Am I Jealous of Someone Else’s Diagnosis or Angry With Scleroderma?
I hate admitting that I often find myself trapped by jealousy. It makes me feel like I have a rotten core. Do all good people have these thoughts? Or am I an imposter failing to be the genuinely good person I aspire to be?
An inspiring story filled me with envy.
My husband and I sat side by side on the couch enjoying a football game, a typical Sunday in our home. The announcers turned our attention to the quarterback’s wife, briefly mentioning her inspiring recovery from brain surgery to eliminate a tumor. I’m a sucker for happy endings and overcoming disease, so naturally, I grabbed my phone and began searching for more about her story.
I read every article I could find. They all said the same thing: They found the tumor, she had the surgery, and then spent the next year recovering and regaining her strength. Her surgery was less than two years ago, and there she was, smiling and crouching down to talk to someone sitting next to her. She was now almost fully recovered and focusing on a healthier future. Her story filled me with jealousy.
I immediately started to question what was wrong with me! Her journey was not easy. I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been. At the time, she was a young mother who had to fight for her survival. I know firsthand how traumatizing it is to have your life hanging in limbo, not knowing if you’ll be around to help your children through adolescence. How could I possibly be jealous? Reading articles online gives me no right to assume I know everything about this stranger’s journey into the depths of hell and back!
Stopping to find out what was really bothering me.
It took me some time to process the unwanted thoughts and figure out where these feelings were coming from. But I knew it was important to unpack them and get to the root of the real issue. I have found that if I don’t analyze these misplaced feelings, they hold me further away from the joyful world I prefer to live in.
I must have asked “Why?” a million times. Thankfully, I unlocked the heavily guarded box that held my true thoughts. I’m not jealous of this beautiful woman who survived a horrific diagnosis. I’m jealous of a battle that could be fought with an end in sight.
Make no mistake, I do not want to trade my diagnosis for one of cancer or any other disease. I simply long for a world in which I can be healthy. I want to be able to get better. I’m not jealous of a cancer diagnosis, I’m just angry that I have scleroderma!
Scleroderma has no cure or treatment options that can fix me. Doctors can only prescribe medicines and procedures to slow or hopefully stop the progression of symptoms. That is where my dark thoughts come from — I just want a chance for a better life free of physical pain, struggles, and uncertainty. I want the chance to win this battle and be healed.
Knowing why we’re upset opens the door for mental healing.
It’s important that I reflect upon those negative feelings, because it allows me to channel that energy in the right direction. It’s clear that I’m still struggling with the idea that things won’t get better. This knowledge lets me focus on overcoming those serious emotions. Maybe I can learn to accept my fate? Or maybe there’s a way to hold on to hope without letting the darkness creep in.
I wish I had these answers. Perhaps I need professional help from someone trained in this field.
Don’t let your negative feelings hurt others.
One thing that’s certain, chronic illness constantly places me on a roller coaster of emotions. It brings out the best and the worst in me. When I don’t stop to find the origin of my negative thoughts, I tend to direct them toward people who don’t deserve it. As a result, I unintentionally hurt others.
Lashing out at innocent people can be a byproduct of buried emotional stress, so it’s helpful to keep it from getting buried in the first place. It helps to stop yourself when you notice pessimistic thoughts hijacking your mental state of mind. Step back and be quiet in your thoughts. Keep listening until you discover what you’re truly upset about. If that doesn’t work, it’s OK to ask someone else to help you sort through your complex mind. Mental strength will always be a work in progress.
Note: Scleroderma News 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 Scleroderma News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to scleroderma.