How To Be Sick (Giveaway!)

I have been a fan of Toni Bernhard’s book How To Be Sick since it first came out in 2010. There is now an audiobook version available, which is fantastic for people who are too sick to read, and we have FIVE free copies to give away!

If you are not familiar with How To Be Sick, I highly recommend it. I reviewed the book in 2010, and since then it has become a reference book that I turn to again and again. Toni writes with such compassion about her own experiences, and gives the gentlest advice. Like anyone with chronic illness, I struggle with guilt, anger, grief, envy, and a host of other negative emotions. It is such a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the physical suffering of ME/CFS. I am blessed to have strong support from family and friends, and I have developed a steadfast spiritual faith as well. I view life as a learning experience, but despite all of these emotional and spiritual tools I still sink into that quicksand of emotional suffering.

How To Be Sick has helped me start coping with that burden. Toni recommends many spiritual practices, but two that have helped me the most are weather practice and compassion. Weather practice reminds me that emotions and moods are ephemeral, and that unpleasant emotions will change, just like the weather. The harder practice for me is to direct compassion towards myself and my body. I can be brutal to myself with blame and reprimands. Toni’s advice has helped me start to give myself the same compassion that I would offer to a loved one. These practices cultivate acceptance of reality (we are sick) without surrendering hope. Although both Toni and I have ME/CFS, one of the great strengths of the book is that its tools are helpful to people with any chronic illness and their caregivers – the advice is is truly universal!

Now Toni’s book is available as an audio recording (find it at Audible or Amazon). I will be buying a copy for those times when I am too sick to read. I also anticipate that listening to Toni’s advice (read by Deon Vozov) will help me hear and internalize it better. Thanks to Toni, you have a chance to win a copy of the recording through Audible.

To enter the giveaway: Leave a comment right here on this blog post telling me whether you have tried listening to audiobooks instead of reading. FIVE winners will be chosen at random from among the comments.

Notes: US residents only at this time (we’re checking to see if international is ok). You are eligible regardless of where you live (Thanks Audible!). Be sure to provide your email so I can contact you if you win. Entries will be accepted through 11:59 pm Eastern, July 21, 2013. Winners will be announced on July 22, 2013.

Five comments were selected at random using a random number generator. The five winners are Susan Sahler (#2), Kathryn (#8), Mona Neikirk (#23), Nancy Lanzalotto (#32), and Valerie Free (#46). You have been sent an email with instructions to receive your book.

Thank you to everyone who visited the blog and left a comment! And a huge thanks to Toni for making this giveaway possible, and allowing me to help out!

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56 Responses to How To Be Sick (Giveaway!)

  1. Leonie Hitchenor says:

    I’ve never tried an audiobook before & this would be an excellent way to start. In the last couple of years I’ve struggled to read more than 3 or 4 pages & books are beyond me. It would be wonderful to have an easy & relaxing way to access Toni’s words of wisdom. Thanks 🙂

  2. susan sahler says:

    I have’nt been able to figure out how to download a audio book yet, but would love to be able to
    read, toni’s book….I am really not able to read for very long without having to sleep.

  3. Marge Gipson says:

    I to admire Toni but have vision problems and have been waiting for this! <3 :0 YAAAAY! It's on Audio!!

  4. Megan Marucco says:

    I love listening to audiobooks, because it solves a problem I’ve always had–How can I be reading at all times?! A life long reader, audiobooks help me read while washing dishes, running errands and while I’m working. Productivity and reading –what could be better.

    Also, more related to this particular book–as someone with a chronic illness, audiobooks help me continue to read when I have migraines and need to be in the dark or when I’m too fatigued to even hold a book and flip pages.

  5. Hayley Robertson says:

    I have listened to many audiobooks, especially when traveling. I find it soothing and relaxing when I am not feeling well.

  6. Tamara Lee says:

    I have not tried audio books rather than reading just yet. I have thought about it many times and would love for “How To Be Sick” to be my first! It has been on my reading list for a long time!

