Living with multiple sclerosis is not your fault

I want to talk about a topic that many people either avoid or choose to ignore. It’s something I see very little support for yet affects over half the population of people living with multiple sclerosis as well as those living with other chronic illnesses like Parkinson’s, ALS, Lupus, EDS, Asthma…too many illnesses to even list.

If this doesn’t affect you, you can simply pass up today’s post as something to be thankful for since you are among the few who have been spared from the judgements of others. For the rest, I hope you leave encouraged in knowing that you aren’t alone and that you are an amazing person even while living with a disability.

I want to talk about faith and the disabled. I talk about it from time to time, but I think it’s needed again just watching the chatter online. Regardless of your background or beliefs, it seems there is always someone with an answer as to why you got sick and how to be healed…and if you aren’t healed then there is something wrong with you. I have been approached with that very thing more times than I can count.

I have been told everything from I don’t have enough faith, to I must have some unconfessed sin in my life, to I must really not want to be healed…all of which are untrue. If you are anything like me, once diagnosed you spent hours searching your heart for answers of where you went wrong in life only to come away exhausted and feeling defeated.

Something else that gets piled on top of all the guilt that is already weighing you down is when someone shares a story with you of how a person was healed of cancer or a heart condition…and you can have the same experience if you just live as they say. I don’t think people realize how much it hurts to have a comparison made like that. It comes across, yet again, as saying you must be doing something wrong or that you don’t have enough faith. I’m sure that’s not the intent of the comparison (at least I hope it’s not), but that’s how it comes across.

If you have had something like that happen to you and are carrying around a boatload of guilt because of it, I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you. You didn’t cause MS due to past mistakes or terrible wrongs committed. It’s not because you lived a bad life, said the wrong prayers or don’t have enough faith. Multiple sclerosis just is. It’s a reality that can’t be explained away. It isn’t caused by a lack of faith either. It affects the best of the best, the worst of the worst and everyone in between.

Don’t hold onto the guilt others have tried to place on you or that you have put on yourself. Let it go and shake it off. I know that’s easier said than done, but I also know you can do it. Don’t believe the lies that take off running through your head. You are a beautiful person with an amazing amount of strength…more than you even realize. You are not the cause of MS in your life, never have been and never will be.

We live in a world that worships physical perfection. The helpless, vulnerable, chronically ill and impaired just don’t fit that picture perfect image. People are so good at pointing fingers and trying to place blame where it shouldn’t be, but in the process they are actually causing others harm, not help. And just so you know, they are wrong.

Maybe, just maybe, those of us with a disability are here to show the world that the “perfect” people are the flawed ones. Maybe, just maybe, we are here to teach others how to love and truly be compassionate without judgement. Maybe, just maybe, we are changing the world through our suffering…one tear at a time. Maybe, just maybe, the strength we carry today is helping to build a bridge for those who will follow tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe.

Disabilities are a part of life. They have nothing to do with how much faith someone does or doesn’t have. They have nothing to do with how much someone prays, reads their Bible or takes part in worship. They do, however, have everything to do with being human. Shake off those defeatist thoughts, take a deep breath, and hold your head high today. You are an MS Warrior.

“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” – Fred Rogers

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero

 

18 replies
  1. Vicky
    Vicky says:

    So glad you posted this! When i was first diagnosed one of my “good” friends told me it was my fault for things i had done in the past.

    I will never forget nor forgive that since she was right there with me doing these same “bad things” and she gets off scott free?

    I am so glad to be rid of the guilt now and know i am not the only one

    Reply
  2. Tim
    Tim says:

    Hi,

    Great post as usual. I was Dx in 2003, so I certainly haven’t thought about it this way for quite some time. I don’t blame too much on myself ever so I probably wouldn’t blame MS on myself either, LOL! I certainly have encountered many people that wanna know why this happened and they really want to know the answer. Fortunately, they haven’t assumed I did anything to cause it. I have talked to quite a few people with MS that would really like to know why they got MS, so I really wish the reason could be defined for each of us. In my 16 years since diagnosis I know that physically I am much worse off, but upstairs I’m actually better, I’m a better person, more empathetic, better at coping, and better at managing the unexpected days that come with this crazy disease. I’m also better at being able to ignore the noise from some people that question why sometimes I seem fine, implying I am “better”, but they mean well, and I hope each of us is able to get to that mindset as fast as possible and live a fulfilling life, because we deserve it!

    Tim
    @MSHighway

    Reply
  3. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thank you Penelope there is no recollection where MS comes from and what causes it so we can’t take any respond for it and it wasn’t our fault. We can blame our family line but that doesn’t work either so don’t blame yourself and no one can!

    Reply
    • Peggy Wills
      Peggy Wills says:

      I’ve heard those things too. Just try ignore them. But its not easy at times just break down and cry. So wish I could pray have whatever they think is ‘enough’ WOW that’d be great! Or if we knew what caused it we wouldn’t do it? Last i knew the cause hasn’t been found yet so I’m sure I didn’t cause it!😉
      But I can handle it as the worst thing i’ve ever had said to me was when my baby died of SIDS and an acquaintance of mine told me it had happened because of something either me or my husband had done (sinfully) in the past…REALLY????

      Reply
      • Penelope Conway
        Penelope Conway says:

        Wow, I’m so sorry Peggy. I think people say things and most of the time don’t even realize what they have actually said. Hugs… and BTW, you didn’t do anything wrong!

  4. Rachel Cytanovic
    Rachel Cytanovic says:

    I went to a prayer meeting with a friend. I asked her not to tell anyone I had MS, but of course, she did. She told the leader. They called me up to the front and said they were going to pray for me… until I was cured. I was in remission, so there really was no way to tell. I finally got tired of standing and lied. I said I was cured, and I got to sit down.

    Reply
    • Janet Stanzel
      Janet Stanzel says:

      Keep reading Penelope’s posts. They will make you smile, say “ya, me too” and overall lift your spirits and know that you aren’t alone. 😊
      Finding someone who gets it and truly understands MS…this site is definitely that. Best of luck Gemma. 🤗
      I was diagnosed in 2005 with RRMS. Past few years have progressed, now possibly SPMS with relapse.
      Started reading Penelope’s posts about a year ago. Now I try to check in at least every couple of weeks. Read her past posts too. Her positivity rubbed off on me! 😊

      Reply
  5. Amb
    Amb says:

    I had been told that I caused my MS from certain sins I did as a child, I was like. WTF!! I know it’s not true. Life is just so hard with MS. Since I look “fine” doctors won’t help me with my pain, social security won’t approve me. There’s days I want to give up. I pray to God to take me. I’ve had MS since 2004 at the age of 21. And it’s just getting worse with age. Mentally and emotionally I’m not ok these days. It’s been a HARD year. People say since I’m a Christian I shouldn’t feel or be this way.

    Reply
  6. Shaf
    Shaf says:

    You are right (as usual) but my theory is that everything can be blamed on someone, and my STUPID MS can’t be blamed on anybody else, so it is…
    MY FAULT!!!

    Reply

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