Grappling with Anger

Ordinarily, I find comfort in the idea that everything happens for a reason. It seems as though certain events have to take place in order to make space for other events to occur.

But every once in a while, I’m stricken with anger and discontentment at the things that occur on this planet. Something horrible happens, and I can’t help but feel the injustice, thinking that this shouldn’t be how the world functions.

And yet it does. People lose their lives too early. Criminals live freely amongst us. And illness takes ahold of those who don’t deserve it.

Who benefits from Parkinson's?

Parkinson’s disease, for example, seems to exist purely out of malice. Who benefits from this degenerative disease at the end of the day? Insurance companies? Hospitals? Researchers?

Sure, advances in science may contribute to our understanding of life as we know it. But why is it that there has to be so much suffering in the first place?

About 1 million Americans have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. And 60,000 new diagnoses occur each year. My dad is among those who are lucky enough to call this disease their own. And he stays motivated by the possibility that a cure could be found during his lifetime.1

Why did it choose him?

But just this morning he lit my phone up with a message: "I’ve have had Parkinson’s for so long, I do not think about my feelings [anymore]. I survive day by day."

Perhaps survival involves burrowing into ourselves, tolerating what we can as we go. But why does Parkinson’s make it so difficult to thrive?

It seems unfair, unjust, and unkind for such an illness to exist. And, of all people, why did it choose my dad? He worked diligently as a father for most of his life. He sprinkles good throughout the world on a regular basis.

But today, he struggles to complete ordinary tasks, succumbing to the symptoms of his disease, and it makes me angry.

A cruel disease

Down the road, I may be able to shift my perspective in order to enhance my memory with new-found knowledge. There have been many times in my life when the future brought me a deeper understanding of past events. But I struggle with Parkinson’s disease because it’s both cruel and difficult to understand.

My parents are religious. And they often see the disease through karmic eyes. Perhaps my dad is suffering now because it’ll alleviate his post-life suffering. Or, as they’d tell me when I was little, we can’t always understand God’s intentions.

Trying to understand

As a non-believer, I find it easier to understand the idea that my dad was victim to a series of circumstances. He may have had a gene that was predisposed to mutating. Maybe he was exposed to harmful toxins while he worked as an engineer on freighters.

Or perhaps it was as simple as a household weed killer that got him. Whatever the case may be, I wish I could sit down with the disease and have a chat with it.

Sure – to threaten it into submission. But also, to understand how it came to exist at all, and to stare it in the eyes. Although understanding isn’t the cure to everything, I find that it usually helps.

It’d be nice if we could stuff everything into a little box of knowledge, and tie it with a bow. Maybe then, the fumes of indignance would dissipate. I could relax into submission, knowing that there is a reason for this suffering after all.

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