It seems to me that the prevailing ‘wisdom’ in our culture is to look on the bright side, to the point of denying the dark side altogether. However, I’m a strong advocate of acceptance – facing up to our reality, and working towards that bright side with the knowledge of what’s really wrong.
Denial is dangerous. It stops us being able to grieve for what we’ve lost, and prevents us from taking our health seriously. In ME patients, it leads to crashes and relapses, as we convince ourselves that we can cope with a great deal more than is safe. It causes us to damage those around us by denying the truth of their situation, and insisting on doing things the bright-side. Furthermore, eventually that denial is going to catch up with us – and when you realise you’ve been lying to yourself, it can be devastating.
What good is a bright side that doesn’t really exist?
Facing the truth is painful, but so is removing a splinter or setting a broken bone. We may feel like we can’t deal with the reality of our situation, but in the end, acceptance is what allows us to move forward despite that reality, and experience joy in the midst of the pain.