How to Help Your Caregiver

This piece covers several ways in which you can ease your caregiver’s burden. It focuses on caregivers who are partners but, unless the care-for-one is a child, these suggestions can be used to help other caregivers, such as your children, parents, or siblings.

3 Things the Chronically Ill Wish Their Loved Ones Knew

We appreciate so much all that our loved ones have done to educate themselves about our medical condition, to take care of us, and to support us. These are just three additional things that that we want them to know about us.

My Other Mother: Being Raised by “The Maid”

There’s a wall in our living room with pictures of my family. Once a day, I stop and silently address each of the them with love in my heart, using whatever words feel right at the moment. Then I close my eyes and bring Iola’s face to mind (I have no picture of her). I tell her how much I love her and thank her for being my mother.

Resolving Conflicts When a Partner Is Chronically Ill

It’s hard enough to sustain a good relationship when neither partner is facing a health challenge. Illness ranks high on the list of life’s stressful events, so it’s no surprise that it can have a negative impact on a close relationship.

Three Years In: The Top 12 “Turning Straw Into Gold” Pieces

I was pleased to discover that the top 12 pieces cover a broad range of subjects and are spread evenly across the three years. I invite you to browse through the list and read (or re-read) those that spark your interest.

How Chronic Pain and Illness Fan the Flames of Uncertainty

No one is immune from life’s uncertainty. But for the chronically ill—which includes those who suffer from chronic pain—it can feel as if the number of life factors subject to uncertainty has multiplied geometrically. Indeed, perhaps the hardest thing about being chronically ill is the uncertainty it brings to almost every aspect of life.

Springtime Unfolds in Quotations, Commentary, and Pictures

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. —Mark Twain

Highly Recommended: Guy Winch’s Book, “Emotional First Aid”

I was first introduced to Guy Winch through his popular blog at Psychology Today. His writing resonates with me because it’s practical, whether he’s explaining how to make an effective apology or discussing the keys to recovering from failure. I was looking forward to reading his new book, "Emotional First Aid," and I was not disappointed.

The Extra Burdens Faced by Young People with Chronic Illness

From years of writing about chronic pain and illness, I’ve learned that young people carry several extra burdens, especially when their disability is invisible, as is more often the case than not. This piece focuses on young people, although some of its points apply to people of any age, depending on their circumstances.

8 Life Lessons from the Winter Olympics in Sochi

Here are eight life lessons to take away from the 2014 Winter Olympics: no comparing, no clinging, no preferences, impermanence rules, be open to new experiences, feel good for those who are happy and compassion for those who are sad, and…all of us can glitter without gold.

Oscar Films That Realistically Depict Life for the Disabled

Here are twelve Oscar-nominated films that are strikingly honest in their depiction of the disabled.

More Confessions of a Sick Person

When I’m alone, my eating habits are fit only for my dog to see.

Has “Downton Abbey” Jumped the Shark?

Has Downton Abbey finally jumped the shark? Read about Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes' frustrating relationship, Bates and Anna's miseries, Lord Grantham and his money woes, Mrs. Patmore and her yelling, the mopey Mr. Molesley, and Tom's silly flings...

A Not-To-Do List For Caregivers of the Chronically Ill

The National Family Caregiving Association found that over 60% of caregivers who provide at least 20 hours of caregiving a week suffer from depression. Here is a Not-To-Do list to ease the burden of those who are caring for others.

5 Tips for Handling a Bad Mood

I don’t get in bad moods very often, but it happens and, to be frank, it feels awful. Here are five suggestions for skillfully handling a bad mood.

Top 10 Things I Learned from Writing Two Books

To my great surprise, I’m now officially the author of two books. If you’d asked me a few years ago if I’d ever be a published author, I’d have said, “You’re kidding, right?” But here I am, two books older and two books wiser. I hope you learn something about book writing from this piece although, mostly, I hope it gives you a laugh or two!

My New Year’s Wishes for the Chronically Ill

Here are my hopes and wishes for the new year...

All About Kindness: Quotations, Reflections, and Photos

“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” —Eric Hoffer

Six Common Misconceptions about the Chronically Ill

My hope is that it won’t be long until these common misconceptions become uncommon ones, as people become educated about what life is like for those who suffer from chronic illness (130 million in the U.S. alone).

Autumn's Fullness and Beauty: Quotations and Photographs

Autumn is the season of contradictions. It’s often associated with the melancholiness of endings; yet it’s the season of harvest and thanksgiving, when we pause to count the blessings that have ripened from the seeds we sowed the rest of the year. Here are quotations and reflections to help us celebrate this season...

4 Things I Won't Forget Should I Regain My Health

I’ve been chronically ill since I contracted a viral infection in 2001. Were I to recover, I’d take these four hard-earned lessons with me into the land of the healthy.

Halloween Riddles and Ridiculous-Looking Pumpkins!

Q. What did the skeleton say to the bartender? A. I'll have two beers and a mop.

Let Self-Compassion Take the Place of Resentment

Country music singer and songwriter Rosanne Cash had to put her career on hold for several years because she had to have brain surgery for a rare but benign condition. When asked if she ever found herself asking “Why me?” Cash replied “No,” that, in fact, she found herself saying “Why NOT me?”...

You Don’t Have to Believe Your Thoughts

For many years, I was an expert at making myself miserable by taking a neutral thought, turning it into a stressful one, and then spinning that stressful thought into an even more stressful story—one with little or no basis in reality.

A “Before” and “After” Snapshot of Chronic Pain and Illness

Before I got sick, I thought if a person looked healthy, he or she was healthy; after being sick for many years, however, now I know that a person can look just fine but be suffering from debilitating chronic pain or illness—or both. This led me to create a "before" and "after" snapshot of life with chronic pain and illness, some of it lighthearted, some of it not.

The Forgotten Victims of September 11, 2001

On this anniversary of that horrific Tuesday in September, I’ve been reflecting on the bride and groom’s experience. It led me to think of the thousands of people who faced grieving and other challenges that were not apparent to everyone...

About My New Book "How to Wake Up"

I don’t see “awakening” as a one-time deal. I understand it to be a potential that arises over and over, every moment that we’re willing to engage our life as it is, instead of being lost in fantasies about how we wish it would be. And when we do get lost in fantasies or other painful mental habits, how encouraging to know that we can start again in the very next moment!

Romanticizing the Past Makes Us Feel Bad about the Present

Life wasn't perfect back then. It had its joys and sorrows, its successes and disappointments—just as my life does now. When I find myself putting that "old" life on a pedestal and thinking that I was always happy, I realize this is a distorted view of the past that serves only to make me feel bad about the present.

As Summer Simmers, Refresh Yourself With These Reflections

"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken." —James Dent

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