This is an excerpt of article from Washington Post. The other writers talk about diabetes & cancer. Apparently the Post encourages writers to submit artices under 250 words on living with chronic illnesses. 'I Am Not My Illness, It Is Only a Part of Me' Tuesday, August 5, 2008 An occasional feature in which readers describe how they have adjusted to life with a chronic illness. It began with a high fever and sore throat in the fall of 1996. I expected to feel better after a week, but the flulike symptoms, aching and malaise persisted. I was luckier than most: Within six months I had a diagnosis: chronic fatigue syndrome. Determined to get well, I at first over-exercised, fell for fad cures and held out for complete recovery. I had to leave my job and fell into depression and negativity when each new prospect for improvement failed. After two years, my functioning level was still 50 to 75 percent of what it used to be. One day I read Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning." Frankl basically says, "The only thing you can really control in life is your attitude." I rethought my life through the lens of chronic illness. It could be called acceptance, but I regard it as more like a cease-fire between my mind and my body. I still needed goals. My first step, lying on the couch every afternoon, was to improve my Spanish by watching telenovelas. I gave up trying to return to work as a social worker and found part-time clerical work at a local hospital. I could still help people and use my language skills, but I had much less responsibility and stress. I try to concentrate on what I am able to do instead of what I have lost. I am not my illness, it is only a part of me. -- By Susan Osborn of Fairfax, who gardens and volunteers with local environmental groups.