A couple of days ago, a friend of mine was over at my place. He was a bit tipsy, and in this state he was telling me how his doctor told him he can’t really drink anymore. He was telling me this in a way that you could tell, deep down, that he felt really sorry for himself. Like he was asking himself the age-old question… “Why Me?”
“Why me…why did this happen to me?”…that familiar cry of self-pity mixed with desperation. I have definitely asked myself that question before. In fact, I remember asking myself this question quite a bit when I was first officially diagnosed with psoriasis.
That diagnosis was life-changing. But not at all in the way I expected. Like all situations that lead to the “Why me?” moment, finding out I had psoriasis was devastating. I didn’t know why I had developed it, or how it was triggered. My doctor honestly just handed me for an OTC lotion, told me to go micro-tanning and shooed me out of her office. My parents accused me of “catching” it, like it was some kind of venereal disease that I had gotten through reckless and wanton behavior. And the scariest thing was, I had been working with psoriasis drug brands for my job and knew that they were a really harsh variety of immunosuppressants derived from cancer treatments. I was terrified of having to go on one of those and live with a suppressed immune system for the rest of my life.
Of course, that was an overly dramatic reaction, as every “why me?” moment tends to be. But what I realized over time is that I felt that desperate self-pity not because I was scared of the future or the situation, but because I was COMPARING my situation to that of others.
“Why me?” implies that we are somehow unique, singled-out and alone. That other people aren’t going through some bullshit of their own. We perceive the situation to be unfair – as if fairness actually exists. The question implies that we, in no way, contributed to the situation (uhh..hello diet, exercises, stress, alcohol???). As if it magically happened TO us. It’s no surprise that my deeper interest in yoga originated in unraveling this very question.
It took me a long time to realize that I was not alone (about 2-3% of the world’s population has this condition not to mention other autoimmune disorders), that other people were going through much worse situations, that I had a huge hand in contributing to my flare-ups and that a condition like this was a very lucky OPPPORTUNITY to make a change in my life before things got really bad.
And so I did make some huge changes. My psoriasis set me on the path of being a much healthier person, inside and out. With a little discipline, I can manage my psoriasis with success. But most importantly I never ask myself, “Why me?”