Book Review Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness by Christopher Martin

I was kindly gifted an advanced copy of Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness, Proven Strategies for Discovering Happiness, Meaning, and Fulfillment by Christopher Martin from NetGallery for a review. 

Published 2021

About the Author

I am a school psychologist, husband, father, and – pertinent to this website – an author who has multiple invisible chronic illnesses. 

     And an invisible chronic illness is a beast.  On top of draining you physically, a chronic illness can impact all aspects of your life ranging from causing financial hardship to harming your relationships to dampening your spirits.  Try to be cheerful when you have this unremitting “monkey on your back” known as an invisible chronic illness that constantly demands your attention 24-7.  Needless to say, it’s easy to let yourself and others down. 

      Plus, your family or friends can’t see your illness, as it’s invisible, and they may not understand.  Most with an invisible illness are familiar with “advice” ranging from “stay positive” to “you look good” to “Have you tried ___ for your condition?”  Yup, you probably have, and it didn’t work. 

      On top of that, best wishes in accessing (and maintaining) high quality medical care when you are too tired to even take care of yourself.    

      Welcome to the world of an invisible chronic illness.  I should know.  I suffer from multiple invisible chronic illnesses, including a primary immune deficiency disorder and bronchiectasis. 

 But it doesn’t have to be this way – for you or for me.    While I am not cured of my illness, I enjoy a fulfilling life and experience ongoing joy, peace, and happiness.  Because of outstanding medical care, extensive self-educating and self-care, a supportive family, and a strong faith, I effectively manage my chronic illnesses.  But I didn’t want to be the only one to benefit.  It was my goal, in turn, to give back to others by doing what I love to do:  authoring books on these conditions. 

Blurb

“Finding Joy is a vital guide on how to best manage and navigate life with a chronic illness.”—James Nestor, New York Times bestselling author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

“Finding Joy provides a comprehensive, evidence-based roadmap for not only coping with chronic illness, but personally optimizing self-growth and resiliency from the experience.” —Joanne Joseph, PhD, professor of psychology and interim dean of the College of Health Sciences, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and author of The Resilient Child: Preparing Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s World

* How can you experience those good thoughts and feelings, enjoy life to its fullest, and de-stress when faced with relentless physical suffering?

* How can you enhance your relationships, find support, respond to the naysayers, and possibly even help them understand you and your illness?

* When seeking medical care, how can you get the answers you deserve, and access and maintain quality healthcare?

Early Reviews

“”Finding Joy is absolutely phenomenal. Chris Martin’s heartfelt approach offers numerous meaningful strategies to thrive when faced with the many unseen and unrecognized issues of living with an invisible chronic illness.””—Heather Lewis-Hoover, MS, CAS, school counselor

““Finding Joy is a vital guide on how to best manage and navigate life with a chronic illness.””—James Nestor, New York Times bestselling author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

“Finding Joy provides a comprehensive, evidence-based roadmap for not only coping with chronic illness, but personally optimizing self-growth and resiliency from the experience.” —Joanne Joseph, PhD, professor of psychology and interim dean of the College of Health Sciences, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and author of The Resilient Child: Preparing Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s World

My Thoughts

“Now, 1 in 2 Americans (around 165 million) have a chronic medical condition, in which their illness impairs them in one or more of their everyday activities.

Further, 96% of chronic medical conditions in the United States are invisible, making them both harder to diagnose and for others – family, friends, and healthcare providers – to understand.2a As a result, because others tend to assume what we can or cannot do simply by how we look, they tend to downplay this suffering, and assume we are either lazy, irresponsible, or even faking our illness.”

Excerpt From
Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness

Chris hits the. last nerve with this paragraph. Many people with chronic illnesses have been brushed off, or their illness underplayed or outright not treated. He has some great ideas on how we can harness our energy, what energy we have to take control of our healthcare by assembling the right team of doctors, making the most of our doctor’s appointments, and becoming your best advocate.

 He also addresses the depression that often follows someone with a chronic illness which can, in turn, fall into the cycle and create more pain. It is one many know all too well and don’t always know how to balance the two. 

Chris also has some questions for you, to take a hard look at yourself and answer about your chronic illness. I found them enlightening and worth soul searching on. 

Being a Psychologist Chris’s approach to the book is one of mind over matter. You can change how you talk to yourself and how you chose to look at each situation.  

I think Chris says it best, the diagnosis is a step forward, it’s not the last. 

“While an official diagnosis represents a huge step forward in the management of your condition, it also represents a new beginning in your journey of further seeking help for your condition, not the end. In dealing with a chronic illness, the search for improved health and a better quality of life never ceases. Likewise, despite an official diagnosis, you will continue to confront challenges when accessing quality healthcare or dealing with others, but it will be that much easier to confront these challenges. You have cleared a major hurdle.”

Excerpt From

Chris includes a helpful chapter for loved ones as a resource and support. 

Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness is a great find, one for all to read, the patient, the loved one, and family members. It is a simple and very practical approach to taking control by understanding how we think and what we have control over when it comes to our chronic condition and healthcare treatment. 

A Note From Chris

Hi Melinda,

I read your NetGalley review of my book, “Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness,” and I cannot tell you how much it meant to me. Your review made my day! I’m so sorry to hear that all you have been through in your life, including the chronic health condition we share in common (immune deficiency) but…I need to say it is SO inspiring to me to read how you have used your suffering for the good of so many others!!

I could not believe how well you summed up my book in this sentence: “It is a simple and very practical approach to taking control by understanding how we think and what we have control over when it comes to our chronic condition and healthcare treatment.” I couldn’t have said it better! My main hope and sole mission in writing “Finding Joy” is to encourage others and inspire them to live abundantly with a chronic illness. Because this is a non-business goal, I have discounted the eBook to $.99 on Amazon so whoever wants to read it can read it without cost being an obstacle.

I was overjoyed to hear from Chris and that he enjoyed my review. 

Enjoy Reading,

Melinda

Looking for the Light

@LookingLight

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