• Kate Walker

The Illusion of Positivity

"Kate, how do you stay so positive all the time?"

The truth - I don't.

I'll be the first to admit that life as someone with a rare disease sucks. Life has handed me series after series of unfortunate events. I constantly feel like I am missing out. I'm constantly grieving for the abilities I used to have. I'm constantly fearing the future. And there's no end in sight. So, what do you do with that? How do you wake up and choose to enjoy life?

It's hard.

When it seems like every single force of the universe is working against you in some way, it can be hard to pick yourself up and keep moving. The challenge doesn't have to be living with a rare disease. Maybe it's the grief of losing someone, the diagnosis of a mental illness, or the normal stress of life. Staying positive in the midst of an all-encompassing challenge is difficult. Difficult does not even seem like an adequate word to describe it.

It's easy to stay in bed all day, drowning in your own sadness. To sit around thinking about all the terrible things happening to you. To say "no" to every social event because you're sad.

I've been there. Countless times. There are days that I'm just sad. On those days, it is hard for me to focus on anything other than the bad things going on in my life. I hide away and separate myself from my friends and family. The terrible things seem so powerful sometimes that it makes it impossible to see the good things.

I know it can seem like I am positive about my disease all the time. But that's simply not true. There are days where I sit and cry for the life I'm missing out on. There are days where I am so angry that I can't control myself. There are days where I'm so frustrated that I want to just give up.

So, if this life is so hard, where do I find the strength to be positive? (most of the time)

Even though my life has come with many hardships, it has also been pretty great. I find the strength to be positive because I've seen the joy that life can hold. I always try to remember that even though crappy things happen, it doesn't erase the joy of your past or cancel out the joy coming in your future. Even though the reality of my disease gets to me sometimes, I try to remember that I can still be happy. Having a terrible disease doesn't mean that I am not allowed to have any more joy in my life.

I don't want to wait around, swimming in sadness, waiting for something good to happen. That's no way to live. I know how I feel after one day of sadness, I can't imagine living my entire life like that. I want to live and bring as much happiness into my life as possible. I do that by having a positive outlook on life. It doesn't make the bad stuff go away, but it does make it a little bit smaller.

The main point of this post though is to say that I'm NOT positive all the time. It's impossible to be. It's okay to feel the feelings and let the sadness overtake you sometimes. It doesn't make you any less awesome.

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