a man looking up at a glowing light

Thank You, Sickle Cell

Gratitude is a good habit I have learned to incorporate into my life. I believe it’s important to appreciate every little thing; big or small. It keeps me grounded and it keeps me focussed on the positive things in life. I also believe that the more I am thankful and show gratitude, the more things that come my way to be thankful and grateful for.

Grateful

But how can I be grateful for something that has caused me so much pain? This was something that took me a while to comprehend. I battled with myself. Sickle cell was the one thing that could change my positive and gratifying mood in a flash. So, I challenged myself. I challenged myself to find the silver lining to this sickle cell cloud.

It took time

It actually took me months and many hospital admissions. However, the more I found ways to not be angry at my crappy sickle cell situations, the less crappy the situations actually seemed.

Don't fight fire with fire

This may all sound crazy and I understand that the #sicklecellsucks energy can feel like a welcome release. But as my gran says “Don’t fight fire with fire.”

So here are some of the ways I express gratitude for living with sickle cell.

1. Affirm Positive Statements

There was a time when I used to have panic attacks which would then lead to me having a sickle cell crisis. These would be brought on by me worrying about getting sick.
I would literally repeat statements like “please don’t get sick, please don’t get sick.” Over and over again. Instead of worrying about the unknown, I now try to affirm positive statements such as ‘I am healthy’, ‘I am well.’ ‘I am strong’ ‘I am brave.’ And my go-to’s when I am in hospital or managing pain at home ‘I Can Handle it.’ and ‘I’ve got this.’

2. Focus on recovering

When in a crisis and/or in hospital, it can sometimes be difficult to focus on anything other than the pain. Still, I try my best to take my mind somewhere else and focus on all the things I will do once I have recovered. I think about going out to dinner, dancing, being able to see my God Children, family, and friends. Fundamentally, all the things that make me happy is what I picture doing.

3. List of gratitude

I have experienced some horrible issues as a result of sickle cell. Still, I cannot deny the fact that sickle cell has made me who I am. For this very reason, I like to say all the good things that have happened in my life because of sickle cell.

I start by saying ‘I am thankful for’ and then continue with things such as the friends I have met who also have sickle cell and have something in common with me. Or the surgeries and complications I’ve had as a result of sickle cell that have allowed me to share my experience with others going through the same thing. And so on.

Changing our attitude

When I first started doing this, I found it difficult. I know it may not be for everyone and we all view our experiences differently. The way I see it; we may not be able to change our situation but we can certainly change our attitude towards it.

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