It seems that people like to lay blame when they don’t have a full understanding of something. They tend to seek an explanation and when they can’t, then decide it must be someone’s fault. I have a feeling that those who deem themselves healthy think they mean well when they offer certain advice, but what it really ends up sounding like is blame.
I thought this was perhaps a situation of just being sensitive — until it kept coming up in various support groups. People expressing that they were having a bad day and those around them telling them how they must have done something wrong, or aren’t doing enough of a certain thing, which caused such a calamity of a disease like lupus to invade our bodies.
“Maybe the way you were eating caused your issues.” “You should have exercised more.” “Maybe you should start going to the gym.” Those are all standard comments. But my favorite is “Maybe your walk with God was not as close as it should have been.” Wait a minute. Did you seriously just say that God gave me a disease because I wasn’t as close to Him as I should be? Based on whose judgment?
It has become entertaining to see what people will come up with as to why this disease is a part of not just my life, but the lives of so many. According to The Lupus Foundation of America, this disease affects 1.5 million Americans and approximately 5 million people worldwide, so apparently we all have made our higher power really angry and we lack an exercise regimen. I hardly think so.
Blame for the unknown
I am very certain that when people state things like this, they are more or less hoping to calm the idea that this could happen to them. They are not necessarily looking to make the person who is suffering feel bad as much as they are looking to make themselves feel better. We all would like to think this could never happen to us, but the fact that there is no known cause for this disease makes it scary.
There is no way to determine who will be next. There are studies being conducted that may say there are familial connections, but in my case none of my close family members have this disease. My case supposedly was stress-induced. Who isn’t carrying some amount of stress, leading it, yet again, to be considered something others would like to deny. “Oh, it couldn’t be that simple. Surely you must have done some bad things in your life that caused you to be visited upon by this disease.”
I am learning to take with a grain of salt what others think of this disease. The best any of us who are battling can do is speak out and bring awareness so people will learn how it affects us, how to deal with us and what the symptoms are, just in case one day they learn firsthand that what we ate, how much we exercised or who we spent our time with had no bearing on our diagnosis.
Those of you who are battling lupus, please remember that people mean well. They don’t intend to be insulting or fault you. They really are doing their best to apply reason to a place where reason does not work. We all want to think there is an explanation for everything, when the reality is that sometimes things happen that are completely out of our control, without any rhyme or reason.
Remember that stress is a trigger that can cause a flare, and stressing about what someone thinks of why someone has lupus won’t change that you are a warrior. Nothing you did caused it, however, things you do now can indeed create a trigger.
Don’t allow people who have no real idea of what this disease is all about to wear you down. Offer some knowledge to those willing to learn and smile, and stay away from those who think they know it all and cannot be taught.
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.