

I would say to just take everything in stride as much as possible and it is okay to have down times but just realize that there will also be up times and look forward to those. What he feels is perfectly normal response to someone who is ill alot I think but as long as he is listening and understanding (as best as he can without having this problem anyway) you can always work through the rest by talking and understanding.

My daughter had this same talk with her BF of 5 years regarding her illness especially when she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis on top of things that she already has. She told him that things would not be changing any time soon and if he didn't think that he could handle things let her know now because her health would not be getting any better and most likely would get worse over time. But they focused on the good of the relationship and realized it outways any of the cruddy health parts so its okay.

There is alot that she can't do at times but then when she can, they do as much as possible to make up for it. It also helps if you have a person who is like minded in activities....this might not work as well if she were teamed up with a physical person who loved to run, ski, or other such major physical things all the time and expected her to be with him doing it, which would never be possible.

Alot of men will feel powerless and not know what to do during an illness because they want to fix things and get things back to normal as fast as possible, so they may get frustrated on what to do to handle it. Thats is where you come in, tell him what would help you best to work through the tough time that way he is contributing to your getting better or getting through things. Its okay to lean on each other, after all, if you are planning on getting married, thats what it is all about. Believe me, you'll need that for sure throughout marriage numerous times on many things outside health issues as well. Plus there will be times he will lean on you as well and need you to be the strong one.

good luck and best wishes sent your way.

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Hi there,

I am so sorry your symptoms are hitting you hard. That stinks! :D I've also dealt with serious relationships during tough points in my illness, and I've learned that honesty is the best policy. If this guy is truly in it for the long hahl, he needs to really know you (and vice versa).

I know it is tempting to put on a happy face and pretend things are okay. Trust me, I have done it! Personally, though, I think that it is very necessary to have people in our lives who we can be real with. People who will listen when we say that we are in pain, both physically and emotionally.

Lately, I try to keep a positive attitude by telling myself that POTS is not who I am...it is just something that I happen to have. I refuse to feel guilty for needing extra rest. And I try to be honest with my friends and family about my symptoms. To me, lying about them would mean that I am ashamed. And I'm not ashamed of having POTS.

Take care & I hope you start feeling better soon :)

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Shannon,

I just read your post and had to comment.....Great outlook! I believe in what you say whole heartedly and you sound like you've learned the method (thats it in a nutshell) to get through things well in life while living with a chronic illness.

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You are in a tough spot for sure. I've not been married so I don't have words of experience. If I was in your shoes though (and myself having watched many of my healthy friends with failed marriages), I would make sure I shared my feelings with my boyfriend (preferably on one of your better days).

I would do my best to make sure I voiced my feelings and concerns about the relationship and the future. Then I would write down what MY goals were and what I expect from a marriage and from my husband. I would ask him to do the same. Once you've both written these things down, read what each other wrote and see how close your goals are and if you think marriage would work for you.

I would also let my boyfriend know that I know my illness impacts him and I both understand and expect him to have frustrations, anger etc over this illness. That's ok as long as you both work not to take your feelings out on each other.

I think the more things you can try to "plan for" up front and discuss the better off you will be and the more confident you will feel in your decision. Like, do you both want children? If so, and your health is not so good do you have other relatives that could help out? Do you both have support family/friends to turn to when your partner is stressed and needs to vent? etc etc.

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A positive attitude is a good goal to shoot for. Having a positive attitude under difficult conditions is harder, and you will fail at times no matter how hard you try, even healthy people do. There are too many variables. When your attitude slumps, that?s what friends are for. We make our way and when we get down, another can lift us up; we turn around and do the same for them. That?s what relationships are all about.

A positive attitude is based on two things, in my opinion:

Hope

Purpose

If you have hope in your heart that things won?t always be this way (whatever way they are now), that better days are ahead, then your inner joy flows and you can look forward to something. That aura of joy is irresistible (can't you sense it in Shannon's and Lauren?s posts?) and people will want to be around you.

