The Pillow Fort Positivity Manifesto

Last week, someone linked to the Pillow Fighters Club in order to criticise the group based on the out of context quote ‘fed up of online wallowy chronic illness communities?’

I have to defend the ‘positivity only’ rule of the Pillow Fighters Club on a fairly regular basis.

My understanding of positivity is constantly evolving, but as of now, May 2015, I’m happy to declare the following:

The Pillow Fort Positivity Manifesto

  1. The Pillow Fighters Club is a community, not a support group. We encourage each other and celebrate in all aspects of life, not just chronic illness related.
  2. Sometimes you need to feel the shitty feelings, and that’s okay.
  3. For some people, the Pillow Fighters Club is the only chronic illness group they are in, for others it’s one of many. You are allowed (encouraged even!) to be in many different groups, for different purposes, at different times.
  4. Sometimes you need to rant about the shitty feelings and the hard days in other groups, and that’s also okay.
  5. Do not get stuck in the shitty feelings.
  6. Do not spend all your time looking for confirmation that life is against you, because you will find loads of it.
  7. Blanket positivity (aka denial) does not work. You can’t just force positivity on someone and insist everything is fine and dandy.
  8. You are so much more than your illness. You have hopes, dreams, likes, interests, hobbies and unique quirks. To deny your wholeness as a person is to deny the world of you.11029510_909718702423988_4853207511147026027_n
  9. You are not a victim of your circumstances. You can choose how you handle them, to see things differently and to predominantly focus on the good things in life.
  10. You’re likely going to have your chronic illness(es) regardless of what you think, and how you act, therefore it makes sense to keep making tiny steps towards things that make you happy and make life worth living.
  11. Self-care is essential to The Pillow Fort’s positivity message. The most important thing in your life is taking care of, and being kind to, you.
  12. You are responsible for the energy and the vibe you bring to the Pillow Fighters Club, and every other part of your life. You can choose to either bring positive, hopeful and loving energy, or negative, draining and fearful energy.
  13. We have the utmost respect for all our members, including: what illness(es) they have, if they have formal diagnoses or not, what treatments they choose to try and what treatments they choose to not try.
  14. If you do not like The Pillow Fort or the Pillow Fighters Club, or if you don’t find them helpful, you do not have to be involved.

If you would like to download a printable version of this manifesto, minus the parts about the Pillow Fighters Club, you can do so here.

Some quotes from awesome Pillow Fighters:

I’d define ‘wallowy’ as ‘help-rejecting complaining’ – i.e. people who want to complain about their problems, but will shoot down any and all suggestions of help (and shut down people who want to seek solutions rather than whine).

I’d define ‘positivity’ as ‘looking for solutions’. Sure, chronic illness is challenging and scary and painful, but there’s ways to make it easier and positivity is about always looking for ways to improve one’s life (even if that’s ‘just’ finding a good distracting TV show to get you through a rough spot!).” – an anonymous Pillow Fighter with porphyria.

This group is all about helping each other find those wonderful things when they seem a little hard to find in a world that doesn’t always know what to do with disability. It is a place to be real. And in being real to find ways to cope that are true to who and where we are at in this stage of trying to build our lives. It is not about simply staying positive, it is about truly living and sharing how to do that well!” – Anonymous Pillow Fighter

After finding this community I have done so, so much better dealing with things and people are really admiring of it plus it creates a great open platform for those who’re close to me that don’t really understand but want to. I have done a complete 180 with my illnesses and I chalk a lot of it up to The Pillow Fort! This place is awesome.” – Heather

When I’m depressed I sometimes just read posts on here and the positivity makes me feel less alone without having to contribute/comment.” – Leigh Anne Peach

What’s your definition of positivity? I’d love for you to let me know in the comments!