Accepting Chronic Illness: How to Find Hope and Joy in the Everyday

By Marisa Cohen
Reviewed by Susan Ko, Ph.D.
March 03, 2023

Some people who are living with a chronic illness often scan the news hoping to learn that scientists have finally discovered a cure for what ails them. It can be hard for them to let go of the idea that a miracle is just on the horizon.

This is how Ashley M. Ratcliff, 37, of Long Beach, California, felt at the start of her MS journey. “When I was first diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, in 2018, I held on to a hope that a cure would be found,” Ashley says.

That’s a completely understandable instinct, says Katie Willard Virant, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in St. Louis who treats patients with chronic illness. “I think everybody starts with that hope, whether it's conscious or unconscious,” she says.