After a year like 2017, Thanksgiving could not come at a better time.
The annual holiday gives us a moment to put aside our differences, reconnect with loved ones, and appreciate what’s helped us most over the year. Plus, studies have shown that people who regularly practice feeling thankful have a leg up when it comes to their health. Giving thanks has even more benefits than you thought!
To kick off this holiday season, we asked members of our Facebook condition-specific communities what they’re most thankful for this year.
“I’m thankful for waking up every day and feeling motivated!” -Brette Bohanos, living with multiple sclerosis
“I am thankful for all of the people who have worked so hard to truly understand the spectrum of bipolar disorders.” -Jessica McNeil, living with bipolar disorder
“This year, I’m thankful for my doctor who listens, relates, and acts quickly, but I’m always grateful for my family and my husband, who are understanding through the best and worst of days.” -Ruth Devitt, living with rheumatoid arthritis
“I am thankful for my service dog, Alepo. We’ve been together for four years now. He warns me in advance of my oncoming seizures and provides me with balance and support.” -FresnoFriend, living with epilepsy
“I am thankful for second chances, and maybe third or fourth chances. Living with a chronic condition like HIV requires so much focus and commitment and sometimes I drop the ball by making poor health decisions like eating fast food too much. But I always pick it back up. This year I think all those living with a chronic condition need to pause and pat themselves on their own backs for continuing to keep going, even if they don’t always get it right, at first. Getting another chance is what I’m celebrating this year!” -Josh Robbins, who writes about living with HIV at imstilljosh
“I am thankful for every breath I take, no matter how hard it may be. I am thankful for every morning I wake up and see the sun rise. Our life may be a lot harder than some, but life is beautiful and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Breathe easy and appreciate the day!” -Jenni Pio, living with COPD
“This holiday season, we are thankful for continued good health (despite the MS we share) and for the supportive family and friends who surround us with the help and support that strengthen us in the challenges we face each day.” -Jen and Dan Digmann, who write about living with multiple sclerosis together at DanandJenniferDigmann
“I’m thankful that my miracle baby just turned 6 months old. Someone I never thought was possible is happy, healthy, and snoring in my arms right now.” -Roxanne Tisch, living with Crohn’s disease
“This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the life lessons learned from my chronic illnesses. They have taught me to practice patience and to never give up.” -Cynthia Covert, who writes about her chronic illnesses at The Disabled Diva
“I am thankful for my health insurance and for getting the best medicine for me, emotionally and physically.” -Jessica Wald, living with bipolar disorder
“People. I’m grateful for the people in my life, whom I love for their support and humor. And I’m also grateful for people I’ve never met and I’ll never know, those researchers working behind the scenes and who have come up with newer drugs that are extending our lives. Because of their diligence, I have reached the milestone of living five years with metastatic cancer. I am grateful for my doctors, nurses, and all of the office staff who keep things going smoothly for me and other cancer patients. I’m grateful for my friends, both in real life and online, who have shared difficult times with me and kept me going in times of need. And most especially, I am grateful for my family, who will all come together this Thanksgiving and share a meal. I will be looking around the table with a grateful heart that I am still here to love all these people.” -Ann Silberman, who writes about living with metastatic breast cancer at But Doctor…I hate pink!
“I am thankful for waking up every day with a smile, and for family and friends!” -Angela, living with multiple sclerosis
“I am thankful that despite battling RA, I am still able to do most of the things that I love: horseback riding, dog shows, swimming, and hiking.” -Lauren Meadows, living with rheumatoid arthritis
“I’m thankful for the many mental health advocates courageously sharing stories on social media and the news. Together we push back against a culture of shame, isolation, and fear by educating out of our lived experience.” -Jon Press, who writes about living with bipolar disorder at bpHope
“I am thankful for my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and my legs to get me where I need to go, even if it’s slow and painful. I know I’ll eventually get there, so never give up!” -Rozie M., living with rheumatoid arthritis