Many of my new clients are surprised by one of the items on the questionnaire I request that they fill out before our first session. I ask them to list at least three benefits they’ve experienced because of having their illness. Maybe it will suprise you to know that there was only one person who said she couldn’t think of any.
Even though it took place five years ago, I will always remember a conversation I had with a woman who was living in London. Before Zolisa immigrated there from Africa, she had been diagnosed with AIDS, which she had gotten from her ex-husband.
In her culture, woman were expected to acquiesce to their husband’s demands for sex, and as a result many women became infected. Instead of staying bitter or feeling victimized, what Zolisa decided to do was to make it her mission to empower other African women in London to stand up to their husbands, so that they wouldn’t become infected with AIDS.
I found Zolisa’s response to her illness very inspiring. But what made it unforgettable was when she told me that her mission and work were so satisfying to her that if it were possible for her to be cured of AIDS, she would decline. What she was doing meant more to her than becoming disease free.
Very few, if any, of us would turn down a cure for our illness. However, as I said above, I’ve only encountered one person who couldn’t think of any benefits from having an illness. Some of the more common ones were being more appreciative of Nature’s beauty and being more compassionate. And people listed many others.
What about you? What are some of the benefits you’ve experienced as a result of having your illness? I invite you to leave a comment to share them with others.