“I think this is one of the most toxic New Age ideas: that all patients should keep a positive attitude. What a crazy, crazy idea that is! It is much healthier, much more healing, to allow yourself to feel whatever it is that comes up in you, and to allow yourself to express it. Allow yourself to work with the anxiety, the depression, the grief.”
~Dr. Michael Lerner
My friend Carolyn Thomas, a heart attack survivor and founder of Heart Sisters, wrote this great article, A Heart Patient’s Positive Attitude: A “crazy, crazy idea”?
It’s about how we can be our greatest enemy by insisting on staying “positive” when the world is literally crashing down around us. She does me the honor of being among the professionals and experts she quotes. Read it! You’ll laugh and cry and laugh again – it’s that good.
Side bar! You have got to see this video Carolyn sites, starring Elizabeth Banks (whom I’ve adored ever since Seabiscuit.) “Just a Little Heart Attack,” sponsored by Go Red for Women.
Hi Dr. A and thanks for such a nice plug. (You are eminently quotable, I’ve discovered!)
I too love that Elizabeth Banks film; I now open my women’s heart health presentations by showing this little film – audiences love it! I have seen it dozens of times and still laugh out loud every time I watch it, especially the last scene where she looks around in horror at her messy kitchen! 🙂
Carolyn! Your articles are always informative, you totally deserve the accolade “Best Heart Blog on the Web!” But this one really hit a nerve and not just because I’m mentioned 🙂
The Elizabeth Banks film is funny because it’s SO TRUE! What you wrote “…even though by then I’d been suffering increasingly worsening cardiac symptoms every day, day after day, several times a day, I still somehow had an instinctive need to appear fine, just fine…” sadly defines a lot of us with chronic and severe acute illness.
How many women didn’t stop to take care of themselves and are no longer with us as a result? It still comes as a shock to people when I point out that heart disease is the #1 killer of American women.
And how the hell is that a positive? I love being genuine and sometimes I am genuinely pissed off about my illness. As you say, just admitting that is oddly uplifting! 🙂