Lyme Disease treatment was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It was frightening, frustrating and so discouraging at times.
I received a note from a reader who has Lyme Disease and co-infections, living somewhere between the beginning and end of the roller coaster ride. I think it's safe to say that no one can understand a Lyme journey like another Lyme warrior. I can't know exactly how she feels, but probably have a pretty good idea, give or take some circumstantial details.
Maybe she looks back at all of the things she’s tried in the name of healing, wondering what worked, what helped, what harmed, or what seems unwise in retrospect that seemed like a good idea at the time. Feeling a certain pain in her body, she may wonder if that’s the Lyme, or the co-infections, or maybe she has a new pair of shoes that are tweaking her muscles, or was it the result of a too long car ride, or the ten years of hard living behind her? Any of those may have caused the discomfort. How can she know? How can any of us know? With no test to tell if we are clear of infection, how can we know?
It’s a lot to ask, and it’s hard to accept the uncertainty and groundlessness of living with a disease they are still fighting about among themselves. Who are they? They include but, are not limited to, doctors, 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).
This reader asked 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.
She did get me thinking deeply, though. What was it that helped me the most?
There is a sort of wellness math I concocted, and that sure helps me bounce back. My formula leans heavily on the generally accepted notion that we exist in three states, simultaneously: the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual.
Looking at it that way, it's easy to be encouraged! One third of me is body, but two thirds of me are not.
Obviously, I can have a fair amount of direct impact on my physical state. However, and why didn't I think of this before, the bigger side of me... the two thirds of me that are not my body, tip the scales in my favor depending on how I use my intuition, my mind, and my faith.
Two thirds vs one third. I like my new math.
Lyme is still Lyme, but I am still me, too. With this new math, only my perspective has changed, but perspective, some say, is everything.
Here is what I told her, more or less, and what I want to tell you, too. I'm not sure how wise it is but, if it can help anyone pull up out of the mud, then it's worth sharing.
Dear Fellow Lyme Warriors,
I’m not one to offer specific advice about Lyme protocols and treatments because we are all so different.
What I can do is urge you to please explore the world beyond Lyme. No, we can't ignore what is happening. The inescapable truth is Lyme has impacted us. However, in the throes of the illness and the grieving and the emotions swirling around 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 we lose sight of that fact while swirling in the emotional vortex of battle. We can become strangers to ourselves. Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but that's what happened to me.
Please, say yes to the desire for those things that nourish your creative side (and we all have a creative side), even if you're just watching YouTube tutorials from the sofa! You may develop an interest you never even considered.
These days I am known for my art, but that hasn’t always been 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. Let go of expectations about the outcome and let it surprise you.
Personally, these are the things I try hard to do:
Outside of art and music, my favorite healing tools, for getting out of my head so much and into my heart and soul more, are Guided Imagery from Belleruth Naparstek at Health Journeys. I love telling people about how her work has helped.
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 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. You might also find some help in The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. That one lead to some huge discoveries for me and maybe you'll find treasures there, too.
Just one more thing and this is may be 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 talked about the good you can do for your body by honoring the other two thirds that are you!