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Becoming a Chickadee

Name: Laura
Hometown: Newport, Oregon
Health Conditions: Has lived with chronic illness, including asthma and diabetes, for 25 years.

“I was given an arsenal of skills to use to take charge of my life once again in a way that was clear and easy to understand.”

Newport, Oregon

The part that helped me the most…

“The six-week course exposed me to new ways of thinking about myself and the medical problems that affected my life. [The workshop] gave me new strategies for keeping depression and pain at bay, ways to relax my mind and body, and eye-opening ideas about exercise that I could do. I was given an arsenal of skills to use to take charge of my life once again in a way that was clear and easy to understand. Through weekly action plans I began to feel successful, seeing in a positive light those things about which I had been hopeless before. I learned that taking five days to clean my apartment wasn’t the issue; the problem was in not giving myself credit for having successfully completed a five day job!”

My life is different now because…

“Every day was a fight to make sense of my existence. I was looking for some value to my life, and I was failing. I was overwhelmed by things that used to be routine - laundry, cleaning the apartment and shopping for groceries. I felt like I had lost my ability to contribute to society in a tangible way. All I could see was the life I had lost - my teaching career, my independence, and the belief that my life was of value.

Among the many benefits I’ve enjoyed as a result of taking this workshop, are two unexpected ones. I’ve become a [workshop] facilitator and now enjoy helping others find their way along the path of living with chronic conditions. Secondly, I’ve given myself a new label, one that more accurately reflects my new attitude toward life and the freedom I enjoy in how I chose to relate to my ongoing health conditions. I choose to be called the wonderfully silly, joyful name of Chickadee.”

I was most surprised by...

“After my previous experiences with support groups, I registered for the course with a strong dose of skepticism. [Almost immediately], I knew I had stumbled onto something. This program held the keys I needed to re-launch my life within the boundaries of chronic illness.”

I'd want someone else to know...

“Instead of trying to fight/cure our chronic illnesses, we now realize that we can do things to live better with it.”