If you asked me during my senior year of high school where I’d see myself in four years, I would of told you graduating from college or holding a steady job. Family and friends would have jokingly said I would’ve been married. Well, here it is, four years since high school. I’m almost 22, I haven’t gone to college, the only relationship I have is with my bed (or sometimes the couch), and I’m trying to get back on my feet again from Lyme Disease. Literally.
Sometimes Lyme Disease makes you feel like the enemy. People start avoiding you like the plague, thinking they can “catch” Lyme just by being in the same room with you. It also makes you feel like the enemy when friends and loved ones have trouble understanding and just ignore you all together. A good friend got me to crack a smile by saying “It’s not your fault, it’s the damn bacteria’s fault!”.
With any illness, you experience frustration frequently. There are times you want to scream on the top of your lungs and shout out a few obscenities while you’re at it, too. Sometimes you don’t even feel the tears rolling down your face, you’re just completely numb to everything. Friends (that is, if you have any left) and loved ones ask you what’s wrong, you start to tell them even though they won’t understand, and explode. Voices are raised, blood pressure goes up, and regret of asking you what’s wrong is all you can see in their glazed over eyes. Why must it be this difficult? I’ll tell you why–we’re only human. This is how we react, how we defend, this is how we fight. We gnaw at each other no matter what the situation, grasping for an answer that we’ll never get.
You learn a lot about yourself when you’re confined inside every day. You realize things and everything comes into focus more, in a way. Sure, you’re lost and have no idea what you future may hold even the slightest, but you think about the small, simple things in life and cherish those moments even more than before. It also makes you feel left out. Not like elementary school they-won’t-let-me-play-with-them kind of left out, the cut out from people’s lives entirely kind. You feel ignored, worthless–like you’re an item on the half price shelf that no one wants to buy. You over hear conversations, happy laughter-filled conversations and wonder why you can’t be a part of that, why they can’t include you too.
You’re going to have days where you just feel like giving up. Family and loved ones are eventually going to run out of supporting words to say to keep you from falling apart. You’ll get tired of eating because you’re just sick of feeling so sick. What happens when it feels like this is it, when it feels like this is all you have to look forward to? You hang on to something. Anything. You know that dream or goal that seems to be only getting farther and farther out of reach? You don’t let go of it. No matter what, never let go of it. “Hold on to those dreams, there the one thing they can’t take away.” (Memorial Day -Dropkick Murphys). Whether it’s to start up a hobby again you treasured so much or to go back to school, you need that to hang on to, especially when you feel like you’ve been dealt your last card. I would have graduated from college this year just like the rest of Class of 2007 did. I haven’t even had the chance to go yet. The closest I got was signing up for classes at the local community college and a couple of years later, enrolling in a university. I attended one day of classes at the community college and had to withdraw my enrollment at the university. I’m hoping the next time I try again, I’ll finally be able to conquer my dream. And you too, will try and try again, fall and get back up, and most importantly, you’ll look back on all of this and be extremely grateful for not giving up. Even though you couldn’t see it roll out as your future, you hanged on to it with something more powerful than the mind; your heart.
When change happens, everyone always says it’s for the best, a chance to start over. I’d say the same thing if it ever worked out that way, but it hasn’t yet. How do you see being seriously ill as a positive change? When you go from living your life, following your dreams to being bedridden for months, it’s quite difficult to cope with such change. Maybe it will make you see things from a different light. Maybe you’ll start appreciating life more. Never take a day of your life for granted, no matter how bad it gets. “Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it’d be worth it.”
We WILL get the treatment we deserve.
Healing thoughts and prayers to all-