The "Why Me" mentality is understandable for people living with chronic arthritis pain -- as long as the attitude is short-lived. "Why Me" is a mix of self-pity and frustration. Can that be healthy over time?
As I was wondering how many people get caught up in "Why Me", I asked this question on our forum to get some perspective:
Let's start by taking a collective, deep sigh. Arthritis can be a drag to say the least and life-changing to be more accurate. We could launch into a discussion of how it has affected your life -- in negative ways and likely a few positive ways too. But what I want to know is -- since the day you were diagnosed -- have you ever gotten caught up in a "Why Me" mentality? If you have, share your thoughts and discuss how that attitude worked for or against you. Do you still feel that way or has it changed? If you never have been saddled with "Why Me" -- how did you escape that attitude?
Forum Members Share Their Feelings
Here are some of the replies. Can you relate?
PaulaM: I had the "why me" attitude when I was first diagnosed. I literally cried for 24 hours straight and wondered "why me" the whole time. I think I felt that way mostly off and on before I accepted my disease. I can't really say I feel that way too often anymore. It just "is". It's life and I don't want to waste it feeling sorry for myself. That's not to say I don't ever feel sorry for me, but it's more rare now.
Nicki: I guess by focusing my time and energy on my family, I never thought about the "why me", just accepted the fact that I was the lucky one to be diagnosed with this disease. Yes, I say lucky, because I am stronger mentally and spiritually and have been blessed with the love of my sons and husband. My escape was that my family needed me and I wanted to do for them all that was possible.
Rebecca: I don't think I've been caught in that trap, at least not for more than a very short time (minutes, not days or weeks). I think things just happen, both good and bad. I wasn't surprised to find I had rheumatoid arthritis after watching my mother struggle with lupus all her life. I try hard to look at the positive, and it has kept me somewhat sane. Things could always be so much worse. I'm grateful for what I have. I guess it's easy to be grateful because I have always been able to work, and I find ways to do a lot of the things that are really important to me, scaled down to fit my reality. I have momentary pity parties when I take on too much and then crash and burn, but it doesn't last long.
Murphthesurf: Me personally -- never felt the "why me" but I have always been a proactive type of personality in everything. I did get highly disgusted, depressed at times but never felt that particular feeling. I chalked it up to genetics mostly and some environmental stuff and always felt there wasn't much I could have done to change either one of those after the fact.
Dogfeathers: I have not gotten caught up in the "why me" mentality -- not yet anyway. With so much information available on the Internet, I was expecting the diagnosis from my doctor (after all the research I had done). Still not something that you want to hear, but at least I was somewhat prepared. I just try to keep a positive attitude because that will mean less stress on myself.
Chris: I never had the why me but I sure had ANGER! Over the past four years the anger has died down for the most part.
PlanetLucy: No, I never thought "why me". I was kind of glad to know that I really did have something wrong with me. My first thought was, "o.k. now what do we do?" I'm of the aggressive way of thinking when it comes to medical problems for myself. Hit it hard whatever it is! For me, no wondering "why me".
Maxine: I did the "why me" thing when I was first diagnosed -- for a few years actually. Now, I am in a much better place mentally and emotionally. I think I am better because I have good doctors, the right treatment, and a very supportive fiance. I have also learned to set strong boundaries in my life. I know how to say "no" and I have learned to take care of myself. I think it is totally normal at first to question "why me". It takes time to accept things when you are hit with something bad or stressful. Give yourself a break. Take good care of yourself. And most importantly, remember you are not alone.
Kimhicks100: I still do question "why me". I've only been diagnosed about a year and a half now (was in pain for two years before being diagnosed) and am still struggling to cope with the medication, not being able to do everything that I want to, flare ups, being tired all the time. My RA is really up and down but when it hits badly I am often on the phone to my mum and dad crying and asking why me. I am sure it is something that I will eventually stop asking but at the moment I feel like RA has ruined my life (I'm 27).
Using these comments as a representative group, it appears not everyone gets caught up in "why me". If any general conclusions can be drawn, it seems younger and newly diagnosed patients are more apt to focus on "why me". One thing is clear -- in order to move on from "why me", you need to move towards acceptance.