Lyme Disease treatment was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It was frightening, frustrating and so discouraging at times.
WE GET EACH OTHER:
I received a note from one of us – someone caught between the beginning and the end of Chronic Lyme Disease, because no one can understand a Lyme journey like another Lyme warrior. I can't know exactly how she feels, but we all probably have a pretty good idea, give or take some circumstantial details.
Maybe she looks back at all of the typical and not typical things she’s tried and wonders which things worked, or didn’t, or were just plain shots in the dark that seemed like good ideas at the time. Feeling a certain pain in her body she may be wondering if that’s the Lyme, or the co-infections, or the new shoes tweaking her muscles, the too long car ride, or the pain of ten years of hard living behind her. How can she know? How can any of us know? With no definitive test to tell us that we are clear of infection, how can we know?
It’s a lot to ask of us, and it’s hard to accept the uncertainty and the groundlessness and the surreal nature of living with a disease they are still fighting about amongst themselves. Who are they? They are the medical world, the insurance companies, and the political stake holders (as if there should even BE political stake holders in this kind of thing, but let’s face it – there are always political stake holders).
THE NEW MATH:
She asked me for some words of wisdom and I was at a loss because I’m not a doctor, a researcher, or a politician. I’m just a person trying to stay more well than ill. Something that helps me is a new kind of wellness math I concocted. My formula leans heavily on the fact that we exist in three states simultaneously. They are the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual.
It’s a simple formula. One third of me is body and two thirds of me are not.
That means that while I have some (but not as much as I'd like) direct control over and impact on my physical health (and by that I mean, I do what I can do and hope that I am nourishing and nurturing my body, thereby improving my odds for a good physical outcome), it also means that two thirds of me are not my body and I have a lot more control over them both depending on how I use my mind, my intuition, and my faith. Two thirds vs one third. With my new math, suddenly the odds that I can achieve wellness and hold onto it are in my favor. I’m still me. Lyme is still Lyme. Nothing but my perspective has changed, but perspective, some say, is everything.
I’m not one to offer specific advice about Lyme because we are all so different.
What I can do is urge you to please explore the world beyond Lyme because the inescapable truth is Lyme has impacted us... but sometimes, in the throes of the illness and the grieving and the full awareness of such injustices borne of the Lyme Wars, we can forget who we are and what we like and what our interests were before Lyme grabbed ahold of us. We didn't become Lyme when that happened, but sometimes it can feel like we are swirling in the emotional vortex of battle and we become strangers to ourselves. Well. I can't speak for anyone else, but that's what happened to me.
These days I am known for my art, but that wasn’t always the case, and to tell you the truth I never thought of myself as an artist until Lyme happened. It might help you to know that I hoarded art supplies for years before I ever began to seriously play with them. So, if something creative is tugging at your sleeve, my guess is it’s because it wants to give you something. Go with that and see what happens - no expectations. Let go of expectations about the outcome and let it surprise you. The true gift it offers might have very little to do with end products.
MY SHORT LIST:
Personally, these are the things I insist on doing for myself:
- Talking with a therapist when things are hard, and even when things are good;
- Creating and enjoying art and music so that darkness and fear are not in control of my life;
- Giving back to my body what it needs, with gratitude for all it’s done for me; and,
- Nurturing my faith in God and, with that, trying to see Grace in everything. As it turns out, the more I look for it the more I receive.
Want to know what my favorite healing tools for getting out of my head so much and into my heart and soul more are? I love Guided Imagery from Belleruth Naparstek at Health Journeys. Belleruth even let me share my story and favorite go-to audios for Lyme on her blog, linked here.
If you’re not sold on the idea of Guided Imagery and Affirmations, that’s okay. If it helps, I was a hard sell, too. I wrote about that, too, in Affirmations. What’s the Point?
If you are resisting all your creative nudges, I strongly recommend the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, available in book and audio formats.
ONE LAST THING:
Just one more thing and this is maybe the most important part. Please never give up on your ability to regain wellness. Remember - wellness is not just a body thing. Your body is only one third of the equation, and we haven’t even mentioned the good you can do for your body by honoring the other two thirds that are you!