Learned Helplessness

Chronic illness can serve as fertile ground for a banner crop of learned helplessness. The persistent symptoms of chronic illness disrupt absolutely every area of our lives. Consequently, we can easily lose sight of what actually does still remain within our control.

Even as I write these very words, I’m struggling to apply them to my own situation. No, having received an advanced degree in clinical health psychology doesn’t magically protect you from developing periods of mini-meltdowns!

Hopefully, however, it does provide some additional tools for enhanced coping. So, I tell myself that, regardless of what symptoms I develop today, I’ll still be alright.

I gently, but firmly, remind myself that I’m a survivor, after all! Yes, I’ve been knocked down before, many, many times, in fact. Nonetheless, I’m still standing. I’ll one day look back on what I happen to be facing right now.

I may not have control over what happens to me, but I’ll never relinquish control of how I actively choose to respond to it.

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