Many times, I’ve been asked about why I think that I developed chronic illness. Others have offered their diverse theories, even when such feedback was actually not solicited.
It seems that we crave an explanation for why horrendously difficult experiences take place in our lives. We try to make sense out of the sheer madness of becoming seriously ill, at a young age, with no possible cure for such a condition.
If we can define a 1:1 correspondence between our beliefs and their outcomes, or between our behaviors and their consequences, we are automatically covered by the umbrella of believing that we reside in an entirely predictable universe.
Such notions of complete protection were forcibly stripped when I experienced my first major MS exacerbation, at age 29. I rapidly lost all feeling below the waste, tears angrily streaming down my face as I stumbled when trying to walk just a few feet.
Just one short year prior, I had been joyfully running, for several miles per day. I now knew, without a doubt, that absolutely everything you take for granted can be taken away.
Your consent is not required. Of course, I seriously questioned why such an ugly turn of events needed to disrupt my life. After all, I had plans to finish, places to go, and people to meet.
Developing an unpredictable chronic illness didn’t mesh with my agenda. Over time, I experienced multiple additional MS exacerbations; each attack was characterized by a unique combination of symptoms.
I began to interact with other men and women who had also received the very same diagnosis. I realized that they, too, had plans to finish, places to go, and people to meet.
I was not so special that my life couldn’t be radically altered by becoming chronically ill. We’d become joint members of a club no one ever volunteers to join.