Sometimes it gets very easy to fall into the “Why Me”s.
Why do I have this <insert what this is>?
Why do my kids have to fight <whatever it is they are fighting>?
What did I/We/You do to deserve this?
I’ve been fighting that an awful lot the last… probably month now.
I “read” <thank you audio books> Gorge. It’s really a good book. I’m looking forward to reading the next one she wrote. It’s a really well written, first person book about being a very large woman climbing Kilimanjaro for the third time. When we went to South Africa, I thought how awesome it would be to climb the mountain. Right up until I remembered the horrible headache I got driving in the Rockies. I will never climb the mountain. But I love to read about it. And I have my own mountains.
But the book got me thinking how people look at me and how fat I think I am. It’s not just body image. I weigh way too much. It doesn’t matter if I can finish a half marathon or I can bike 46 miles in a day, fat implies not fit and I know how people have to be looking at me. Depending on the day sometimes it bothers me more than at other times.
Days like today and like Sunday, I get very angry and frustrated with RA and ask… Why Me. Sunday I felt absolutely incredible for the first 2/3 of the 30 mile bike ride. That was even more surprising given that tomorrow is my infusion. I should have felt worse (logically) from the get go and I didn’t. By the time we stopped for breakfast (mine… Yogurt and lemonade) I was feeling proud of myself and I was feeling healthy. Half an hour later I crashed and burned. I felt horrible and continued to feel horrible for the remainder of the ride. I even woosed out and couldn’t take a side ride with Larry. I had to stop and wait while he rode on ahead and I got to look at the videos later. I stood and rested… and cried because I hate RA and I felt very much like a failure.
No, I’m not a failure. No, 30 miles is no slouch ride. Yes, I’m 90% sure (given that Saturday custard caused similar crash and burn during a hot humid day) that dairy isn’t something I need to be ‘doing’ on hot humid days. I think it triggers my body to be pissed off.
Saturday I was very proud of myself. I got into jeans that I haven’t been able to get into for forever. They made me feel really good.
I’ve been finding myself beating myself up lately because Adam has POTS and Amandya has gastroperisis, and there is nothing I can do to change that. Worse, in the past few days it’s been becoming apparent that there is a good chance that both conditions could potentially be tied to Sjogrens. Sjogrens is autoimmune. Autoimmune can have inherited pieces. Mommy guilt sends me into beating myself up. Logical? No. But guilt rarely is logical.
And then… there is this…
I can help my kids. I can help them because I understand. I can help them because I’m the mom and I understand.
And then I stop and think and remember… and I work at remembering…
I don’t hide my RA. I talk about it. I write about it (duh). I read about it. That means that friends and co-workers know that, if they have a question or they are newly diagnosed I can answer questions… provide support… understand when they vent.
I (this one kind of makes me shake my head every time I hear it… but I mentally thank Kim every time she says it) can be motivation and hope for people who are like me. I guess I think of it differently. I think that… if people like me (somehow this is always the phrase that runs through my head… people like me… people like me… people like me) can do <whatever> anyone must be able to do it.
Logically, that isn’t true. But logical, again, doesn’t quite measure up.
This morning something I posted while thinking Why Me/Why my babies I triggered someone to think about something and was the impetus to have her talking to a doctor to think maybe she has Sjogrens and maybe in the end she will feel better and will stop her body from beating up on itself.
So… Right now… I’m thinking…
Maybe Why Me isn’t what I should be thinking.
Maybe it should be… Why Not Me…
Author: April Wells
Updated August 18, 2015
Hi! I popped over to check out your blog, after noticing you’d subscribed to mine.
Wow, what a powerful post this is! I know lots of people with chronic illness struggle with the “why me?” question. But really, “why not me?” is a far better question.
You’re never going to get an answer to “why me?”… it’s not like you’re going to open a fortune cookie one day, and it’s going to say, “By the way, the reason it’s YOU in particular with this particular life struggle is *xyz*” (giving you permission to go “Ohhhh! That totally makes sense” and get some closure).
Instead, it’s better to just accept that it just IS. It totally sucks, but it just is. And then get on with living your life, the best you can.
I know Mummy guilt (or “Mommy” guilt for you) isn’t a logical thing. But I just wanted you to know what it feels like to be on the other side. The child’s side.
My Mum is sick, and there’s definitely some genetic component that’s been passed down to me and my two younger sisters (it skipped my brother – the dodgy genes seem to favor females). Never, ever, in my entire life have I been upset with my Mum about this. And I’m sure your kids are the same. Without her carrying me around inside of her belly for 9months, and then 36 grueling hours of labor, I wouldn’t even BE here. So who cares about some dodgy genes!
Did she choose this for me? No way. No one’s mother would choose chronic illness for their child. But she supports me through it, and her understanding and empathy has made a whole world of difference.
Reflections Of A Bear
Thank you for your wonderful response, Sarah. I know my kids don’t blame me, any more than I blame mine or the generations before. Sometimes watching my 23 year old rely on a can and KNOWING how he’s feeling is really hard.
And he still smiles and uses his unique sense of humor to lighten the mood. 🙂
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It is hard, isn’t it. Knowing how someone else feels means that you feel their pain as well as your own. It’s a big burden. Don’t be afraid to share it with others. It helps to know you’re not alone ❤