Saturday, May 25, 2013

Alternatives

     Arthritis is really tough. I am sure that I've made that clear through every single post on this blog. When arthritis is tough, we have to be tough in response, or else we will simply drown in the misery of it all. I think one way to be strong is to change our minds. The way we think about things is vital to our overall well-being. It isn't a cure for arthritis; it is not even close. But it does count for something.
      That being said, I would like to use this post to give alternatives to things I often hear people with arthritis say (and things I've said myself). I hope this post helps you to reconsider the way you think about things.

     "Why me?"
     I have talked before on this blog (click here for the link to the post) about this question. A lot of people with chronic illnesses claim to have asked God this question before. I have not. I strongly believe that the better alternative is: "Why not me?" I mean, look at the world a little. There are people much, much more worthy of healthy bodies than me that are sick. I am nothing special. I have yet to find a single reason why I would be any more deserving of health than anyone else. However, I have deeply contemplated why it is that God doesn't heal everyone who cries out to Him for mercy. I will be the first to admit that I have no idea about a lot of those deeper questions.

     "I don't need help."
      We do need help. We all need help. We may not all need physical help. But if you have rheumatoid arthritis, you are going to need help, and when someone offers to assist you, "I don't need help," is never the right response (though I believe it is the response I give most often). I cannot even tell you how many times I've said, "I don't need help," when I actually do. I want to provide two alternatives to this statement, because there are two different situations this statement goes along with. If you actually do not need help, choose a more appreciative and kind form of "I don't need help." Just say something along the lines of, "I'm doing alright on my own right now, but thank you." Or, if you really do need assistance, something as simple as "yes" will do the trick.

      "Physical struggles are much harder than any other struggles people go through."
       I hate this because you really don't know. Unless you've experienced every other non-physical struggle in the world, then you have no right to say this. So the alternative I would choose is: "I find my physical struggles to be more challenging than other struggles I have." No one can argue with that.

     "Optimism is the key."
     I am about to say something that will go against almost every chronic illness blog out there. I do not believe in optimism. I used to. I used to think it was a good idea, and seeing the bright side will be the key to happiness. But you know what? It's really not. I am a realist. Optimism has left me with scars, scars from expectations higher than reality could meet. I think being honest with yourself and coming to terms with things you don't necessarily want to face is a much better strategy. For example, I had to recognize and admit to myself the fact that I am frequently jealous of my peers, especially at school and in my youth group, who are more physically abled than me. That was something I could not begin to improve on until I was able to recognize it, to say, "God, this is not good at all." So my alternative for "Optimism is the key," would have to be "I'm just going to be real."

     "I can't do anything until my arthritis gets better."
     Time for a harsh reality. My arthritis may never get better. It may very well greatly improve in the next few years, months, or even days. There is a good chance that I will go into remission, at least at some point. But I may always be in pain. It may get worse with time. A better alternative for this statement is: "I will do the best I can." Whether my arthritis improves or worsens does not change that God has a plan for me. God is bigger than arthritis and pain and fears. Nothing in the plan He has for me can be altered by the presence or absence of arthritis. 

Love,
Rachel

1 comment:

  1. I never know exactly what to say when I leave a comment because your posts are so deep and I don't what to say that can help you or praise you enough!! Just know that any other kid with any chronic illness who came across your Blog is so lucky to have a place where they know someone who can relate to them will tell the truth about what they feel and offer personal things that help them!!!

    I love you and happy early birthday<33

    Amelia

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Feel free to comment or shoot me an email - thekidwitharthritis@gmail.com I'll try to get back to you either way!