You will hear personal development gurus across the world telling you to “think positive” and “stay positive” all the time and this is easy when life is going well, you have a job, enough money, your relationship is good and you and your loved ones are healthy.
But what do you do when life comes crashing down around your ears?
This is where many of these gurus will fall silent because it is easy to stay positive when things are going well; the challenge is to keep positive when things are not going so well. This is when it really tests your resolve and your ability to remain positive and keep on going.
About five weeks ago our seven year old son was diagnosed with leukaemia. As you can well imagine, this sort of news makes your world come crashing down around you. Everything stopped. Everything got forgotten about and nothing was more important than making sure he was okay.
The initial news was a shock of the sort you should never, ever have, and it was really hard to be positive, but the doctors reacted quickly and sent him to the best children’s hospital in the country where he has had the best treatment and care that I could have asked for. They doctors, nurses and staff are absolutely amazing and have been from the moment we set foot in the hospital.
When we got to the ward we quickly became more positive because running around the ward unchecked were a few kids, all completely bald from chemotherapy that were on the road to recovery. Suddenly the ‘L word’ didn’t seem quite so scary and there was a ray of hope. We met other parents who were very friendly and helpful, sharing a common bond with us.
We met the doctors and the nurses who took the time to speak to us and tell us what was going on, which was incredibly helpful. They reassured us and told us that he had ALL leukaemia which had a very high cure rate and he was going to undergo treatment immediately for it. We were out of hospital and home within two weeks, returning on an out-patient basis for his treatment.
After spending those two weeks in the hospital we got talking to other parents whose children had leukaemia and cancer and we realized just how lucky we were! Yeah, lucky he had leukaemia … there was a lot of children there with a lot worse and we were grateful he only had leukaemia. The other parents told us about the treatment and care, reassuring us that it was brilliant and there was light at the end of the tunnel. The help, advice and support from them helped us to keep positive and feel better about the situation.
Our friends and family rallied around us and offered support that has been absolutely amazing and we are so grateful for their help and support in every way, it really made a tough situation much easier.
Now our son is at home, he too has lost his hair, we get sleepless nights and it is difficult dealing with him as he is in pain and tired a lot of the time. However, we are keeping our focus firmly on the end result, in three years he will be healthy, free from leukaemia and able to lead a completely normal life.
Staying positive in this situation is very hard and we were surprised to find that other parents just could not cope and I must admit, neither of us had realized there was an option to not cope! I figured that you had no choice but to roll with it and get on with it as your child is relying on you, but obviously that isn’t always the case!
We could have looked at the negative points – he had leukaemia, he was ill, he was in hospital and so on, but we have kept our focus on the positive, literally living from day to day – I have no idea even what day of the week it is most of the time at the moment because we are just getting through one day at a time.
We’ve focused on the fact he is in the best hospital in the country being treated by the leading experts in the field who have had success after success treating this type of illness. We have focused on looking after him and our other children and on the well wishes, support and assistance from our friends and family.
The challenge in times of stress when life is going bad is to look for the positive. Sometimes it can be hard, but keep asking yourself “What’s good about this?” and “How can I make the most of this?”. These and similar questions help keep your focus on the positive and away from the negative. It may be very hard to find the positive, but if you search for it and keep asking the right questions you will find it; it is there but it may be obscured.
In our challenge here it is going to be a long road – we have three years of treatment and it is going to have its ups and its downs. There will be very positive times but there are going to be times when the positive is going to extremely difficult to see. Seeing him able to move around after not being able to walk is wonderful, but there will be downs and keeping our focus on the positive is going to help us to keep going throughout this difficult time.
It is when life throws you a curved ball that you are challenged to stay positive and show your true colours. If in these times you ask yourself the right questions and keep your focus on the right things then you can get through it a lot easier. With your focus on the positive you can get through life’s challenges – just keep asking yourself the right questions and it is much easier to keep yourself positive and get through the problems facing you.
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