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Welcome to Cream Crackered Blog: a health and lifestyle blog about life as a 30 something with a chronic illness. I started this blog just over a year ago when my life was turned on its head by a diagnosis of an incurable, long term neurological illness called M.E. After my diagnosis I was shocked to learn of how much stigma the disease is shrouded in, and the lack of support available to sufferers, so I started this blog with the aim of raising awareness of the disease and hopefully offering advice and support to fellow sufferers on how to build a new life alongside chronic illness. 


It has since grown into a wonderful, supportive, inclusive community on Instagram which I would love for you to join. You can find the links to all my social media accounts at the top of the page.

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  • Writer's pictureLorna McFindlow

Toxic positivity can do one

A medieval drawing/painting of bunch of people engulfed in flames inside the open mouth of a fanged demon. The demon is labelled: me. The people being consumed are labelled: everyone who ever told me to “be positive”

TW - Suicidal ideation


I know it’s well-meaning but if your response to a sick person talking about their life is to tell them to “be positive” then, respectfully, please get in the bin.


If me talking about life with a chronic illness sounds like I’m being a big old Neggy Nelly, maybe it’s because being sick and in pain every day is not, in fact, a barrel of laughs. That doesn’t make me an inherently ‘negative’ person, I’m just telling the truth; being sick is crap.


I think, generally speaking, that people are uneasy around chronic illness. It forces people to face up to the fact that good health isn’t guaranteed, and that it doesn’t matter how many green smoothies you drink or how much yoga you do; you might still one day get sick and never recover. It’s an uncomfortable truth and that’s why it’s easier to either blame us or to simply look the other way.


So, when someone’s response to you talking about your illness is to tell you to “think positively”, I don’t actually think it’s about trying to comfort or encourage you. I think it’s more about easing their own discomfort. When someone says that to me, what I hear is that my reality bums them out a bit and they’d prefer to just gloss over it with empty platitudes.


The thing that really gets under my skin though is that glibly telling me to “think positively” undermines the effort I put into doing just that. I work so hard to find the good in my life every day, to seek out joy in the little things and to allow this to sustain me.


I’m in debilitating pain every day. I live with a ridiculous smorgasbord of symptoms that have derailed my life in almost every way imaginable. I have, on more than one occasion, thought about ending my life because it is just too hard and too exhausting to be this sick and to have no hope of relief.


I’m working so hard to build the best life I can in spite of all of this. I seek out the good and hold on to it for dear life. What is this, if not “being positive”? It probably doesn’t look how you’d expect it to but it’s keeping me alive, which I think is a pretty positive thing.


So forgive me for being negative, but you can shove your dismissive platitudes up your hole.

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2 Comments


fisimpo
Feb 19, 2023

Yes to all of this ❤️❤️❤️

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lifewithanordicsoul
Feb 19, 2023

You are so right!

ME is a very difficult illness to live with, not just because it is limiting and full of PEM but because people just don't understand the concept of a chronic illness. I have friends who just cannot grasp the fact that there is no cure for this and who persist in telling me that 'you will get well again' and that they know someone who did and is living exactly as before. This after I've spent my very limited amount of energy trying to formulate how I'm doing now (sometimes worse than last time we met). Very few people listen, they feel they have to tell you how you can eat/think/exercise yourself well again.

Last weekend…


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