If you have a noble direction for your existence, you have something worthy to strive for, to put your heart into, to make an effort to achieve. That is why I applaud all the POTS patients who are students, despite the expense of time, energy and money, and despite uncertain prospects of employment, because it's a noble thing to work for.

A good relationship with a significant other is a very wonderful reason to live (a purpose). This is a difficult world. A marriage or committed relationship is meant to unite two people against the press of modern society pulling the two of you apart, tearing us each down trying to make us into who we are not, and bombarding us with fear, conflict, and confusion.

The person we are most intimate with should be cherished. No other person witnesses all of our life like that one. They hold our heart in their hand. We must respect that relationship as a most priceless treasure. Girlfriends are for venting with, that one rarely should be. Yes, they need to know how you are doing, but it might be better to use a simple code.

I liked the spoon theory (the link was posted elsewhere.) When asked you could say, ?I?m down to one spoon,? or other code word to express how low you feel. (Then, he?s supposed to kiss you and say, ?That?s okay, I?m sorry you?re feeling badly. Let?s rent a movie and make popcorn,? or some other sweet, sentimental, empathetic thing.)

Counseling for chronic illness has tremendous merit if you are comfortable with the counselor. Many counselors should not be in business, so ask around for a referral. Couples counseling, NOW, before you two commit to each other could go a long way towards designing a technique for you two to navigate through a life of chronic illness, together. It would be a way to find out if he has the fortitude to continue despite your limitations (which can wax and wane), and this has nothing to do with you, it?s his issue.

Marriage is huge. Divorce is ugly, heart breaking and a devastating betrayal (to at least one person) it?s best to know ahead of time if there?s a good chance of making it. Being the caregiver is something no one is trained for and can be ?learned? (NDRF has two good references to this: The NDRF Patient Handbook, as well as an entire page on caregiving, with a link to an excellent talk by David Levy, even about the ?s? word.)

Marriage is lovely when there are shared values and true union, when you are both lifting each other up. A marriage that is destructive, tearing each other down because the individuals don?t know how to get their own needs met except to demand them from the other, is h*ll on earth.

Our sx can dump us down in the nasty now and cause us to lose sight of the beauty around us, lose our perspective of the future. This can be intimidating to those around us.

Our attitude can become a conscious choice. We decide where our thoughts are going to take us. We decide our response to what life has thrown us. We choose to not lean entirely on one person, but have a support network because no one person was ever meant to meet all of our needs.

Especially, us women, need other women, as has been said: men are problem solvers. Women will say ?awww,? (with a lilt at the end) that makes it seem like somebody understands and somebody cares. Remember, under stress, women bond (it?s males that do flight or fight.) We all need each other. We just can?t ask more of a man than he can give. If he feels that, he will fight or take flight!

I think you asked some great questions, and there are some excellent responses here.

I?m so happy to hear of your sweetheart, chica, he sounds wonderful!

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WOW how refreshing to read everyones views and how to keep a positive outlook. I

have been on the failed side for a while with positive outlook and it does really suck. So I LOVE to read what everyone has to say :).

I would also agree that the best policy is honesty with your partner. I think to act as if nothing is wrong and things are good only is a bandage. That is just my oppinion. How eveer dwelling upon it does NO good wither. What I have learned is some times it is better with my man to keep it simple. We are such different creatures in our manners (men and woman) They way we feel think and react. My husband and are are total opposites and we have seeked counceling. It has helped allot so far. We still have our ups and downs. We have been on the verge of splittingoff and on lately. Not because of my health. But because of his unability to be emotional and pay attention to me.

How ever the flip side ;-). He does ignores me at times which *****. It always seems like he ignores me when I need him the most. How ever I have learned it is because he shuts down and does NOT know how to deal with it. So for him dealing with it is not doing any thing and shutting it out. Which of course deos NOT work for me nor helps me. So we are learning to keep things simple. And SO far So good. Honesty and openess and good communication about our health I do beleieve is the best policy. I mean what we have is not going to go away completely.

