To Speak or Not to Speak

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Having struggled with chronic Lyme for over thirteen years,
I have discovered a few interesting facts
about the world around me.
 

In the beginning of my struggle I met with deep disappointment, discouragement and depression when others would judge me after I shared even small details of my illness, or simply not believe me and became wary around the “sick girl.”  Guarded looks and stilted short talk were often the first signs that my social circle was about to become even smaller.

And so, in response, I learned not to speak of my illness.

This went on for many years, and only recently have I decided to “come out” about being a chronically ill (but kick-ass) Lyme disease sufferer. The effects have changed in the past decade; more people are open to the devastating effects of this disease and what it can do to someone.

However, others have learned to turn the tables and use whatever facts I have shared to tear me down in ways I never dreamed possible. 

 The cruel ways in which friends and trusted acquaintances have taken the strength of mind and will that suffering has built-in me and turned it around, much like a lawyer who badgers a witness in order to tear apart the truth in the minds of the jury, weaving words like uncooperative, obstinate, incapable, unaware, insubordinate, uncaring and neglectful, into a tangled web that is then cast around me in order to raise suspicion and distrust from those looking on. 

Many have chosen to believe that my chronic illness means I am an impaired delinquent and devoid of the ability to handle life.
 
Dear Readers: I have a few things to say about LYMIES and how we differ from others, but not in a bad way;
in truth, LYMIES often stand taller and stronger than others because of this disease. 
  • Remember that someone who has been ill will go through intimate struggles, struggles that are extremely private and rarely shared with the outside world.  A LYMIE’S support team are often the only ones to truly know what that person is experiencing, and so before you judge a sick individual, remember that you NEVER have all the facts.
  • Do not forget that every individual has their own personality.  Often, LYMIES feel as if their personality is out of reach while struggling through the recovery process, but the fact remains that each LYMIE is UNIQUE and AMAZING and often, far stronger in character than others realize.  If you knew the individual before they shared about their struggle with Lyme disease, remember they are still the same person, no matter what the side effects of medications or pain may produce.
  • LYMIES, be aware that some will gladly use the little information they know to tear you down.  Although this is something that a chronic sufferer should not have to deal with, it is important to know that when others are trying to bring you down, it is because they recognize that you have something they do not. 
You have the ability to endure.
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2 thoughts on “To Speak or Not to Speak

  1. Giving you a massive hug right now Shelby! You keep fighting girl! You are AWESOME and your fight, determination and beautiful personality and character throughout it all is an inspiration. For those of us who suffer from any kind of long-term, misunderstood illness, you offer encouragement and a big “Come on! We can do it!” I love you!!

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