Chronic Illness as a Source of Happiness: Paradox or perfectly normal?

S. Hoppe


In this paper I analyse the relation between happiness and chronic illness from the perspective of medical anthropology and disability studies. By looking at the disability paradox I deconstruct society’s view of people with a disability. I argue that the disability paradox is problematic as it ignores the views of people with a disability. Moreover, such a paradox reinforces the idea that living with a chronic illness or disability is a devastating experience and that happiness and disability are mutally exclusive realities. Based on empiric examples of people who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis I demonstrate that people with a chronic illness can experience happiness in spite of illness, but also as a consequence of it.



chronic illness;disability; happiness; disability paradox; Multiple Sclerosis

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