So when things get down we need to remeber as "Be Still" commented to try to stay focused on the PURPOSE and the HOPE. So I believe you find some thing that you love and helps give you hope and stength. For me I know when I am at my worst what helps keep me be positive is my daughter and my doggies. I have 4 dogs of my own and I have 2 foster doggies. They are what help keep me strong. I have rat Terrier dogs two that weigh 35lbs and the other's are toys and are under 12lbs. They are amazing animals. When I am sick. They all cuddle around me as they are trying to take care of me and make me better. They know I am sick. It is also SO refreshing for me to take in a foster dog that is scrawny and shy and skiddish and all the crappy stuff you can think of. I give them my love and I just work with them and nourish them and that helps me to watch the transormation that they make. It is an amazing feeling to take a foster that is down in the dumps and turn them around and watch get better. It gives me hope that maybe if I do that I will get better too.

Everyone here is So wonderful. I am SO thankful and SO appreciative to have this board. I know I do not post allot. How ever I read allot and it is also everyone here that helps me stay strong. So I give THANKS to all of you here and pray that we all have strength and courage to conquer our beasts ;-).

Take care

Corina

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By not focusing on myself and the dysautonomia, and by constantly reading about and researching the disorders, I seem to be able to stay away from the "pity parties." Not always -- when I am at my lowest, physically, (LOL! No pun intended, I assure you) I am just as likely to want to jump off a bridge but I usually catch myself, and think, "this is just the pure frustration associated with this."

I try to surround myself with others who are positive -- hopefully more so than myself at the time -- hence, these Support Groups and forums. And I try to hang onto Scarlett's silly line from GWTW about tomorrow being another day.

Lastly, and some of you may not like this one, I always imagine there is someone somewhere incredibly worse off than what I am, and I think, "what have I got to fret so over?"

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I liked lthomas' response. Denial is a good place to live when the real world is not. When I am really ill, I find that if I focus on something I enjoy or have enjoyed it gives me something positive to think about. I have always loved horses, so I will watch horse movies, read books about horses and riding, go for a drive in the country and look for horses just to think about something else. I also love creative things so I will spend my down time planning my next project to the smallest detail. It helps to pass the time, and gives me something to look forward to when I am feeling better.

I have been married for 14 years to a wonderful man. I became ill shortly after meeting him. For as wonderful and helpful as he is, it is difficult for him to listen to my concerns. I think that he wants to fix it as badly as I do, and it is painful for him to know I am suffering. I also think it is difficult because he has even less controll over the illness than I do. This illness affects him because he cares for me, and he also becomes a single parent while I am down and out.

I have made friends over the years that have also suffered with chronic illness. They seem to be my best confidants. They understand and can help support me emotionally. I was 24 when I was diagnosed, and it was a difficult time because most of my friends were healthy, and had no idea what it was like to be chronically ill. It was also hard for my husband, because his friends did not understand what he was going through.

The illness has made our relationship stronger, but it has not been easy. I wish you the best. Hang in there.

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Hi,

Comunication is key :rolleyes:

Not that I practice what I preach as much as I should.

I tend to tell too much or too little and I just get people frustrated, so most of the time I hold back. (not good)

But it goes both ways. If he's willing to do the give and take then your lucky.

Good luck

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Another suggestion. When communicating with your boyfriend, try to not be in an "emotional place." Be matter of fact and accepting of your condition. For example, you could say "I need to take breaks once in a while, and lay down. It helps me to feel better." And try to say it without feeling sorry for yourself or him.

You need to accept what is. Drop the pity and the anger except on rare occasions. If it becomes a constant part of your communcation with him or with others, seek counseling.

Also, WW2 is so right. Is there some activity that "gets you outside of yourself" even for an hour or two? Pursue it. If you cannot, hang around others that are pursuing it and just be there.

Enjoy the outdoors (if you can). Revel in nature. Take picnics. Look at the birds and the trees.

Enjoy what you can.

Good luck with your boyfriend!

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