Why It’s Important to Give Yourself Grace With Duchenne

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by Hawken Miller |

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I came down with a nasty cold two weeks ago, and even though I was sick, felt terrible, and knew I needed to rest as much as possible because I also have Duchenne muscular dystrophy, I was still judging myself for not working toward my looming deadlines.

I’ve always been hard on myself, whether it was reciting the wrong definition of a word during middle school vocabulary study sessions, getting an awful score on my Advanced Placement Physics 1 exam, or not having enough energy to go out with my friends. Giving myself a hard time can help me with personal motivation, but it also can prevent me from moving on in life, and cause me to be afraid of failure and to fail to understand my limits with Duchenne.

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When I fall short of my expectations for myself, like having to correct a story after it publishes, forgetting about an assignment, or saying something in conversation that comes across as rude or judgmental, I tend to fixate on it and let it occupy my mind instead of forgiving myself for my own human error. Responding to mistakes in this way imprisons me from moving on and correcting them in future situations.

There’s plenty of other negatives to not giving myself enough grace. When my immediate reaction to doing something wrong is self-deprecation, I’m less likely to leave my comfort zone and experience new things. But when I forgive myself, I don’t trap myself in my own head. If I accidentally offend someone in conversation, I need to apologize and move on.

Learning to give myself grace also applies to living with Duchenne. I try to forget as much as possible that I have this muscle-wasting disease, but it’s also a reality I need to remind myself of.

I’m not the same as everyone else, and it isn’t fair for me to continually compare myself with others who don’t have Duchenne, and reprimand myself when I can’t keep up. Getting sick affects me more than the average person because I already tire easily. So when my body is fighting off a virus, as it was two weeks ago, I have to rest. If I don’t, I risk becoming even sicker.

I want to get back to work faster than my peers, but I also need to understand the realities of my condition. It’s a difficult balance for me to achieve because I want to be like everyone else. But if everyone were the same, life would be as boring as white bread or buttered pasta.

During this latest battle with the cold, I realized I can’t change anything about my body. It’s not worth being hard on myself for something I have no control over. Accepting this fact will give me peace and allow me to focus on the things that matter, like family, friends, my faith, and my job.


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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


Pankaj singh avatar

Pankaj singh

I am also a patient muscular dystrophy...

Barbara LaSaracina avatar

Barbara LaSaracina

Your stories inspire me and give me hope for my 6 year old grandson who was recently diagnosed. Keep writing!

Marguerite Bridgman avatar

Marguerite Bridgman

So true Hawken Miller!
Be kind to yourself.
The best thing we can do is love ourselves and therefore forgive ourselves.
If we are aware of our faults or limitations more like it then we are on a good path.
You seem very aware.
I wish you peace and love brother!
I have F.S.H.D. muscular dystrophy.
Not easy.
I push myself but need to know my limits also.
Thank you for your good post!


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