This recent headline news about a 16-year old girl from Cebu, Philippines who was raped, murdered, and skinned by 3 ruthless men brought me back to those moments when I had so many whys for God and the universe. It breaks my heart to hear such news and I cannot help but ask again, why can’t those rapists or murderers be the one to contract cancer, lupus or other terminal diseases instead? That beautiful innocent girl deserved to live and fulfill all her dreams.
Like most of the warriors out there, I’ve also been to a stage of consequential denial. Growing up, I was thought by my dad to always see things with silver lining, however accepting a chronic disease can feel like the opposite, especially at the inception. Why me, when all I wanted is to do good to the society? Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Why can’t it be the ill-willed, the menace or the suicidal chaps? Why can’t it be the bad guys? Questions were endless appearing from every nooks and crannies. I asked these questions to family and friends and they would always tell me that I am special… but I just didn’t see it that way. To my mind I was cursed or punished for something I must have done in the past.
I thought it was unfair. Are we just randomly chosen? Is it by choice, status or circumstance? I desperately wanted answers but my questions lead me to nowhere. Disappointed, I became sullen and morose at some point. Incandescent, [once] I decided to just let my body withers without succoring to any medications. That lasted for months consorted with these resentful yeses. Yes, I used to loathe healthy people and felt envious on their successes. Yes, I used to wish criminals assume my disease. Yes, I used to bleat against the Father and the universe on why perpetual suffering is inflicted to selected few. I cannot help it then. Perhaps, it’s human nature to feel deep sympathy for oneself.
Until I got tired asking questions. I gave myself a breathing space from the hustle and bustle of self-pressure and anxiety. It’s like giving myself a consent to stop fighting against reality and just deal with it head on. It was never easy, but I knew it was necessary to move forward. Surprisingly as I went along, I have slowly learned to accept my fate with a light heart. At times, some rhetorical questions would bud out randomly but I no longer compel any answer… just because I already unboxed the gift that comes with my Lupus – a chronic disease with a purpose…
- to give hope and courage to those who are troubled
- to be more compassionate and sensitive to those who are also suffering
- to never judge and condemn anyone from lapses or mistakes
- to forgive any transgressions
- to love… just love and keep on loving no matter what
They are right. I am a very special chic – scarred, pained and broken but is still fighting exquisitely going after her dreams. As what my best friend Mo would always tell me, “we have to be like a nail which has to be driven hard into a wall to support weight, and that resistance to which the nail experiences while being driven gives its strength to carry a big load”. Lupus hit me too hard. However, the act of hammering formed my character to become a better person, a better version of my very self.
Below are some insights that might help you while coping up with any disease, malaise or uncertainty.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Accepting a disease is not a birthday present you’ll happily unboxed. Feel free to cry, shout, ask questions, disturb a friend or write a letter to God or the universe. Vent it all out. The journey will slowly help you cope up and discover your purpose.
- Be patient. Suicide is never an option. This whole thing is a process and it takes time. Allow yourself to be hammered first. It’s normal to overdo some of our actions at some point but inflicting harm to oneself is never a solution. That’s called being selfish. Instead, deal with the situation head on.
- Allow yourself to get help. Go for that routine visit with your physician. Take your medications religiously. Exercise regularly. Talk with your circles.
- Don’t feel envious if someone is healthier or better than you. That person may not have challenges on his health but is struggling on other things – debts, broken family, fiasco marriage, sudden death of family members or etc.
- Share your struggle and how you found your purpose because who knows you could save someone out there. Real stories are a source of inspiration.
We all have our struggles but I hope you won’t give up even if everything seems to fall apart. Life is boring without echoes of cries and aches. If you feel like giving up, just remember that 16-year old who was not even given a chance to live her adventure.
You are a very special fellow as well. Take your chances. Live your adventure. Live it well.