Being LymeBrave is a new blog series featuring writers who are turning their passions into purpose and transforming their experiences with Lyme disease into something positive. Follow along as we share the stories of Lyme patients and caregivers who are being brave in the face of illness.
I stood outside recently talking to a friend on a glorious fall day, wearing big rubber boots, grey baggy sweatpants, and a large hand-me-down sweatshirt. I had been lamenting for several minutes about my life. The stress. Feeling pulled in too many different directions, so many things I just couldn’t handle. And, for lack of better words, how unkempt and ugly I felt now. As I waved my hand down over myself, I declared, “Look at me!”
My friend gestured at me and responded nonchalantly, “What do you mean? Baffin boots and
sweatpants. You look like the same girl to me.”
Immediately I stopped, and for a second I was stunned…because, it was true. Back before my illnesses seemed to take full control of my life, I could often be found stomping around in my green working boots and practical clothes- it was true. So, then looking at myself now, why was it so different--why did I feel so “ugly?”
My mind quickly drifted back to cold NY winters where I would put out and check trail cameras in the forest, purely for research purposes, making my way there and back in those rubber boots and similar attire. Then came more memories of spending many a-days working in the woods for my family’s maple syrup business. Clomping through mud and muck, maneuvering through brush thickets and prickers, and breathing in the wild air. Again, necessity called for similar attire, and I relished in it. So, what was different?
People with chronic lyme, all tick-borne diseases, and other chronic conditions that accompany them, frequently feel less-than, not good enough, unworthy, and low self-esteem on an incomprehensible magnitude. We too-often lose ourselves and feel like just a shell of the person we used to be, or even a person at all, and are unable to recognize the human that stares back at us in the mirror.
Grieving--it’s what you have to do when you have these multi-systemic illnesses. You grieve for so much, for your whole life that you’ve lost. The life that’s been ripped from you. For the family functions you can’t attend. For the people you’ve let down, and those who’ve let you down. For the friends you no longer have. For the passions you feel as though you can’t pursue. For the conversations lost because you don’t have the strength or capacity to withhold them. For the dreams that have withered away. For the understanding you just don’t have. For the physical and mental capabilities that don’t sustain you. For a life, your life, that was once living, and now just surviving.
No one can prepare you for this. For what it’s like. I am still grieving, every day. However, sometimes a hard road can lead you in a right direction. Finding a purpose through this mess is important for someone with Lyme, but when it results from something you love, it’s even better.
STAY TUNED NEXT WEEK FOR PART TWO OF MEG'S POST!
Meg Walling is a passionate, strong-willed, country-at-heart, conscientious nature lover from rural Upstate NY. She was diagnosed with Lyme and co-infections in early 2014 after going undiagnosed and misdiagnosed for a large portion of her life. Chronic illness is life changing on so many levels, but Meg is living by trying to turn these circumstances into a positive one. Want to know more about Meg? Find her on social media! Instagram: @meg.walling Facebook: Wellness Inspired Stay tuned next week for a special offer from Meg's Beautycounter business or shop now: www.beautycounter.com/megwalling | All proceeds benefit Meg's Lyme disease treatment.