The Roman poet Horace once said, “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.”
For centuries, wise men (and women) have restated his words, reminding us that it’s not the good times, but the tough ones, that reveal your true strength. Sounds all fine and dandy until you’re actually faced with those challenges. Just ask anyone who’s just been laid off, dumped, or diagnosed with an illness. In life’s darkest moments, it’s hard – downright impossible – to think of adversity as a blessing rather than a curse.
Which is why Danea Horn’s book, Chronic Resilience, is truly remarkable. Danea, a Girl on the Grid contributor (see here) and all-around fabulous person, was born with an obscure disorder called VACTERL. In her thirty-odd years, she’s faced more adversity than most of us could imagine: excruciating pain, multiple surgeries and hospitalizations, kidney failure and infertility. Talk about life handing you some lemons.
For most of her twenties, Danea wasn’t unlike most of us. She lived her life like a typical go-getter, double-majoring in math and econ and kicking ass in her career in corporate finance. But when her one (and only) kidney started to go, she decided to make some serious changes. Among those changes: becoming a certified life coach, blogger, and speaker; taking up yoga and meditation; and going vegan. Basically, anything that would reduce the stress of being ill.
Anyone who’s been sick – really sick – can tell you that the mental stress of illness can be as hard, if not harder, than the physical aspects. And yet, stress will only exacerbate your condition. It’s a vicious cycle that’s only made worse by the (well-meaning) people telling you to “stay positive!”
So how does one cope?
That’s the subject that Danea addresses in Chronic Resilience. But instead of writing solely about her own experiences (and trust me, she’s had plenty), she interviews nine women, each of whom is living with chronic disease. The illnesses covered range from cancer and diabetes to Chron’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Each chapter is an exploration of their individual stories and coping mechanisms, including awesomely practical advice like “Let yourself be pissed!” It’s at turns funny and touching and inspiring.
Chronic Resilience is a must-read for anyone living with an illness, as well as those who have a friend or family member who is ill. But even if you’re not sick, the book is an amazing lesson in adversity and how to live your life in spite of it. As Danea so eloquently puts is, “Let’s face it, being sick sucks. But, for some, it is a part of life. And it can still be an amazing, stomp-in-delight life.”
Come to the launch party TONIGHT:
- Monday, August 19, 2013
- 5:30 PM
- Next Door to the B&L, 1215 19th Street Sacramento, CA 95811
- Featuring Mulvaney’s Vegan Appetizers and No-Host Celebratory Cocktails