When I first got sick,
I realized something very quickly.
Talking about my sickness
didn’t win me any friends.
In fact, it made people react strangely to me.
Though the culturally expected and polite question, “How are you?” was asked, tense physical features and uncomfortable silence followed when I answered with even a sliver of honesty regarding my health.
I realized people didn’t want to know.
My personality brings with it the ability to often see unspoken words behind the eyes of others, and time and again desperate pleading for the common answer, “I’m fine,” lurked behind their eyes as they silently begged me to bypass the honest truth in my life.
Even I, still in my early teen years, saw the relief in those who silently blessed me for answering with the culturally correct answer as their postures relaxed and the atmosphere remained within their comfort zone.
I’m no genius, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that there is nothing like extended sickness to bring out our TRUE friends…
and force us to realize that the social circle previously assumed to be a part of life, the circle that partied and gossiped and giggled
and embodied everything fun and fancy free,
was forever changed.
After realizing this truth
I became an expert on silence regarding my pain and the strange, unknown symptoms
that were quickly consuming my everyday life.
There have been some who truly tried to stay and help,
but became truly frustrated by my stubborn silence.
Shaking their heads, they went on with their life without me.
I cannot blame them;
after all, canceling plans
for a second or third time
because of symptoms that fluctuate
and, of course, strike you with severity every time you attempt to go out
would frustrate anyone.
Well, anyone except those special few who understand chronic Lyme. After all, they often have to do the same thing.
These precious friends are few and far between, however.
Because of my experience I have a deep burning in my soul, a strong desire to help other young people with Lyme disease… I want them
to know there is someone to talk to, to spare them the intense loneliness
that surrounded my teen and early adulthood years…
should have to go through what I did.
But during those years there was no way I could express the painful feeling of loneliness…
How do I explain my inner sadness and heart-felt hurt that,
after I had invested so much into a friendship,
it still disintegrated after my “friend” and our friendship mysteriously faded into the night.
How do I explain the hurt after this scenario occurred time and time again?
Your social circle, as you knew it before Lyme, may have diminished to a precious few supportive friends or family members.
But LYMIES, there is someone out there in the vast world beyond you who understands.
understands many of the side effects and symptoms of chronic Lyme disease…
Because of my personal journey with chronic Lyme,
I am able to identify and sympathize with all the stupid side effects and the numerous symptoms that you are required to deal with…
I understand why plans must be cancelled for the umpteenth time…
I understand the inability to complete sentences when intense fatigue plagued your body…
I understand that there are “good days” and “bad days” that can fluctuate like a freakin’ roller coaster.
Some attempt to understand before quickly advising you of a pill/supplement/diet, etc, that they tried. “It worked miracles for me! You HAVE to try it, I’m SURE it will improve your health!”
When their suggestions failed to have a positive affect on my body, the reaction from the attempting-to-understand individual would often say, “Well you must not have taken it for long enough. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. You didn’t give it a fair try; you should have done 9 months instead of 6 months.”
I’ve learned to say nothing in reply to these comments.
Unfortunately, others still hold onto the belief that if I had just followed their advice I would be SO much better.
these people often disappeared
after their miracle cure did nothing.
There have been those
who stuck with me for a time;
after canceling plans for the second or third time however,
they shook their heads and gave up on me,
assuming that these cancellations
translated to a desire to push their friendship away.
,The exact opposite was true, but I found it nearly impossible to explain
WHY the cancellation was necessary,
to explain the roller coaster of symptoms that give me “good days,”
followed by “bad days” that hit me with pain so intense
I simply have no energy to give to others.
As a chronically ill LYMIE,
the reality of life has caused me to grow up
and make difficult and often painful decisions to decline invitations that I knew would drain the little energy my body possessed… even though I know that my decisions would likely anger or hurt others…and sometimes end a friendship I want to keep.
There are times
when I must remind myself that
with the hope of healing to which I cling,
that allows more social appointments,
more ability to plan ahead and not have to cancel,
and more confidence to travel
will indeed be possible.
The loss of friends and an active social life can cut deep.
That is why I now write my story for others to read,
though some will criticize, judge and may even use the information against me in some way.
As mentioned before
the deep passion that daily burns at my heart and soul
and now drives me to open up
and share information
I vowed never to pass on,
lies in this simple explanation:
I don’t want other young people
to experience the loss of friends, family, and the needed support and encouragement
needed in order to survive
the intense hurt and loneliness
that often occurs due to the chronic Lyme disease that threatens to consume their life.
To those reading this who suffer from chronic Lyme disease…
You are not alone.
It may feel that way
but I want a piece of my soul
to come through each entry in this blog
with the hope that
sharing my intensely personal journey of life with Lyme
will, in turn, touch YOUR soul.
LET’S BE FUN, POSITIVE AND PUT ASIDE OUR HEALTH ISSUES FOR A MOMENT…
NOW, it’s time to think about your dreams…
try not to think about your health and where it might take you in life.
Just think about your dreams.
NOW THAT YOU HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THEM…
- What sort of adventures to you long to experience?
- What is the one, crazy desire you have, such as para-sailing over Hawaii, climbing Mt Everest, writing a book?
- If you could travel to ONE place in the world, where would it be?
- What is your dream job?
- What ONE hobby would you love to spend more time on?
- If you could eat anything and everything, what restaurant would you want to go to? Is it famous, or is it local?
Come on, be creative. Be honest! After all, no one is judging you here… I am just encouraging you to dream for a moment.
Dreams often provide extra determination of spirit and will.
Provided below are some photos to get your mind rolling. So dream LYMIES.