Wondering about the reasons behind life-changing moments is only natural. It is normal to guess what your part in your eventual fate was, but sometimes things cannot be understood so simply. And that is almost more frustrating than the actual reason behind most things in life.
My myasthenia gravis diagnosis was five years ago, and I cannot count on my two hands how many hours I have wasted thinking about the reason behind falling ill. Initially, I assumed it was my fault, that I did something to my body that directly caused the illness. Upon doing further research, I found out that the exact reason people develop most autoimmune diseases is unknown. So, it could not have been my fault.
It definitely was not caused by getting a nose piercing. Yes, my 20-year-old self really thought that was a viable cause for a chronic illness. Since then, I have realized that when we are desperate, we cling to what we can understand. For me, that manifested as trying to solve what caused my illness.
A year post-diagnosis, after my thymectomy and a myasthenic crisis or two, I fell into a depressive state of mind. I was continuously regressing, and my myasthenia was classified as refractory, meaning it was resistant to mainstream treatments. In my depressive state, I could only think of all the wrong I had done to others in this world — everything from accidentally stealing a pencil from kindergarten to things I wish I had never said. I started blaming myself for falling ill: I must have brought it on myself.
Last year, I finally committed to regularly seeing a psychologist to help me deal with all these overwhelming thoughts and feelings. She helped me to realize that we cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose whether we adapt. We can even choose to think about things positively or to think about things negatively. I’ve learned that although I do not know what caused me to fall ill, I can now find out what triggers my symptom flares, and try to avoid these things.
Now I see my illness as it is — random. I have accepted my life with illness, and a big part of that process was accepting that nothing I did was to blame for developing the disease. I now know that the only way to live with myasthenia gravis is to accept it and embrace the life lessons that come from living with it. The most important thing I have learned is to fight my illness and not myself. Never stop fighting. Life is beautiful.
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