Review: How To Be Sick by Toni Bernhard

Thow to be sick toni bernharditle: How To Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers.

Author: Toni Bernhard

Publisher: Wisdom Publications

Published: Sept. 2012

Genre: Non-Fiction, M.E./C.F.S. Related

Source: Bought on Amazon using a gift voucher (Christmas present)

My Rating: 2.5/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

In How to be Sick Toni Bernhard tells of how she used her Buddhist faith and understanding to accept living with a chronic disability.

I had been looking forward to reading this book for a very long time (despite having it on my shelf for months before I got to it) as I really enjoy Bernhard’s column at Psychology Today in which she gives advice to those with chronic disabilities, and their carers, revolving around Buddhism.  I was expecting more of the same with How to be Sick, only more in-depth. Unfortunately I instead found that most of the book was, in my opinion, fluff (ie. extra words that weren’t necessary just to make the chapters longer).

The book starts with Bernhard’s personal journey with becoming ill on a holiday in Paris, and never recovering.  She then goes on to explain a few fundamentals of Buddhism and examples of how she uses them.  However, I felt that it was simply repetition of saying ‘so I started to think like that and it helped’, which isn’t actually very useful to the reader.  I was really looking for actionable steps, due to it being described as ‘a Buddhist-inspired guide for the chronically ill and their caregivers’, and for me the book just didn’t deliver.

I did find some of the explanations of Buddhist ideas helpful, but I feel that I would just as easily be able to learn these online or using books dedicated to Buddhism.  As so many of Bernhard’s examples simply explain what her mental and emotional state would be like without using Buddhism, I didn’t find many of them useful or explanatory.

Despite not finding the majority of the book up to my expectations, the final chapters did explain the difficulties people with chronic disabilities face, that most people may not be aware of, as well as giving suggestions on how to deal with specific  problems (although, most of those suggestions involve nothing more than some positive statements to say to yourself).

Overall I was very disappointed with How to be Sick, and I personally didn’t find it worth my time, money or energy.  However, for those with chronic disabilities and their carers, I still recommend reading Toni Bernhard’s column online if you are looking for a burst of inspiration, acceptance, and understanding.

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Wondrous Words Wednesday (25th June)

wondrous2

Wondrous Words Wednesdayis a weekly meme at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!

This week both of my words come from Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor.

  1. Imperturbable – incapable of being upset or agitated; not easily excited; calm
  2. Snerched – Described in the book as ‘the nearest phonetic case to be made for the sound he ejected from his nose’

I love the word ‘snerch’ and am adding it to my personal lexicon.

Teaser Tuesdays (24th June)

teaser tuesdaysTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

Trees, overgrown and huge, grow beyond the cement fixtures intended to keep them enclosed, their roots sprawling over the pavement. Perched on the edge of one rooftop is a row of black birds like the ones tattooed on Tris’s collarbone.

~p.p. 110 Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Teaser Tuesdays (17th June)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: • Grab your current read • Open to a random page • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! […]

Musing Mondays (16th June)

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and asks you to muse about one of the following each week… • Describe one of your reading habits. • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s). • What book are you currently desperate to get your […]

Teaser Tuesdays (3rd June)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: • Grab your current read • Open to a random page • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! […]