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When My Daughter Asked Why She Got the ‘Bad Stuff’

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“Mom, I got all the bad stuff, and Mackenzie didn’t get any of it. Why did I have to get those things and not her?” My daughter Talee has asked this question many times over the years. It broke my heart when she compared herself to her sister.

Talee would say, “Listen to all the bad things I have: Anxiety and panic attacks. Asthma when I play sports. I had to go to speech therapy to learn to say my R’s and L’s. I faint or throw up when I get shots or see blood. I have allergies and have to put spray in my nose almost every day. I tore my ACL playing basketball and had surgery. I had braces and Mackenzie didn’t. All Mackenzie ever had was a little acid reflux and she just couldn’t drink orange juice for a month. That’s not fair.”

I wondered what to say to her. She had a point. It didn’t seem fair.

I told her that if I could, I’d take it all away. I tried to stay positive and reminded Talee of the good traits she inherited. She’s super logical. She’s smart. She has a lot of patience. She’s very compassionate. She’s always had a big circle of friends. She’s beautiful, inside and out. She’s confident, happy and loves life, despite her challenges. Maybe because of them.

The other day, Talee and I spent a fun day together. It was jam-packed with doctor and dentist appointments, and lots of shopping for home items. She’s moving into a new house in September, and will be starting her third year of college.

The conversation came up again during lunch on our shopping day. We talked about how often she used to ask why she got all the bad stuff.  She laughed a little and said, “But Mom, it’s true! Why did I?”

Now that she’s older, she realizes I don’t have the answer.

Talee was forced to face her difficulties at a young age. She’s figured out the best ways to handle them. She’s learned she must lie down when getting a shot, so she won’t pass out. She turns away when she sees blood. If she feels a panic attack coming on (which is very rare), she can control it.

I’d love to say Talee has outgrown all of her problems. But as those with anxiety or other mental illnesses know, they don’t completely disappear. I’m aware of that firsthand, as I’ve dealt with panic attacks since I was a child. I rarely feel panicky anymore. But I can’t say that I will never have a panic attack again. The fear of it is still there, lurking deep inside  my subconscious.

As mature and confident as Talee is now, I can still picture my little girl looking up at me with her big, blue eyes, wanting to know why she got all the bad stuff.

All I could think was, I’m sorry.

Follow this journey on Peace From Panic.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us one thing your loved ones might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. What would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: February 3, 2016
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