  7. Gail Shochet says:

    Audiobooks from the library have been my saving grace whenever I’ve been too tired or in too much pain or having problems with my eyes. They have helped me explore the world and expand my mind from the comfort of my own bed, and provided much-needed distraction, entertainment, and solace.

  8. Kathryn says:

    I would say that I can’t live without audiobooks. I know that is not true, but life would be pretty miserable without them. As my illness has taken more and more of my ability to do the things I love to do as well as things I need to do, my dependence on being able to escape, learn or experience life through the audiobooks has only grown.

  9. Melissa says:

    I listen to audiobooks and find it SO much easier than reading — way less effort. Big thanks to Toni for making these copies available to us.

  10. Laura says:

    As a Lymie, my attention span is short. I do listen to audiobooks in the car, but when reading find that my mind wanders and checks out less easily if I have an actual book or a tablet in my hands.

  11. Pat Gorman Russell says:

    would love to try an audio book… husband does not enjoy reading but would like to become familiar with Toni’s book….this would be great we could listen and discuss the book together.

  12. Katie Godfrey says:

    Books are a struggle, and take me time, though I have read How to be Sick which was very readable. This as an audio book would be a fabulous way to try audio.

  13. Kim says:

    I have not tried audiobooks yet, though they may be a great option. While reading online books lately, I become frustrated thinking I haven’t read pages yet, and then see text I highlighted while reading it previously.

  14. Janis Jones says:

    I have used audio books many times – mainly when I am worse and can’t read.
    Also sometimes I pick up things I would miss if I had read the book or would’ve missed if I tried to read.
    This would also allow me to lie in bed and relax listening to it.

    Thanks for making this offer.

  15. Karen says:

    I will look for this at my library. I should try audiobooks. It would get me away from this computer for a while!

  16. Vickie says:

    I am a huge fan of audiobooks. As you mentioned, you can “read” them lying in the dark with your eyes closed.

  17. Amy says:

    Audiobooks help me pass the time when I’m too sick to read but can’t sleep. I also have difficulty reading because lines of text swim together. I’d love a copy of this audiobook–thanks for the offer!

  18. Rachael says:

    I love audiobooks!! They are perfect for days when it hurts too much to hold a book, let alone keep up with the text.

  19. Debbie says:

    Audiobooks are a lifesaver when I am feeling too sick to hold a book and just want to listen.

  20. Julie Litten says:

    I have not listened to audiobooks before, but I know they are in my immediate future. I am currently bedridden with an injury and won’t be able to hold a book for a while. Love Toni’s book, How to Be Sick and look forward to ‘hearing’ How to Wake Up!

  21. Cathy Kaneko-Jones says:

    I have not listened to audiobooks, but listen to podcasts from James Baraz’ Awakening Joy class and Rick Hansen’s Compassionate Brain series (free on the web). They have been lifesavers to me when I am having a down day from chronic fatigue.

    Toni’s columns in Psychology Today resonate deeply fitting right in with those teachings.

  22. Audio books rock. They save time. Many of us are auditory learners, even more than visual or kinesthetic. Audio books take us back to our early childhood when parents read to us. It restores us through comfort and convenience.

  23. Mona Neikirk says:

    I have never listened to an Audiobook but I can’t think of a better time or book to start with!!
    Thanks so much for the amazing offer!!! 🙂

  24. Corinne N.M. says:

    I have started to read audiobooks when i became ill 4 years ago and my eyesight got erratic and troubled. The first one i tried was a bit of a dissappointment, as the voice and the way it was read was not for me. But i tried again and now i love audiobooks, they are my lifesafer.
    They help me keep quiet and give the eyes a rest, the mind going on adventures while the body can’t. They keep me sane & sound!

  25. Barrie Williams says:

    I’ve not tried Audiobooks yet as I had really thought about them as a way around my reading difficulties, but, my goodness, this sounds like a book I need right now.

