In March this year I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. It is one of those kinds which is potentially life threatening and necessarily entails major lifestyle changes such as a complete do-away with my usual hot water baths. Somewhere, it seems like the magnanimity of the situation hadn’t really sunk in as I just went about life concentrating on the many other upheavals and treating this as an A-side.
Day before yesterday while I spent yet another useless and un-fruitful (is that even a word?) fine, useless day at work I googled my disorder to figure out the side-effects of certain medicines I was put on and the search results were frightening and fascinating in bits. I came across personal accounts of people – young people, mind you, who were really suffering from this disorder and its resultant medication. I came across inspiring accounts of people managing to deal with it and doing their best to cope with what seemed a thoroughly hopeless situation.
I came across this one blog post about an elderly woman suffering from this disorder (as it has a tendency to worsen over a period of time) stating that we don’t really know how this disorder targets us and why. Till date, there is no scientific reason suggesting the cause of this disorder so everybody is in the dark trying to figure out the whys, leave aside the fact that this condition is incurable – it just treatable. The woman goes on to say that we don’t know the whys but for some reason the disease chooses us. In her words,
The truth of the matter is, we have no say about these types of diseases; essentially, they pick us for some unknown reason.
She goes on to joke saying that she is picky about the kind of diseases that can affect her. This was uncannily similar to what I had been told at the time of my diagnosis, that I was in esteemed company, that this just wasn’t any disorder, it was different, rare and affected a select few. All this in a bid to make me feel better and somehow I did, at that point in time. However, when I recently read the account of people across the world literally suffering from this disorder, I was horrified. And to think, today, my greatest worry is the lack of sufficient career progress when I could be worse of and be bed-ridden. What makes the situation worrisome is the fact that there isn’t much of a say an individual has in the treatment of this disorder, you will be on medicines and they will help you gain spectacular amounts of weight though you might try otherwise.
So anyway, I got thinking about the whys and spent several hours (as I had many owing to a thoroughly free and useless day) getting resentful and angry about the situation. Then I ended up the next morning by understanding that I must have done something grossly evil in my past life which has led to this kind of suffering and ultimately it is up to me to battle against the odds and make something of it. Hell, you have no choice but to work against the averse condition and try to deal with it – very in line with my new philosophy of ‘rolling with the punches’.
I ended up having another epiphany of sorts while riding the elevator with my much-troubled neighbor. She to deal with a large family of mom-in-law, father-in-law, husband, a physically disabled child, a young belligerent and much-spoilt son along with dealing with an apparently angry and disgruntled brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Her family lived in a small square apartment and God knows how they had enough space to move around. She looked hassled and seemed to be running late (something I have gotten used to so I am not as rattled – what actually riles me is the possibility that I might be losing a half day to the firm but not the fact that my partner may require me earlier as he really doesn’t need me to be around much). She was sweaty, in worn clothes and asked me politely to let her know if there is any opening at the place where I work. I nodded politely too and said I will. She went on to say that there are several people in the building who were qualified with technical degrees and they had requested her assistance with the job hunt. I brought up the fact that I work in a law firm and we don’t really need technical people around to which she clarified that she knew but if there was any opening of any kind I should let her know. I could only reply with an “Oh…sure” and then we parted ways going towards our respective hell-holes called jobs.
That is when it struck me that I complain as if the world had fallen down on me about my job and here, there are people in search of any kind of job. Look at me, I term it a hell-hole even on my blog. Hell, I am at a perfect job for a law student and I don’t have a lack of jobs really but there are lesser privileged people than me who would do anything just to avoid sitting at home and to earn money. I am fortunate. Of course, we only compare ourselves to people who are in our situation because our brain can host only thoughts of our peers and we are all myopic at some level to the point that we fail to see below us. We see above us, sure, but we just don’t look below to see that there are people worse off and we are better off, if only slightly sometimes. I have always had a huge issue with redistribution of resources – trust me, I am not a socialist, if anything I might just be a hard-core capitalist because I value merit above all else but it is beyond me to understand how unjust and unequal society is and the world at a larger level is. Still, we are just so caught with our lives, our jobs and our families that we often lose sight of the bigger picture. I have often been told my parents to look below because once we start comparing ourselves with those higher than us there isn’t much to be gained except resentment and dissatisfaction. This is not to say that we shouldn’t aspire to be rich – hell, money can buy you anything today, but we just need to view that richness even in perspective.
On to lighter things, I probably should consider turning into a psychiatrist or just spend a year losing weight which may just make me happy or move to a smaller firm. Speaking of which, I had a weird ‘what if’ thought process happening in my brain last night when I thought about how things would have panned out if I had chosen quality work in a small firm when I had the option and had refused to accept this lucrative offer from this law firm. Things would have definitely been different but I’d like to believe that where I am is where I am meant to be…What is the point of faith if I can’t believe in that? So, dear God, I know you know what you’re doing, just help me trust you enough because right now, I might either give into stress eating or turn into a stone-cold cynic (again).