This article originally appeared on themighty.com.
After I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis I spent weeks circling the drain of self-pity.
I was convinced my problems were worse then anyone else’s. I blamed myself. I cursed God. When my wife tried to talk to me I was tight-lipped and curt. I was angry and afraid and spiteful.
Why was this happening to me? I believed I was too young, too important, too full of promise to be stricken with such a nasty, mysterious disease.
As a child I dreamed of becoming a writer. Sitting on the edge of my bed I would scratch down stories in marble notebook. Stories about a superhero chicken, a baseball playing iguana and 15 year aerospace prodigy name Gunnar and his dog Comet chosen to lead a select group of teenage astronauts in a shuttle mission to Mars.
But then I grew up. I got my first job flipping hamburgers, bought a car, tried to meet girls and stopped writing.
I went to college, became a teacher, meet a girl, got married, fathered three children, got sick and in one of the most important decisions of my life– started writing again.
“Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interest in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and interesting.”- Edward de Bono
Sarcoid inspires me to write everyday. Though I can not predict the course of my disease I am responsible for every word I write. Words that when they are fastened and forged together, energize me with power and strength to fight my fickle disease.
If you are struggling with a chronic illness I challenge you to return to your childhood, to become a creator again. Creating is a profoundly constructive way to distance yourself from your pain, to remind you that you are stronger than you think you are.
Paint, draw, sculpt, build a bird house, make Christmas ornaments, restore an old car, get crazy with a crock pot. Create whatever makes your soul sing.
Despite popular belief, creating is not about money or fame. It never has been. It’s about totally losing yourself in a process until your self-pity is silenced, your spirit is renewed, and you’re afforded needed relief from the pains of living.