May is Lyme Awareness Month--a month dedicated to educating the public on all facets of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. We thank all of the patients, advocates, and Lyme organizations for their dedication in helping to spread the word and save lives. Here at LymeBrave Foundation, we're taking an unfiltered look at what it's like living with this chronic illness by opening up our journals and sharing the highs and lows of life with Lyme. Join us for our 2018 awareness campaign by helping to #shareyourstory. Contact us to find out how!
Editor's Note: The following appeared as a blog post on Susan's personal website, dated October 24, 2012--six months after her official diagnosis of Lyme disease.
I visited my doctor last week for my six-month check up. Six months. I can hardly believe that so much time has passed already. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember what it was like a few months ago, in those hours of pain and fog, when time seemed suspended, like I was living in limbo with a past and an unstable present but certainly no future to which to cling.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember what it was like just a few short weeks ago, when the depression of this disease plunged me to a depth where even the love of a dog — Riley, who has been my saving grace and one of the few hopes I’ve held onto through all of this — couldn’t reach me.
Time has a funny way of healing — anesthetizing memories and experiences and infusing you with a strength that urges you always onward. And while I can question this suffering, while I can doubt these (many exhausting) lessons as necessary, I know in my heart that what I’ve been healing from is far more important than an insidious disease of the body. And I can finally understand how it took this healing of my body to heal myself…
My mind, my heart, my very soul.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to understand when or how or why it happened. Nearly 300 posts on this blog and I’m still no closer to figuring that part of it out. But somewhere along the way, or maybe even since the beginning, but especially in the clutches of this disease, I began to believe that I was undeserving, that I was unworthy of this world and any of its joys.
I began to believe I was unloved. I began to believe I wasn’t special.
And while I’ve always seen the world as beautiful, as magical, as full of life and love and hope, I never believed that those things were meant for me.
Those thoughts seeped into my heart like a poison where they remained, festering for years. And no affirmations, no compliments, no prayers or mantras and certainly no one could draw that poison back out.
We are our own worst enemy on our darkest days. But only when we’ve had enough — when the heart has been wounded for the last time, when we finally see the truth reflected in the mirror, when we stop hiding from ourselves — can we be our own fierce warrior.
Beneath the heavy curtain of long, cold nights, I cried out for purpose. In the clarity of morning, I’ve found reason.
I’m beginning to recognize the beauty in myself again — both body and soul.
I’m beginning to feel the fire in my belly, once reduced to mere embers, now burn with a passion for dreams and people and even life itself, fueled with intent and propelling me towards a future and healing that I never believed was meant for me. A future that could have been reduced to ashes if I had let it.
I wouldn’t let it.
I’m beginning to find confidence that I had once buried in exchange for modesty, erroneously rejecting that confidence, mistaking it too easily for ego.
I’m believing now. I’m believing in me. And I’m finding the joy of vulnerability, that there is love in the mending…
And there is strength in a once-fragile heart.
- - - Will you show the world you're LymeBrave and join us for our Lyme Awareness Month campaign? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help#shareyourstory!