“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow,” wrote Mary Anne Radmacher.
These are two of my favorite quotes about living with a chronic illness, about the quiet conviction required from someone with a lasting condition to live gracefully, without getting bitter. I have, for the last six years, lived with treatment-resistant depression, fighting death thoughts (“I wish I were dead”) throughout my day. Although I haven’t stopped trying new drugs and alternative therapies, I am finally accepting the possibility that I may never get “well” or as well as I was in my twenties and early thirties.
So I’m shifting my energy from finding a cure to learning how to “live around” the illness, turning to people with debilitating conditions like fibromyalgia, lupus, and chronic fatigue syndrome—as well as to scientists, meditation teachers, and great thinkers–for instructions on how to manage painful symptoms. Here are a few gems I have picked up, tips on how to dance in the rain … and where to find the courage to try again tomorrow.