There is an idea that makes me uncomfortable and that seems very cruel and cold. It is the idea that our personal lifestyles are the only thing that make us ill or keep us well – all up to us, completely our fault if we end up with a condition.
Recently, I met a Hospice nurse who had had to go on sick leave when she got some debilitating viral infection. She was ASHAMED because people would judge her for not being able to keep her immune system working well enough to overcome the bug. She would be accused of letting the stress get on top of her.
That’s a heavy burden to bear – personal responsibility and shame.
Life itself, in all its intricacies, often not under our control, cannot always be “styled”. People have to do what they have to do just to get through it. They are affected by other forces. There is no blame in that.
The shame is in the thinking that illness is somehow only ever our fault.