Staying positive has long been a response to the interference of tragedy in one’s life. There are clear health benefits that come with a positive outlook and a strong support system. People are constantly telling you to stay strong and keep hope, but what happens when that overwhelming amount of positivity starts doing more harm than good? There is a point when positivity crosses a line, morphing into unrealistic expectations and ignorance of the situation. This seems especially true when it comes to incurable ailments.
I remember being in the emergency room for what seemed like the millionth time, but this occasion stood out from the rest for one particular reason: the doctor was 100% honest with me. He didn’t sugar coat anything, and while at first it seemed a little bit harsh, his response was exactly what I needed. I had just received multiple injections and had tears running down my face from the unrelenting pain, when he entered my room, looked me straight in the eyes and told me that I was never going to get better. “It will only get worse from here,” he said. The words stung, but the more they sunk in the more comforting they became. I no longer needed to hold onto this constant hope of getting better. No more being devastated when trial drugs didn’t work. Getting my hopes up only led to great disappointment when the desired result wasn’t reached. I was constantly chasing, reaching, hoping for something that, realistically, wouldn’t happen.
I realize how pessimistic and sad this may seem, but it works for me. Think of that failing relationship you were constantly trying to save or the unrealistic goal you set for yourself as a child you could never seem to reach. My situation is like that, except for one major difference: I can’t just give up or move on from my illness. It is a full time commitment with no breaks. Being realistic about my illnesses gives me the power of preparedness. Expecting the worst relieves the sting of disappointment and allows me to be more positive. I no longer live in a state of constant mourning. I am not, by any means, saying you shouldn’t have hope and I whole heartedly believe in miracles. I’m just saying that anticipating your enemy’s next move is the best way to win any battle.