Many patients with life-changing conditions report feelings of grief and guilt about no longer being able to do many of the things they did in the past. As a recent discussion in our forum revealed, however, patients are finding ways to reset their perspective and boost their self-esteem by focusing on what they are still able to give to others, despite the challenges of their illness.
Here are some of the small and large contributions our members have made, helping them to feel good about themselves:
- Going to the hospice to sit and talk with the residents
- Sending handwritten letters via snail mail to loved ones
- Participating in educational events about the role of service dogs
- Getting good friends together for a gathering to reconnect
- Volunteering in a food bank to appreciate having food to eat
- Calling an isolated grandparent or friend regularly on the phone
- Allowing the cat from down the road to come inside and snuggle
- Fostering or adopting medically fragile children in the system
Have you found strength – or a renewed sense of purpose – by doing what you can to help others? Share your experiences in the comments section. Also, you may want to check out two books recommended by our members for inspiration: Strong at the Broken Places, about five different patients with chronic illnesses including ALS and Crohn’s disease, and 29 Gifts, written by a multiple sclerosis (MS) patient whose South African healer gave her a prescription of helping others for an entire month.