One study on Celiac Disease found "Greater psychological distress and a greater tendency to catastrophize (i.e., to view illness in a pessimistic and negativistic manner) were associated with impaired daily functioning" (Dorn, S.D. & et. al. , 2010). All I can say is "duh." Maybe, the pessimistic view of the illness should be a hint to doctors and friends that someone has impaired daily functioning. That finding could probably be generalized to other diseases.
What does this mean for my writing? It means I will understand research and be able to endow my characters with research based psychological distress and the tendency to catastrophize in appropriate ways. That's an educated way of saying my characters will have real issues with real-world reactions. There are times I read books and wonder if people really have the worries that the character has. Then I wonder if the writer doesn't have enough to worry about in real life. But that's the problem with chronic illness, it makes everyday stuff and everyday problems look small. Research has found one of the blessings of chronic illness is that those who experience it actually cope better with the everyday stuff -- It cuts it down to size. Life and death issues seem to trump life's little irritations.
Nobody's problems are insignificant, but when your problems get bigger it gives you a different outlook on life. It makes me appreciate my granddaughter's two-year-old problems. I feel for her and try to teach her to solve them, but mainly know I just need to love her and treat her kindly until she figures it out. I enjoy watching it and try to remember a time my problems were that small and so very devastating. I hope God is loving me and thinking my problems are small in the same way.
FYI - The grandbaby is here and doing well.I'm reading Sarah Eden's new books so I will have new reviews soon.
Dorn, S.D. & et. al. (2010). Psychosocial Factors Are More Important Than Disease Activity in Determining Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Health Status in Adults at a Celiac Disease Referral Center, Dig Dis Sci, 55, 3154–3163. DOI 10.1007/s10620-010-1342-y