The concepts of quality of life and happiness, while similar, are distinct. The definition of "quality of life" includes physical and mental health, recreation and leisure time, and social belonging. Now, I don't think anyone, no matter how much they try to delude themselves, can deny that ME/CSF strikes a major blow to quality of life.
But is it possible to maintain happiness while suffering a reduced quality of life? Theoretically, I think the answer is yes.
I'm reminded of a lyric from the song The Will to Live, by Ben Harper:
Then I met a man who had to walk with his hands.
Born into a world he couldn't stand.
Blessed with life but cursed as a man.
Still he walks taller than most of us can
Most of us probably know someone who, despite being dealt a bad hand in life, seems inordinately happy. There's a gentleman that works in my office building who is confined to a wheelchair. I pass him in the halls and elevators, and we chat in the the lunch line. He seems, by all indications, to be one of the happiest people around. While I'm sure he deals with his share of pain privately, one cannot fake his apparent level of happiness on a consistent basis. He always seems to be laughing and joking and making new friends.
So I'm interested in how people facing such adverse circumstances manage to remain happy despite reduced quality of life. These examples tell us that it's possible, and I'm beginning to sense that I will get back there eventually. But how?
I don't have an answer yet, but I will get there. I'm interested in reading the biographies of other people who maintained happiness despite challenging circumstances; people like Helen Keller. I think I will incorporate my search for answers as an ongoing theme of this blog. And, as always, I'm interested in hearing from other people who've pondered this question...