  26. Barrie Williams says:

    Sorry, I meant *had not really thought*

  27. liisa says:

    liisa is having a relapse & is unable to type using the keyboard. Please excuse her present minimal to non-existent communication. She sends love, as always.

  28. Charlotte says:

    It’s very difficult for me to read or comprehend print since I got ill. I rely on audiobooks very heavily and would love to have a copy of “How To Be Sick” to listen to.

  29. Karen Goode says:

    I’ve wanted to try audiobooks since it became very difficult for me to read but kept pushing myself to read printed books like an overachiever! Thank you for this giveaway, your wonderful blog, and hope to see you on Saturday?!

  30. Marci Chala says:

    I have not tried audiobooks but I would like to try them.

  31. Lisa Tait says:

    I have yet to try an audiobook, but am excited to try one!
    One of the more frustrating and scary symptoms I’ve been dealing with as a CRPSer (aka RSD), is that sometimes my eyes will blur as though I have something on my eye clouding it, blurring my vision, but there will be nothing there.
    Sometimes one eye is pretty focussed while the other is completely blurry! Reading is impossible during these times… Which is incredibly sad for me as reading has been a joy, learning experience and comfort to me since I was 3 years old.
    I have been longing to read/hear How to Be Sick, anyway, so this is the perfect combination!

    Plus, I was able to come to a new blog today, which is always neat. Thanks!

  32. Nancy Lanzalotto says:

    After 13 years of co-existing with ME/CFS, I’ve lost a lot of my ability to read for any length of time. More than a page or two, and I must put the book down. I keep it by my bedside. It continually gives me a refreshing and different perspective and way of accepting (not resignation) in coping. I can only imagine how soothing the Audiobook would be to integrate into my sick brain. I feel comforted at the thought of hunkering down in my pillows, blankets, bed and doggie and listening to Toni’s words.

  33. Susan says:

    I love audiobooks. My brain still thinks it’s a very complicated deal to download from So I either have a smart friend do it for me (bless her!) or I reserve MP3 discs or old-fashioned audio CDs at my public library. I have recommended “How To Be Sick” as a print book and Toni’s essays for Psychology Today to many people.

  34. Marianne says:

    I have never tried an audiobook. I think it will be very helpfull to listen to this book. After 12 year of sickness i still need suport for coping this disease. I hope it will make myself stronger.

  35. Liz says:

    Audiobooks were staples when I was a kid for long car rides. Haven’t listened to one in a long time!

  36. Della B says:

    I would love to try an audiobook. Thank you so much

  37. Linda Ferriter says:

    I love audiobooks but only wish they knew when you fall asleep so they could switch off.
    Have taken to putting my iPad on timer for one hour so at least will not be too far ahead in the story. Although did listen to one and suddenly wondered – when did that character get married !
    It is essential to have a good reader though as too monotonous is hard to cope with as is too too expressive. I do get some books from talking books for the blind because of having fibromyalgia – find books themselves too tiring to hold and once tore a book in half to make it less heavy.
    Sometimes I choose a book because of the reader rather than the author. May sound odd but have been completely put off some books because of the reader. I love Toni’s book How to Be Sick and would be so happy to have it as an audiobook. Best wishes and gentle hugs Linda Ferriter

  38. Robin Jordan says:

    Since getting Fibro/CFS I have a hard time retaining what I read. I think that audio books may be something that would work better for me. I would love to find out!

  39. Michele Johnson says:

    I would love to get a copy . Audio books are wonderful for many reasons . Sometimes I find with my pain condition it is very difficult to read & focus on what I’m reading . Audio would be wonderful at these times .

