Tuesday, July 12, 2011
How NOT to Treat Yourself When Chronic Illness Strikes
"It took an intense moment of physical and mental suffering for me to finally let go of blaming myself for having become chronically ill"
* * *
There are too many twelve-steppers in today's society, who've been told that they need to take responsibility for everything that happens, which has resulted in the concept of "accidents happen" disappearing.
But in some cases, the attempt to force someone to take responsibility reaches absurd heights. One of my closest friends went to her long-time doctor, who in a moment of forgetfulness prescribed something she's allergic to, resulting in a stroke and, eventually, death. I have had people tell me that I need to take responsibility for my friend's death because I could have told this intelligent woman to drop her doctor (who had no prior malpractice lawsuits), because I didn't call her immediately after the appointment to find out what he prescribed so that I could look it up and tell her not to take it, because I wasn't riding in the car with them to give her CPR en route to the ER, etc., etc., etc.
There are people at fault for her death -- the doctor and pharmacist who both missed that this drug should not be given to someone with that allergy -- but I refuse to accept that I had any responsibility in this -- I was 30 miles away when it happened.
Similarly, I've been told I got sick because I ate too much junk food (I ate mostly baked chicken and fresh vegetables), had a sedentary job (but I exercised daily), had bad health habits (ummm, I've never smoked, gave up coffee in the 1970s, rarely drink, don't do drugs....), or just plain didn't pray hard enough to be healed. Entire churches and a friend's whole convent were praying for me; I don't think it's a matter of God hasn't heard about my condition, but that He has his reasons for not curing me. And I'm not going to take responsibility for something so clearly beyond my control.