Think youself happy.... Or NOT?

One of my pet peeves is when I hear “Your chronic illness is caused by your negative emotions”
This implies that:

1)    If you can change your emotions you will recover
2)    It was a single event that caused the illness
3)    That chronic illness is not an illness but a state of mind

I agree that stress, trauma, and negative emotions can make symptoms of chronic illness worse, but this is not the root cause. Often there is no one root cause but a build of multiple factors.

Think of your health as a tower of stacking blocks i.e. Jenga.
 The bricks act as stressors / vulnerability factors.
And the table it stands on and its environment as external factors.

When no blocks are removed, your tower is stable. Its internal structure provides the support it needs. If there is a slight breeze, your tower will not collapse.

As the blocks get removed your towers internal structure gets more and more unstable. If too many blocks are removed your tower will fall. Likewise, if the internal structure is unstable and someone bumps the table the tower will also fall.

This fall can represent developing a chronic disease or relapsing if you are already suffering from a chronic illness. Your tower can be rebuilt, but it may always be missing a few blocks, making it more vulnerable.

What can you do, besides ‘thinking yourself happy’?
I can only report what I have done to keep my tower stable as each of us are unique.

Below is a tick list of the top ten things I have done to replace my missing blocks. If you are missing any of these, perhaps it’s a good place to start.

Do you feel you....
have the correct medication and dosage?

can manage your pain effectively?

can ask / accept help or support?

have good coping methods to express your stress?

are able to regulate your emotions?

are able to set effective boundaries through asserting yourself?

are able to resolve conflict effectively?

have hobbies that you find enjoyment in?

have a good spiritual connection?

have a healthy diet?

are able to exercise within your limits?


  1. Candice,I am pretty sure my RA is caused by a long standing fissure in the space time continuum or maybe peanut butter. I guess it depends.

  2. This post really makes you think. Thanks for sharing!

    Jessica & James |

  3. This is a great post and I absolutely love that analogy! Beautifully written and explained xx

  4. Hi, what a thought provoking post. I like the reference to Jenna. Thanks for sharing, Chloe #TeacupClub

    1. Thanks glad you enjoyed it. I find it helps to have a picture to relate to

  5. Honestly, I say this same thing to people all of the time. I always get a bit (read: incredibly) offended when I hear people say things like this. I get this a lot especially as a more "functioning" depressed person. Like I'm only functioning because I have more positive thoughts (as if I'm not consistently in a bad frame of mind). It's awful.

    I absolutely adore this post. Am probably gonna retweet it and bookmark it so I can shove it in people's faces the next time I hear something like it.

    mchi | mchiouji —


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