"Better Me than Someone Else" is a fallacy

I would have posted this as a comment to the blog called “Better Me than Someone Else,” but the author of that blog has chosen to moderate comments, as is her prerogative. In that blog posting, she asserts that the reason she has been chosen to have diabetes is that she can cope with it better than other people.

As I said in my censored comment, all one has to do is to look around the boards and blogs a little to note that unfortunately, diabetes doesn’t discriminate in favor of people who are capable of handling the disease better than other people. There are plenty of people–including some on TuD–who struggle mightily with depression, with diabulimia, with the inability to afford their diabetes supplies. Just because YOU (the general you, not the specific you) got diabetes doesn’t mean that there aren’t thousands of other people who also got diabetes. Your diabetes and theirs are not causally related. There is no statistically-minded deity out there shooting diabetes to the people who can “handle it” or who can “afford it” best. If it were the case that having diabetes could prevent someone ELSE from having diabetes, there are plenty of parents of babies and children with T1 who would love to have it if it could mean sparing their children.

I don’t have a problem with optimism; it’s the smugness and illogic that I can’t stand.

are we a ray of sunshine today :wink:

I dunno that it’s so much smugness, as it may be ignorance? I am not sure… I mean, I don’t think I’m quite in a position to say “Better me than someone else…” What exactly IS better about me getting this disease, rather than someone else? This does not mean to say that I am not a positive person… I am just a person who prefers to embrace REALITY, rather than some deluded notion of why I was “chosen” over someone else to have this… If there is such a thing, I don’t think that we could explain it away with our little notions of “toughness” (i.e., God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle, etc). People get things they can’t handle and are ill-equipped to deal with, all the time… People DIE all the time as a result of this. Some of us may be fortunate enough to find support, and help, and muster enough courage to keep going… but that doesn’t make it somehow better… (And other people aren’t getting spared just because we got “chosen.”) Right now, I could say “BETTER YOU THAN ME,” haha as I definitely have NO insurance, haven’t had a job for 3 years… can barely afford food for two, on food stamps… don’t have adequate medical care or money for strips… Been close to homelessness many times… Sure, if I were someone else, maybe I’d let myself waste away, and be dead from this disease… but that doesn’t mean that just because this happened to me, there aren’t other people even worse off than me… I dunno… I guess people sometimes just have to tell themselves what they have to tell themselves to keep going… And I pray that one day they don’t have to learn the true reality of just how indiscriminate life is… And most inopportune, as well. Most of the time, people who say things like that are clueless, and inexperienced with life…

Well, I honestly do feel better me than my brother or my son. It’s not wanting to see loved ones suffer. I know perfectly well how much other diabetics suffer, and I’ve had my problems too (major depressive disorder does NOT help!). It’s just that I don’t wish this disease (or any other, for that matter) on anyone. I can’t change the fact that I’ve got it, but I sure can hope that other people don’t get it, especially those Type 2’s who CAN mitigate its effects with good treatment. So I talk to a lot of pre-diabetics and early-stage Type 2’s when I can, hoping it will make a difference, and that they won’t end up with amputations, blindness and early death from heart disease.
I don’t know if I’m making myself clear, but I’m trying to express how I cope with my sometimes negative and rebellious feelings about diabetes. If I don’t try to think positive, I will drown.

As much as you’d like to think that you’ve taken the bullet for someone else, it’s just not applicable. This is a condition, not jury duty. The truth is I got it and everyone else who’s got it has it and no one asked if we’d mind. One should take pride in their own ability to stand and fight. The best thing you can do is be an example to others and share how you get through the day. Our whole reason for this experience is to help each other out.

Lighten up, man. The poor girl was just being herself and coping, and she shouldn’t be punished for it. It’s like Nancy Mairs says in her essay On Being a Cripple:
“A friend who also has MS startled me once by asking, “Do you ever say to yourself, 'Why me, Lord?”’ “No, Michael, I don’t,” I told him, “because whenever I try, the only response I can think of is 'Why not?”’ If I could make a cosmic deal, whom would I put in my place? What in my life would I give up in exchange for sound limbs and a thrilling rush of energy? No one. Nothing. I might as well do the job myself. Now that I’m getting the hang of it.”
(Nancy Mairs has Multiple Sclerosis)
I think thats what Michelle Isabelle was saying. She’s not ever going to ask “Why me?” because then who would she put in her place? No one.

very well said brandi

Brandi, I’m unclear about why the person with MS would think that there is some cosmic balance involving the number of people with MS. MS is a disease. Someday we will probably know how to cure it or prevent it. There isn’t a sense in which her having it prevents someone else from having it. I suppose it’s possible to cope with a disease by thinking that it’s a punishment for sin, or that Zeus gave it to you, or that your having it prevented your neighbor from having it, but hell, it’s the 21st century. I prefer the scientific method.

It has nothing to do with a cosmic balance. And nothing to do with scientific method, either. It’s acceptance of the hand you were dealt. I would change it in a minute if I could, but I can’t. So what else is there to do but be glad for the people who don’t have to deal with it? Like I said, I would much rather it be me than my brother or my son. And I think there are many parents of diabetic children who would probably agree with that thought. While it is true that they MAY get it down the road, I can certainly continue to hope not.

I guess to me… being “glad” that I got it, instead of say, another relative… does little to alleviate things because … who’s to say they’re not gonna get it down the road? My getting something isn’t preventing any of my loved ones from getting anything… And it isn’t preventing any persons in some REAL dire straights from getting it, and being way worse off than me… I don’t have anything against people who try to find any consolation in what they wish… But being that I will never get asked to give this to anyone else, instead of me… And that I have absolutely NO control over who gets what, and when… And I believe no one does… and that God doesn’t go around putting people through cruel tests of “strength,” I personally believe it is silly to duel on such an exercise… No offense to anyone, or to whoever posted whatever original blog it was… Or however people want to see the world. I’m certainly “light hearted” about the whole affair. After all, I have lost many loved ones to Diabetes, as it is…

I see this kind of comment as someone trying hard to look on the bright side. I don’t have anything against it. Obviously, many of us don’t feel the same. When I was diagnosed I was glad it was me and not my brother. I had a terrible time with diabetes but, at the time as a kid, felt my brother would have handled it more difficultly-he is quite stubborn. Then my sister got type 1, too and she felt it was better her than our other sister who is extremely terrified of needles. I really just see that person’s post as a personal expression of their positive feelings-not an attack on anyone else

Why dont you ask her for yourself?