When you live with a chronic illness and all its related discomforts, “Why me?” is a question you ask often. Being sick is a personal thing, especially when it feels like you are being punished. If we feel pain and we feel as if we are suffering, then we ask this question.
But we don’t ask it when good things happen. Could you imagine saying, “Why me?” when it comes to happy events in your life? With illness and suffering, we have this tendency to believe that we did something to bring it upon ourselves. Additionally, we want an explanation for our pain and suffering and what we believe (mentally and spiritually) determines the extent of that suffering.
A Personal Example
When I was about nine years old, my mom was walking and was hit by a car. The next six months to a year of our lives involved watching her struggle to regain control of her body and there were times where it took its toll on her. As a kid, I never understood the extent that her pain had on us. She struggled, but she still managed to take care of us, spend time with us, make us meals, clean our home, etc. She did all these things despite her own ordeal, but we still saw the toll it took on her. I wonder if she ever asked “Why me?” Perhaps, she didn’t or maybe I wasn’t listening when she did. And if she did, was she ever able to answer that question? As an adult, I can recall her pain but as a child, I do not recalling asking “Why my mom?”
When I was diagnosed, I wanted to believe I would protect my children from ever knowing the extent of my pain from living and dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Four years later and after a whole lot of soul searching, I know that I cannot even get close to hiding the extent of my suffering from my children. Just like my mother was not able to hide it all those years ago, I am not able to now. However, I just hope my children do not realize my ordeal until they are adults themselves, or hopefully, they never do.
Trying to find out the “Why me?” answer is a never ending quest as I have learned. We can blame stress, genetics, lifestyle, or even God as we try to determine why it is we are suffering. On our own, we must realize that that our suffering has nothing to do us or anything we have done. It has to do with being human and with being alive. To be alive means that we can feel something — even if it is pain and suffering. Suffering offers no discrimination; it does not care about sex, race, religion, age, etc. No one is spared or favored. There is nothing anyone can do to avoid suffering and the only way to live life despite that is to change our beliefs and the questions we are asking.