Helping women with chronic illnesses

The Opportunities Presented By Adversity (VIDEO)

Powerful. Inspirational. Moving. Enlightening. Wow.


Aimee Mullins

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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Reading: The Opportunities Presented By Adversity (VIDEO)


1 JasmineNo Gravatar { 04.01.10 at 4:02 am }

Very powerful talk! Thanks for sharing this, Jeanne :)
.-= Jasmine´s last blog ..Workplace Perfume Precedent =-.

2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 04.01.10 at 10:12 am }


This video really resonated with me. :)


3 Toni BernhardNo Gravatar { 04.01.10 at 10:52 am }

Hi Jeanne. I introduced myself under your Sick on Top of Sick entry. This video really resonated with me — how labeling people puts them in a box they can’t get out of. (Tell a small child she can’t sing well and she’ll grow up thinking she can’t even if she has a beautiful voice.) Those synonyms for disabled were just appalling, especially since “disabled” has become the accepted alternative term to “handicapped.”

When I got sick, it took me five years to realize that I still had something I could give back to the world, that I was more than just a sick person. As she says, it’s not so much overcoming adversity, but opening to it that makes a difference — adapting to the unexpected changes in our lives. I hope a lot of people see this video!

4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 04.01.10 at 2:26 pm }

Hi Toni,

Yes, I really love this video! Labels can be so limiting. Yes, the synonyms she rattled off for “disabled” from that thesaurus were terrible, weren’t they? I love the way she worded that entire talk. I found it really inspirational. The general concept she talked about is one that I have encountered a great deal in the last couple of years. It’s a philosophy I have found incredibly helpful.

While I have been chronically ill since I was I was 13 years old, I got drastically sicker (with a number of new diagnoses) about 9 years ago. Despite the fact that I had many years of coping skills under my belt by 2000, it took me several years to really come to terms with getting inundated with a handful of new diagnoses within about a year’s time… to be followed by more after that.

It took awhile for me to process what was happening and figure out how to channel my energy in a positive way. Yes, opening to the adversity rather than overcoming it… That part of her talk really, really resonated with me! Her talking about not being sure she’d switch reminded me of a video I had previously posted of Michael J. Fox with the same theme… The whole notion of not switching things if it were an option sounds very odd to some but makes perfect sense to me.

Yes, adapting to the changes is key. I do too! I really love the way she worded it… the general philosophy is one I certainly agree with but the way she presented it was just fantastic, I thought!

I’m glad you enjoyed the video too. ;)


5 StephNo Gravatar { 04.03.10 at 5:05 pm }

Tears just spilled from my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing this. I will also share the video around. xoxo
.-= Steph´s last blog ..Doing better =-.

6 JeanneNo Gravatar { 04.03.10 at 11:10 pm }


It really is quite a video, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing it. I think she makes some really great points.


7 EndochickNo Gravatar { 04.04.10 at 8:52 pm }

Jeanne –

Placing a child in a box – slapping a label on them – is the worst diservice a person can do. Children must be given the freedom to grow into whatever beautiful beings they can be.

Thanks for the video.
.-= Endochick´s last blog ..It’s #endometriosis Month! =-.

8 JeanneNo Gravatar { 04.04.10 at 11:50 pm }


While Aimee Mullins references what children are told in this video, I believe it is applicable to adults as well. Labels can be limiting to anybody.

I love the way she talked about adversity!!

I’m glad you liked the video.


9 Dorothy StahlneckerNo Gravatar { 04.06.10 at 5:46 am }

I’ll watch the video..

Dorothy from grammology

.-= Dorothy Stahlnecker´s last blog ..Hats off to Gabourey, she’s my idol =-.

10 JeanneNo Gravatar { 04.06.10 at 11:38 am }


I’m sure you’ll enjoy the video. It’s great!


11 AmyNo Gravatar { 04.10.10 at 9:16 pm }


So happy you mentioned this video! She speaks such amazing truth.

It makes you wonder what lies you may have let define you. Awhile back I sat down and looked at all the things that I believed about myself and why I believed those things. I realized that there were a lot of things that I believed about myself, because of something someone once said to me, not because of any real facts. It was a very liberating process to go thru.

12 JeanneNo Gravatar { 04.11.10 at 2:20 am }

Welcome Amy!

I thoroughly enjoyed your post Why my life is better because of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity on The Canary Report. Readers who have not read Amy’s post, I highly recommend it, regardless of what chronic illness(es) you may have.

I happened across it shortly after I had posted this video and really thought the philosophies in Aimee’s video talk and your written post were similar. Yes, Aimee really does a wonderful job speaking powerful truths. As do you! ;)

Yes, words matter! Labels can certainly limit people. Labels can also damage self-confidence in really destructive ways.

Yes, such introspection can be extremely liberating and empowering!! I think that many chronically ill patients eventually reach a point of introspection like this where they realize that illnesses bring gifts and not just challenges!

It took years for me to get past some of the anger and bitterness to see the advantages of adversity and illness. That is not to say that I’m magically free of anger and/or bitterness at all times. Not by a long-shot. I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I tried to make that claim. However, I honestly feel bitterness on rare occasion. As far as anger, I try to channel it when it happens into positive action.

Thanks for your great post! It really captured a theme I have written about on my blog quite a bit… the importance of gratitude in managing living life to the fullest with chronic illness. Gratitude helps keeps me from falling into the bitterness zone… which is a bad place for me to be. I try to keep pity parties to a minimum and focus on what I can do rather than on what I can’t do.

I think Aimee’s video was inspirational because it demonstrates the importance of not boxing people in with labels that create or exaggerate the barriers before them.

Thanks for stopping by.


13 KatrinaNo Gravatar { 04.11.10 at 9:20 am }

Thank you for such an inspiration. I really needed to hear this at this time.

14 JeanneNo Gravatar { 04.11.10 at 5:19 pm }

Welcome Katrina!

I’m glad you liked the video. It just really resonated with me! I think there is so much to taken out of this relatively short video.

Take care!


15 LibertyNo Gravatar { 04.14.10 at 11:33 am }

thank you Jeanne for posting this awesome video!
so inspiring and I resonated with every bit of it.
I have refused to refer to myself as disabled. I am perfectly able to do many things – things that bring myself and others joy. I don’t even refer to myself as ‘ill’ anymore – if it’s unavoidable to refer to it, I say I have health issues or health conditions – then the focus is still partly on the health and that I do have a great deal of health (just with some issues).
Labels are so powerful and so are both diagnoses and prognoses.

thanks again :-)
.-= Liberty´s last blog ..MCS and Chlorine in Paper Products – Healthier Choices =-.

16 JeanneNo Gravatar { 04.14.10 at 1:48 pm }


Hi! I’ve missed you. Somehow I lost track of you. I don’t think I’ve talked with you since I had my old blog… and that was awhile ago.

I’m glad you liked the video. It resonated so much for me too!

Words really do matter. More and more, I find myself replacing terms like “illnesses” with “conditions”. Yes, labels are powerful indeed.

Thanks for stopping by. :)


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