staying positive with NMO and a gratitude jar

Staying Positive During Difficult Times

Last updated: December 2022

Staying positive when things seem like they are going wrong is difficult, and I feel that we can get into that "victim" and "poor me" mindset instead of choosing a positive one.

Staying positive is a different mindset altogether.

When I wake up, I choose positivity

For me, each day I wake up and realize I have another day to live, this starts my day off with positivity. When I open my eyes and am able to see, and when I swing my legs over the bed to the floor and am able to walk, I feel grateful. Already, I have a positive outlook on the day.

You see, for me, it’s a choice, and I do feel that we all have one. We get to choose each day how we are going to show up and impact the world. Just because I have NMOSD doesn’t mean I should be negative and have a bad attitude. I can choose to be positive. Believe me, there were times when I sat in that “victim” mindset, and it sucked - to be perfectly honest with you. Having a positive mindset makes it much easier live with yourself and also for others to be around you. I feel happier, grateful, and more inspired, and it makes a huge difference in my life.

It didn't happen overnight

When I stopped working and went on disability back in 2016, I definitely wasn’t in a positive state of mind. I literally went into a deep depression and slept 2017 away. When I say I slept it away, I mean it. I isolated myself from everyone and used my symptoms of NMOSD as an excuse. You see, I was grieving my old life. My job, my workouts, and my entire lifestyle was changing. It took a long time to realize that the only person who was going to get me up and out of my bed was me, and that’s exactly what I did.

Practicing gratitude changed my life

One day, I got up and asked for help. I went to a psychiatrist and got on a medication to give me a little pep in my step. I then started to change my attitude and started practicing gratitude. I started doing so by purchasing a gratitude jar on Groupon that came with these little cards to fill out. After only a few short weeks, my gratitude jar was full and became part of my daily ritual, and that’s what turned my negative, victim mindset into a positive one. When I realized all I did have despite my circumstances and all I could do, I realized staying positive in difficult times is possible.

Advocacy for NMO patients has given me a purpose

For me, patient advocacy is not a job but a way of life. My illness has deepened both my resilience and compassion. It is the reason why I love helping others achieve their full potential. Haruki Muraki writes in one of my favorite quotes, "When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about."

When did you realize that staying positive during difficult times is possible?

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