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Do You Think You Developed MS for a Reason?

Many people believe that no event in life is random. Something made it happen. God, for one. Karma is popular, too. God and karma share a common attractive element that addresses our fears: punishment. Take disease, for example. That guy abused himself with drugs and alcohol and that’s why he has hepatitis now. Serves him right. She was a smoker, what did she expect? She deserves to suffer with lung cancer. No sympathy here.

When others judge people with MS

Multiple sclerosis isn’t spared such judgments, either. You drink diet soda? Artificial sweeteners cause MS. You were a smoker, which causes MS. You brought it on yourself. No sympathy here.

These glib, myth-bound judgments are as pat as having invited the wrath of a vengeful force–and just as flimsy. The effect—sickness—directly proves the cause—a previous behavior. Whether you took a synthetic substance like saccharin or acted out a perceived moral transgression like laughing during a funeral, you don’t get a pass. Somebody’s making a list and checking it twice. When we’re kids, it’s Santa. After we grow up, it’s Margaret Hamilton. Instead of a lump of coal in your stocking, you could get life in eternal hellfire.

Isn’t being a grown-up hard enough?

Childhood is no dress rehearsal for adulthood. We are poorly prepared for it. Thankfully, our protracted childhood is where ideals are nurtured. Learning is done in an environment devoid of ringing phones and constant interruptions. But kids get the erroneous impression that the adult world will let them wear earphones and work out one problem at a time. I’ve never seen cubicles in a study hall, but I worked in cube culture for many years in my adult life. I had to concentrate on a problem while fielding phone calls, dealing with in-person requests, and listening to somebody talking loudly on the phone in the next cube. I had to watch every word out of my mouth since the whole room would hear and spin it in a thousand different ways— none of them positive. Backstabbing is power beyond your wildest dreams and broadly-flung punishment is your currency. I’ll get you, my pretty—and your little dog, too.

There are two kinds of people: those who keep score and those who would rather focus on playing the game. All I ever wanted to do was get my chance at bat. Developing MS didn’t keep me from wanting to do that. It just made the game a little harder. Instead of a bat, now I have to hit the ball with a cod fillet. Frustrating but not impossible. The kicker is that nobody can see the fish in my hand. I’m clever enough to make it look like a bat. It isn’t that hard, though. People don’t pay close attention.

The real reasons

I do believe I developed MS for a reason. Or more accurately, reasons.

  1. Genetic markers I was born with.
  2. Being born in and continuing to live in a cold climate.
  3. Exposure to environmental triggers such as viruses.

The resilience of the human spirit

Interpreting sickness as being some kind of punishment for perceived bad behavior is missing some important facts about the human spirit. One person’s punishment is another person’s pleasure, for one. But my favorite thought is that a lot of people blossom and become their best selves when challenged with adversity of all kinds. I happily count myself as one of those lucky souls.

Bring it on, I say. I’ve experienced job loss and found a way to thrive. I was abandoned several times and now thrive happily alone. I’ve been threatened with boredom but have yet to feel it. My passion for life defies reason. It just is.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • sevensix
    1 year ago

    I’ll hang my hat on genetic markers for sure. My late mother’s side had every nervous condition known to mankind and them some. Thanks a lot.

  • Shelley D.
    1 year ago

    Thank you for this article, Kim! Despite the 3 triggers you listed that I’ve read many times “may” contribute to a person developing MS, I still tend to berate myself. I recently came across a quote I keep with me to remind myself: “God doesn’t give us what we can handle, He helps us handle what we are given.” Despite my nature, I’m currently re-programming my thinking to “become my best self.” I appreciate your boost! 🙂

  • Kim Dolce moderator author
    1 year ago

    I’d be curious how you would apply the God-given handling to suicides, murder-suicides, and severe mental breakdowns. I would hope the answer is not “they didn’t have enough faith.” We’d be right back to blaming the victim again.Thanks for your comment.

  • JimmyMac
    1 year ago

    Kim, I really appreciate your perspective. Catholic dogma strictly prohibits suicide. In fact I was taught Judas didn’t go to hell because he gave up Jesus but instead because he hung himself but I don’t think that was at all your point. I think your point is rather intriguing as I interrupted it. I think humans will never know why “bad” things happen. I would argue what is considered “bad” is simply a matter of perspective. I really struggled with “bad” stuff happening to me because I didn’t have enough faith but if I “lost” that means someone “won” but I don’t think those outcomes depend on faith which, to me, just helps one determine what’s important in life which I gathered is what’s your article meant to convey. I think the greatest thing about life is how much we don’t know and if someone chooses to believe something is the “right” way, who are we right? I think you are a really good writer.

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