Why Do Bad Diseases Happen to Good People?

Why Do Bad Diseases Happen to Good People?

Or, am I a bad person?

Some people believe that if you do “bad” things then “bad” things will happen to you. If you don’t help the little old lady across the street, then a car splashes a puddle over your brand new shoes. That sort of thing. Conversely, if you do help the lady across the street, doing “good,” then something good will happen to you like getting your favorite table at a restaurant. It’s the basic concept of karma (religious underpinnings notwithstanding).

“Good” and “Bad” People are Convenient

This is a very convenient view of the world suggesting that things will “even out” somehow. That bad people will “get what’s coming to them” and that good people will be rewarded in the end. And on some level we’re all taught this and believe it to some extent. Why do people do the “right” thing when no one’s looking? In the back of their mind, part of the reason is selfishly because they want good things to happen to them too.

And that’s all well and good until you realize this: bad things have happened to you. Bipolar is the worst thing that ever happened to me. Does that mean I’m a bad person?

“Deserving” Bipolar Disorder

On some level, people believe they “deserve” what happens to them. It’s a way of exercising control over our own destiny. If you deserve it then it’s because of something that you did and that’s something you can change. If you got a raise you earned that raise and you deserved it.

But then that means we deserve the bad things too. We deserve to get fired. We deserve to be cheated on. We deserve to get bipolar disorder.

I’m not suggesting this is rational or even conscious, but somewhere, deep inside we think it. Especially if we happen to be depressed.

Are People With Bipolar Bad?Karma is for Kids

Suggesting that life evens out is simply a pat response given to children or people too ignorant to comprehend the complexities of existence. Oh, that boy just hits you because he likes you. They only pick on you because they’re jealous of you. Those answers are perfectly acceptable – for a six year old. As an adult we realize that people don’t hit us because they like us and people don’t pick on us just because they’re jealous. Life’s more complicated than that.

Similarly, the idea that life’s “goodness” evens out is just nonsense. Bad shit happens. It just does. It happens to good people. It happens to bad people. It just happens. You can’t control it. It’s just something you’re going to have to learn to live with.

Why Do Bad Diseases Happen to Good People?

So no, getting bipolar disorder doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you did anything wrong. It was just a random twist of the universe. And it’s unlikely that it’ll even out elsewhere. One of the things you’re going to have to accept is this lack of fairness and this lack of control. Because we all face those things, people with mental illness though, perhaps more than most.


About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.

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