Carl Jung Helped Me Understand the Pitfalls of Sarcoidosis

Charlton Harris avatar

by Charlton Harris |

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“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” — Carl Jung

I was browsing the internet last week looking for stock videos to help out a friend who was producing a video package for his work. We’ve been friends for many years, since working together at an advertising agency in the 1990s. Whenever he needs a video produced or help with a multimedia project, he often calls me.

We have a great working rapport, so when we collaborate on a project, it’s like the old days of hashing out ideas over a few cold ones and shooting a few games of pool.

I was looking for some royalty-free music we could use when I stumbled upon a YouTube video about Carl Jung. I vaguely remember learning about Jung in my high school psychology class back in the ’80s. Truthfully, I don’t remember much more from that long ago.

I thought, “What the heck,” and I clicked on the video. The first thing I heard was the above quote. I paused the video and thought, “Dang, I didn’t see that coming!”

I don’t know if I didn’t see it coming because of his actual quote, or because this one specifically hits home for me.

I watched the video and continued looking for content for my friend’s editorial project. After a while, I had to walk away from the project to give myself a break, only to revisit my search about 30 minutes later. I’m guilty of having the attention span of a 2-year-old, so I decided to Google some Jung quotes.

Needless to say, I was impressed. He had some goodies! Most of them I could really relate to, especially while dealing with sarcoidosis.

More often than not, I have to remind myself that “I am not what happened to me.” I remember when I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, I didn’t let the news stand in my way of trying to be the best person I could be. After multiple spontaneous pneumothoraces and various hospital stays, it seemed like sarcoidosis had placed me exactly where it wanted me to be.

I became intimidated by my health. I was afraid to try to get back to my life. Talking about reclaiming my life and actually doing it are two different things. As my elders used to tell us growing up, just because you got teeth doesn’t mean you’re chewing.

Jung believed there’s a point in our lives when our belief systems are challenged, and we feel lost and out of control. Part of that formed a process he called individuation. Speaking from firsthand experience, that’s a true statement.

When I was working, I remember the plans I made for my family and me. My plan was to continue working and saving, and possibly retiring or changing careers after 55. Man has plans, but life calls the shots.

In 2017, all of that changed, and my life hasn’t been the same since. I haven’t worked in over three years doing what I love to do. Subsequently, I’ve allowed what has happened to me to become me. That wasn’t my plan.

I am what I choose to become.

Over the years, I’ve been very fortunate. I would call myself blessed. I believe, in part, that my blessing has happened because I’ve chosen to become what I’ve wanted to be. Granted, I’m not everything I wanted to be, but I’m a lot better than what I could’ve become.

The sarcoidosis, the spontaneous pneumothoraces, the crepitus, everything that was supposed to define my life has not! “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”

I choose to continue doing the things I love to do, and I won’t apologize to anyone or myself for my choice. “I am what I choose to become” because it makes me feel somewhat complete. I’m better than I used to be, and I’m looking forward to being better.

I’m still a work in progress!

A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them.” — Carl Jung


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


Darron C avatar

Darron C

Great article and inspiration, Charlton. Thank you!

Jeanne A Benedict avatar

Jeanne A Benedict

Hi Charlton,

You wrote something that Hit Home with me, "Jung believed there’s a point in our lives when our belief systems are challenged, and we feel lost and out of control. Part of that formed a process he called individuation. Speaking from firsthand experience, that’s a true statement."

I too felt this way when I was diagnosed with sarc. I also believed that the conventional medical system had all the answers to how to stay healthy, or how to get well. I sure learned that this was not true. I was determined to NOT let this disease define me and so I looked outside of the "conventional medical" box. I found a Medical Doctor who had enhanced her skills to help people get well. She used her Functional, Integrative and Holistic medical skills to identify what was Really wrong with my immune system. Why it was forming granuloma in an attempt to keep me well.

There is another way, than just accepting the fate of Sarcoidosis, we just have to look further.


Jo Jarvis avatar

Jo Jarvis

Hi Jeanne, is it possible to supply this Drs details? Is she based in the US or UK?

Many thanks in advance

John Hatrick-Smith avatar

John Hatrick-Smith

Love it! Thank you for the gentle reminder.

David Taylor Searle avatar

David Taylor Searle

There is a superman and/or woman in all of us. The problems that life brings can help us to find those qualities within us to overcome! Nice stuff, keep the trying and achieving up. Thanks!!


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