(Image from We Heart It)
There are always articles about people who are dealing with an illness who say they never think of the question “Why Me?”.
I don’t buy that!
“Why?” is one of our favourite questions. We are curious creatures. We ask because we want to learn and understand.
I think it’s only natural to ask the question. We tend to not ask the question that often when things are going well in our lives. It is in our darker moments we will ask “Why me?”. It may, at times, even come out as “woe is me”. We all know we have our up-and-down days. Days when we are stressed, sick, in pain, angry and depressed because it seems there is only so much that can be done to help us, or worse, nothing that can be done to help us.
And when we feel at our loneliest, when we are struggling with the complexities of being worn down by our illness, it sometimes feels like we’ve been sent into some sort of chronic illness exile but we don’t know why.
But, equally important when we are living with a chronic illness, is the medically curious question “Why me?“. What is it about me that made me sick? Was there something or someplace that I could have avoided? Is it genetic? What about viruses? Environmental? Did I not eat enough dirt as a kid and develop an immunity?
The list can go on and on. So can the emotional upheaval if we think asking why is a bad thing to do.
I think asking “Why me?” is a legitimate question to ask. To ask “why” is to acknowledge what is happening to you and to seek some understanding of what is happening. Scientists ask the question all the time. And we are all our own scientists. We know how we are feeling, we know when something “just isn’t right”, we know when we’ll have a good or bad day. We know this because we ask the question, pay attention to what is happening to us and we learn.
We may have people in our lives who think we shouldn’t ask the question, not to torture ourselves. They mean well. They don’t want to see us suffer but by denying what is going on and what we are feeling doesn’t help us. It only hurts us. Ignorance may be bliss in some situations, but not ours.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s because people are afraid. Afraid of the unknown or, depending on the knowledge of the disease, afraid of the known. What eventually does stick with us is the word “chronic”. It’s not going away. It’s not an acute illness. There is no “band-aid” of some sort that will make us better. Having a chronic illness means that, for many, there will be major adjustments that will be with us for the rest of our lives.
That is why we have to be our best advocate and as our best advocate we have to be as proactive as we can. We have to ask why. We will have barriers put in front of us that we thought would never happen. Friends, family and even our doctors not believing us. Finding out that little is known about a particular disease and that there doesn’t seem to be as much research being done as with other illnesses.
However, we are very lucky. If we can afford the internet, we have access to information and online support that we otherwise may not have or would be hard for us to gain access to. There will be times when we are soaking up information and times when we are on information overload or brain fog kicks in. But, we owe it to ourselves to ask “why” and whatever other questions that will ultimately help us.