Thursday, December 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davisite’s new book speaks to chronically ill people around the world

By
From page A4 | October 09, 2013 |

ToniBernhard 2013W

Toni Bernhard. Courtesy photo

Details

What: Toni Bernhard presents her new book, “How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow”

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Avid Reader, 617 Second St.

Info: 530-758-4040

Davis resident Toni Bernhard has followed up her first book, “How to Be Sick,” with a new tome, “How to Wake Up.” She’ll be at The Avid Reader, 617 Second St. in downtown Davis, at 2 p.m. Saturday to discuss her book and sign copies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost 50 percent of adults suffer from chronic illness, says Bernhard, now 68, who caught a virus in 2001 from which she has never recovered. Historically, many of these people were isolated and alone, but that has altered dramatically with the advent of the Internet and social media.

“Because of ‘How to Be Sick,’ I find myself in the middle of this sea of change,” Bernhard says. “It began when people started writing to me from all over the world, saying how the book had changed their lives. I’ve received thousands of emails and private Facebook messages.

“To quote from two of them: ‘I became a totally different person while reading your book. I feel happy again’ and ‘This book literally saved my life. I’ve been sick since 2009. As I stood on the edge of suicide, this book found its way into my hands and gone were the suicidal thoughts.’ ”

The book led to the formation of a community of more than 20,000 people on several different social media sites and at Psychology Today, which hosts Bernhard’s blog.

“Many of these people were desperately lonely before they discovered each other through ‘How to Be Sick.’ Now they find solace and support from others who understand what they’re going through,” she added.

“I spend several hours a day managing and contributing to these various forums where people depend on me to be a guide and a friend.”

Bernhard continues to battle permanent flu-like symptoms. Although the exact diagnosis of her illness continues to be a mystery, the doctors, for now, have concluded it is chronic fatigue syndrome caused by an acute viral infection.

Bernhard said she didn’t plan to write another book. But in those emails and Facebook messages, people were asking her about all of life’s difficulties — stress in relationships, tension on the job, sadness over losses — and sometimes just the challenge of getting through the day.

“These notes became the inspiration for ‘How to Wake Up,” Bernhard says. “Like ‘How to Be Sick,’ the book is practical, not religious. In it, I write about the mixture of joys and sorrows, successes and disappointments that everyone will face in life, and how we can find a peace and well-being that aren’t dependent on whether a particular experience is pleasant or unpleasant.”

Bernhard said because many chronic illnesses and pain conditions are invisible, people often are misunderstood and even disregarded by family, friends and sometimes even the medical community.

“In the ‘How to Be Sick’ community, people feel supported and validated,” she said. “Many of them tell me that through my book and my writings, they’ve learned to stop blaming themselves for their medical problems and have begun to treat themselves with kindness and compassion for the first time.”

Comments

comments

Enterprise staff

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Former foster youths aided by UCD’s Guardian programs

    By Sarah Colwell | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rain Recyclers saves water for another day

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    City offices will take a winter break

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Feds will discuss Berryessa Snow Mountain protection

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    ‘Longest Night’ service Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Journalist will join post-film discussion Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yolo County needs a few good advisers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Per Capita Davis: Time to stop fooling around

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

     
    NAMI-Yolo offers free mental health education program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    Pollution from electric vehicles

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Marovich is a brilliant diplomat

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    And a jolly time was had by all

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Remember that all lives matter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    On skiing: What to know when buying new skis

    By Jeffrey Weidel | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys host Les Curry beginning Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD women gear up for second half of swim season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men begin 4-game road trip at Air Force

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: DBC Juniors rider Kanz wins a cyclocross event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    College Corner: How does applying for financial aid work?

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: B3

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B3

     
    Anniversary: Barbara and Jan Carter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Something growing in the mailbox

    By Don Shor | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Sing and dance along to Cold Shot at Froggy’s

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Point of Brew: Recollections of Christmases past

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A7

    Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ and benefit school arts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Golden Bough brings Irish holidays to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, December 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Last Minute Gift Guide

    Young phenoms make YouTube success look like child’s play

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG1

    Classic or contemporary, it’s all holiday music to our ears

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG2

    Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG3

    Gift ideas for the health-conscious

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: LMG6

    Hall of Fame proudly puts these toys on the shelf

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG7