It's Not Because I'm Naughty...
I think all of us at one time or another in life wonder why we are faced with certain ailments and problems. Sometimes things happen we just cannot understand. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a physical problem/illness, an acute pain or relational difficulties, these things we face seem cruel and unfair. It’s true, it seems like bad things happen to good people. No, I’m not perfect in any sense, but I strive daily to be the best person that I can be. And, throughout my life, I have wondered, why me? No one in my family history has MS, I had barely even heard of it, yet here I was being diagnosed. It was a real slap in the face. I rely a lot on my faith, and have even questioned God at times. It does bother me that people-even me-seem to suffer undeserving circumstances throughout life.
Why was I chosen for this?
I am a very compassionate, empathetic person. I love hard and I’m a good listener. I do my best to help whenever I can, be polite, considerate and kind to others and their feelings. I try not to complain, and I’m loyal to people, even those who have hurt me. I don’t ask for a lot, because in my opinion, I’ve been given a great life. But, that life came with its own set of hardships and one of those was being diagnosed with MS at 14. I was raised in a good home; I made good grades and was kind, why was I chosen for this? As Christmas season is upon us it reminds me a lot of Santa giving the stocking full of coal. I didn’t do anything horrible growing up, I was an overall pretty great kid, but here I was being handed the stocking full of coal for no good reason. I wasn’t on the naughty list, why was I deserving of something so life-altering?
There isn’t always a clear answer
Over the years of questioning, I’ve learned the obvious-there isn’t always a clear answer as to why some things happen. Unfortunately, they just do. It’s a lot like when you are sick or hurting, but you can’t figure out why. You know something is wrong, but not knowing exactly the cause gives us anxiety. When the pain is explained, and we know why it is happening, then suddenly it doesn’t seem as bad anymore. Now that there is an explanation, the pain is still there, but somehow it seems more tolerable. If we could make sense of all tragedy like this, it would be easier to rationalize it. We wouldn’t have as many questions as to why, and we could move on. I had some answers after diagnosis, but it still didn’t explain why I was given a generally hereditary disease when no one in my family had faced it. It was confusing and especially difficult because it was new to everyone. All of my loved ones gathered around me to step into a foreign territory and help me find the right path. And then one day, I realized; it wasn't anything I did, there isn't a clear answer as to why, but this is my life now.
I needed to redirect my life
So, I decided after all of those years of questioning to stop…to stop asking questions I knew I would probably never find answers to. Instead, I decided to take my source of anger and anxiety and turn it into something good. I needed to redirect my life and turn what I was dealt with into something useful. Suffering will always exist, we all suffer. But after years of watching people and mere strangers turn their suffering into something bigger, like helping others go through something similar I decided it was time I took action. That is ultimately when I decided to reach out and share my story. I longed to help teenagers much like myself at diagnosis and even adults diagnosed with MS unexpectedly. We are all different in our experiences with MS, but I do believe we all have one common goal-to fight this and to one day find a cure. No one deserves illness, no one deserves pain. Obviously no one with life changing diagnosis would have deliberately chosen that for their life. Most of all, none of us have done anything to deserve this. It just happened, but together we can lean on each other to help get through the questions and the confusion. With a little help and support, we can get through this crazy life, even when the bad times surface. Life happens. Bad things happen. But, we have the final decision in how we choose to deal with things. Things that happen may not have a rational explanation, but we have the power in our hands to allow it to tear us down or choose to turn it into something good. I hope to daily turn that stocking full of coal I was given into gifts every day!
The holiday season is among us and can be so stressful! Do you experience more flares during this season?