If we lived in a fair world, Duchenne muscular dystrophy would not exist.
Unfortunately, life isn’t fair, and I was diagnosed with the muscle-wasting disease 18 years ago. Even with a bleak future, there’s still something I can do about it. I can refuse to compare myself to others, focus on my goals, and work hard.
Despite the reality of life’s unfairness, those of us with DMD should still make the best of our shared diagnosis. However, accepting that I have DMD is a tough pill to swallow — and I swallow a lot of pills.
I often compare myself to my peers. What fancy job do they have that I don’t? How much smarter are they? How much stronger, better looking, and capable are they?
Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for disaster. It only leads to lower self-esteem. You trick yourself into saying, “I can’t,” rather than, “I can.”
I’m not a perfect human. I’ve fallen into that comparison trap before. High school wasn’t easy. I saw my friends’ bodies change while mine stayed the same and got worse. They got stronger, I got weaker.
I went to an academics-focused school, and my friends are extremely smart people. I remember feeling that I didn’t belong because I wasn’t in the same math level and they didn’t have to work as hard as me to get top marks.
My mom tells me, “There will always be someone smarter, better-looking, more successful than you.” And yet there are plenty of people who have it worse off. Count the blessings you have and run with it.
Focus on improving your mental, spiritual, and emotional health before you worry about everyone else. Find someone you can talk to and confide in. Don’t think you can go through this alone. Don’t be like me and let your pride get in the way.
It’s easy to get caught up in the accomplishments of others, but remind yourself how you’ve grown. My first article in my high school paper is a far cry from what I wrote at The Washington Post. You are better off comparing your current self to your former self and not to someone else.
Going through life with DMD takes a lot of work. You have to juggle an aide, medications, doctors’ appointments, and extra accessibility costs, to name a few things.
I recently caught myself complaining about the copay at a physical therapy appointment. “No one else I know has to pay for all this,” I lamented.
Life isn’t fair. We will have to go a little further to find success in this life. We can’t let other people distract us from the path on which we’re meant to travel.
Note: Muscular Dystrophy 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 another 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 Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.
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