Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's Not My Fault

This post is sort of a companion post to 'Permission Not To', which I wrote 3 weeks ago.  That post was about giving myself permission to take care of my own needs rather than take care of other tasks.  The title of this post, 'It's Not My Fault' sounds like I am trying to shirk my responsibility.  I'm not, because it really isn't my fault, and it isn't yours, either, so quit blaming yourself.  I am talking about our illnesses.
All too often I read blogs or emails, or hear comments such as "I was too tired to do anything after work yesterday, I went right to bed. I am worthless to my family."  Or "I wasted the whole day in bed yesterday because the pain was so bad. I didn't get any housecleaning done.  It is a wonder my husband puts up with me."  Statements like these are blaming the victim (aarrggghhhh!  I hate that word!)  Both these examples could be made by people with chronic illness or pain, and both blame themselves for the results of having that illness or pain. 
I know for a fact that I did not raise my hand and ask to be given Sjogren's Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, etc, and I am going to guess you did not ask for whatever you have, either.  It is unclear for many illnesses why some of us are so blessed, but it is often not anything we did.  Likewise, the symptoms are not something we asked for, or caused by anything we did.  Extending that to the next step, the results of those symptoms are not something we asked for or anything we did.  If you can't do something because or pain, fatigue, or other symptoms of your illness, you are not to blame.  It is true that maybe you could manage your time or energy differently, but frequently, it would not have made a difference. 
Take yesterday, for example.  I woke up tired.  I spent the whole day in a fog.  I had alot of things that I needed and wanted to get done, but accomplished very little.  I could beat myself up over that.  After all, that puts more of a burden on me to get things done today.  But I won't beat myself up, because I didn't ask to wake up in a fatigue fog.  I got enough sleep, it just happened.  It's part of the package of who I am.  Getting upset about days like that won't make them go away, it would just make them more miserable.  I would rather go with the flow, and just accept them, and remind myself that I did the best I could.

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