Your brother gets chicken pox right before his birthday party. What’s his response? WHY ME?! Your best friend didn’t study her geography homework quite as much as she should have—so of course the teacher calls on her first. Her reaction (after the eye rolling): WHY ME?!
Kids say it’s the same with having JA. “I used to think, ‘Why me? I just want be a normal kid, and not have a disease!’” says Anna, who sometimes can’t even walk down the stairs because her knees and feet are so painful.
But the Why Me? of getting embarrassed in class or missing one party is obviously more fleeting than dealing with JA. Kids with JA have to learn how to cope with their fate in a more enduring way.
“I am faced a lot with ‘Ew you have a disease!’ Well, as a matter of fact, yes I do and you won't change that no matter how hard you try,” says 12-year-old Lexi B. “I try to keep an open mind about it. I look at myself in the mirror and think I am who I am and why live in sadness; it will get better! To me, life is like a mountain, you go up and you think you’re great but then something bad happens and you go down again! But you reach the top and you might be really good for a while!”
Lexi has had JA since she was 15 months old so she has had a lot of Why Me? moments and a lot of time to develop what she calls a “thick skin” about her disease. “Last year my mom showed me a magazine with Mrs. Georgia on the front with a caption that she has rheumatoid arthritis,” Lexi says. She emailed Mrs. Georgia and got some advice on how not to let the disease get her down. Now, “every time something happens, I think to myself, ‘It can only get better,’” she says, “and it does!”