It Doesn’t Define You: 13 Things Every Chronic Disease Sufferer Needs To Know

Many people believe the number 13 is an unlucky number.

However, no matter how you look at it, a number is just a number. It’s neither lucky nor unlucky. It just is.

It’s all in how you perceive it. If you want to make thirteen an unlucky number, then that is what you will get from it. You control your perceptions and your beliefs.

chronic disease

Dealing with a chronic disease is very much the same concept. If you choose to look at the negative, that is what you will get. If you focus on living life positively, more of that will come your way.

I am speaking from experience, as I have lived with type 1 diabetes for twenty years.

How do you keep a positive attitude when you feel down in the dumps and maybe aren’t feeling your best? Start with dragging yourself out of bed, taking a shower, and following these 13 (lucky) tips.

How To Live Your Life Happily…With A Chronic Illness

1. Stop wondering, “Why me?”

It is our choice to give up or endure, or become bitter or passionate.

So, what is it going to be? Do you want to continue to wallow in self-pity? That has not got you very far and has probably only made you more miserable. And guess what—it will never help you.

Related: How To Be Happy With Your Life (Because You Deserve It)

Instead why don’t you reframe it and say, Why not me?” After all, everyone has negative and positive experiences. You were given this one, just like thousands—perhaps even millions—of other people all over the world.

2. Face your fears. 

What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back?

Whatever it is, recognize it and face it. Facing your fears robs them of their power. Have the courage to take risks. Get out of your comfort zone, even if it means being uncomfortable.

The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades, bumps, and uncharted terrain. Have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect — and that’s OK.

Related: How To Conquer Fear In 4 Steps

3. Don’t hate yourself.

Are you having a bad day? Are you dealing with side effects of your illness? The easiest thing to do is to throw in the towel and say you can’t stand being you.

But, you are the only “you” there is, and ever will be. Unique and beautiful, you have so much to offer the world. Take a deep breath, believe that you create the next moment and change your mindset. It is that simple.

4. Stop trying to “beat” your illness.

You can’t beat a chronic disease. What you can do, however, is live with it the best way possible.

Take your medicines, exercise, eat right, practice healthy habits, and go to bed every night knowing you did the best you could.

 Related: 4 Best Doctors For Chronic Illness

5. Keep on truckin’. 

You control your chronic disease, but your disease certainly doesn’t control you. Don’t let it fool you into believing that.

Don’t let it stop you. Don’t let it bring you down.

6. Understand that you are not your illness. 

Never describe yourself by what illness you live with.

For instance, I am an author, a mom, a life coach, and a tennis player. Dealing with diabetes every day does indeed make me diabetic, and it is a part of me, but it will never define me. Never let it be bigger than you.

Related: 3 Tips To Prevent Liver Disease

7. Grow through knowledge and experience.

Educate yourself, because knowledge is power. Be honest with yourself. What you have isn’t going away.

You can’t run away from it either; it just makes it even bigger.

Instead, you can face it head on and embrace it. Learn all the facts that make you fearful and identify what is holding you back from caring for yourself the best way possible. Once you have all the information you need, you can start to build the confidence to face it head on.

8. Live in the here and now.

Start counting your blessings instead of your shortcomings. Wake up in the morning and smile—it sets the tone for your entire day.

Related: How You Can Use Mindfulness To Relieve Your Stress

Each day is a new gift, and you should treat it as such. Turn off the TV and tune in your senses to what you are doing right now. Focus on the sounds, scents, and scenery around you.

9. Get to work.

We all need to feel useful, and hey, making money is good too! It doesn’t have to be a traditional 9-5 gig, but having responsibility and accountability towards a job will help you with having accountability with your own health.

Take that one step further, and if you can make your job fulfill a passion of yours, you will be, dare I say it, happy!

Related: 6 Ways To Become Happy

Spend a little time soul searching, and once you figure out what it is that would make you excited to get out of bed every morning and feel alive, set a goal and start taking baby steps or huge strides towards it. The key is just getting started.

10. Reach out. 

Sometimes all it takes is a helping hand or a gentle push to get you motivated and keep you there. If you can’t get the motivation to start in your quest, ask a friend, relative, or a life coach for help.

11. Help others. 

Care about people. Guide them, if you know a better way. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.

You deal with a disease every day; chances are, you can help others in the same place as you. Love and kindness begets love and kindness.

Related: The Kindness Cure: 4 Ways Being Nice To Others Can Be Good For Your Health

12. Surround yourself with the right people.

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. You want—in fact, you need—people that you enjoy, who love you, appreciate you, and encourage you to improve in healthy ways.

And remember: it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

13. Take control.

Make your own happiness and health a priority. Find your passion and your purpose and always value yourself.

Watch how your self-confidence and self esteem soars when you stop letting your chronic disease control you…and just start living.


Laura Kronen Headshot_0139Laura Kronen is the author of Too Sweet, The Not-So-Serious Side to Diabetes and founder of Life Coaching Organization, Be You Only Better.

Photo by ChristophSchaller

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