The Problem That Comes With Thinking of Our Health Problems as 'Unfair'
Sometimes, we don’t know what to say to someone who is facing immensely challenging obstacles, like a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed with it in 2016, after a lung collapse that nearly took my life. I got lucky. Really lucky. And then the pain diagnosis came a year later and didn’t feel so lucky.
Around the time of the diagnosis, I worked with this masseuse (whom I’ll never go to again) that asked me about my health – and yes, my medical records are full and colorful. I have more than one health condition. Some have existed since birth, others have sprung upon me in the last year. Regardless, when I get a diagnosis, I make sure to keep my mental health sharp and in the right place. Then, the masseuse said, “What you go through is unfair.”
And the room fell silent.
At the time, I was in the depths of a depression, struggling to cope with the fact that chronic pain will always be apart of my daily life. I was still in the headspace of thinking, “Is this really happening? Really? On top of a genetic syndrome (22Q11.2 deletion syndrome), I have chronic pain now?” Well, numerous other diagnoses came my way as well, ones that I wouldn’t wish upon anybody else. I could be bitter. Angry. Throwing temper tantrums like a two-year-old. But, when this person bluntly and ignorantly said, “What you go through is unfair,” I said, “Excuse me? What I have gone through, I’m hoping, encourages others who are going through things, too.”
If our mindsets were continuously wired to think this way when something displeasing or tough happens in our lives, saying that it’s unfair only exacerbates the matter or situation you’re in.
When I get a diagnosis, if I kept thinking, “My life is unfair, what I go through is unfair!”…Well, I wouldn’t have the business I’d always dreamed of having, using my talents to make others feel their best, and I wouldn’t have been open to learning more, growing more or giving more. None of that. I’d just be bitter, spewing nonsense into the air to spite everyone who crossed my path or wronged me. That is not a way to live.
If I kept thinking that life is about “fairness,” I’d rob myself of personal growth. No one necessarily wants to receive new news about their health. A diagnosis to me, however, means a second chance at doing something different, changing my lifestyle, learning other things about diet, nutrition, the power of homeopathy, and ways to build a life you’re proud of and love. My mindset has always been, “OK, I have health issues. I have a new diagnosis, but I also have gifts, talents, a business as a seamstress and obligations to others.”
Life isn’t about fairness. We don’t get to pick and choose the cards we’re dealt. How you think about yourself, your life, and your capabilities while choosing not to dwell on the hardships and challenges makes an impact. And while there are some days I am down and others I am up, in each moment, I take advantage of the time I’ve got to accomplish goals, do something productive, or help someone else. I don’t linger in this “poor me, my life is unfair” mindset. Perhaps people think I do or others perceive things about me that are false. I can’t control that. I don’t wallow in the burdens or blunders of yesterday or the fears of the unknown of tomorrow.
We all experience hardships, obstacles and trials. It’s all about how you manage and respond to those challenging situations. And, yes, I do go through a lot. But there is nobody else I’d rather be other than myself because I was gifted the opportunity to live off of my obsessions – sewing and writing. It doesn’t have to be black or white, light or dark, fair or unfair. Things are the way they are for a reason. Living is about growing, expanding, and enjoying all the colors, shapes, experiences and beautiful things life has to offer.
Getty Image by Vagengeym_Elena