  40. Cheryl L says:

    I’ve gotten to the point where I can no longer read books although I’ve always been a very avid reader and have a bookcase full of books. This would be great for me to get started using audio books. I was diagnosed with ME/CFS, FM and MCS by Daniel Peterson 3/1994. I continually got worse and had to finally leave my job 10/1996. I’ve gotten extremely worse and a stressful, dysfunctional family situation has put me into a very serious situation. I’m pretty much bedridden these days with only my cat for company. People just don’t want to deal with sick people, they don’t care, don’t want to understand, when what we need is the support of others. Thank God for the support of friends who also have these debilitating conditions.

  41. Rochelle Johnston says:

    What a good idea, I use to love to write and read, but have waved good bye to both so great idea!!! a prompt on ” How to do this” u know what I mean if u have ME some times positive and sometimes and over whelming loss, so something new , auido! bring it on!!! xxx

  42. nancy jones says:

    I would rather listen to an audio book as I have so much trouble with my vision. They can’t seem to get my bifocals adjusted correctly since my close uvision started messing up. Reading is almost impossible from 30 years plus of working on computers.

  43. Valorie Snider says:

    Hello, I have lots of Kindle and printed books, but no audio. Would be awesome to just listen. Fibro fighter 7 years. Thank you for all you do.

  44. Michelle Cassar says:

    Audiobooks are for “reading” when I’m not feeling well – there’s something very comforting in being read to!

  45. I haven’t listened to an audio book in a while, but in the past when I had to drive long distances to work I always listened to audio books. I love that I can listen to something that I may not always have the patience to read through, like a lengthy classic. I’m glad Toni’s book is now available in audio form! For many people who can’t read due to their health this is THE kind of book they should be able to get their hands on in some form.

  46. Valerie Free says:

    Hi. This is a wonderful opportunity. I’m in.

  47. Ruthann Auten says:

    I enjoy listening to books while I am in the car. Car rides are very uncomfortable for me and listening to a book is a great distraction. If I listen to music it makes me want to sing and that is a major energy drain.

  48. Sharon jameson says:

    My ME is getting worse after 9 years so to be able to view this book in some form would be helpful.

  49. suzi Campbell says:

    Yes I have tried audio books in the past & found them really helpful & enjoyable.
    I have spent many years unable to read books as holding them up have aggravated my neck & shoulders. Have just started going to the library again to find light weight novels I can hold. I am enjoying being able to read novels again but haven’t broached non-fiction books as yet.
    Our local ME/CFS/FM group has gone into resting mode over winter due to lack of funds & energy…
    I am currently holding a small database to re-start in the future. In the mean-time it would be fabulous to have a talking book to offer through the database to those folk who could really utilise Toni’s audiobook.

  50. Linda Rolf says:

    I almost always listen rather than read. Love, love, love Audible!

  51. Tania Corbo says:

    Must be honest and say I’ve never tried audible books. I guess I will not win. But, I can see the benefits of having this book as an audible because of the subject matter it deals with. Aside from personal use and after listening to it, I would evaluate it for use with patients who are receptive to it. May the person who wins benefit..

  52. I began listening to audiobooks as a way to hear the book spoken by the author, with their own emphasis and intonation and voice. I find that, like listening to recorded dharma talks, it frees me to flow with the thoughts a bit more.

  53. Diane says:

    I would love an audio copy. Thanks also for your informative blog. It is always full of up to date information, research and good ideas. Keep up the good work.

  54. Holly says:

    I have not tried audio books before. I LOVE to read and for a few years after I first got sick I grieved that loss. I could not hold up a book. I could not absorb the information in a book the way I seemed to before I was sick. I can read some books again thanks to things like kindle. I admit a lot of what I read is not college textbook level reading but it is usually a nice break from reality. 🙂 I would like to try audio format to see how well I I can do with it. Thanks for a fun contest!

  55. Kathy says:

    I realize this drawing is over, but I must say what a great idea to offer this positive approach to uniting those of us challenged with CFIDS, or as stated, other health issues. Thank you 🙂 I am encouraged by reading my “friends” entries!

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