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How Identifying My Illness Has Helped Me Begin to Heal

Right now I’m lying in my bed wishing I could make it to my classes for today. It seems like such a waste of money to pay for classes I can’t attend because my body is having a hard day.

This has been my life longer than I can remember, but what scares me is that it’s starting to get worse. I’ve been quick to tire but rarely get restful sleep for as long as I know – but now that exhaustion makes it so that some days I wake up without the energy to move my body. The aches and pains have become more chronic and more intense, but finally we know the name of this exhausting illness that has stolen so much from me.

Lyme disease. Who would’ve guessed that two little words would steal my vocabulary and my ability to understand what people are saying to me? That it would steal away friends who couldn’t deal with me being sick? I feel like I’ve lost so much sometimes that I waste my precious energy crying on the floor because climbing into my bed is too daunting a task.

We think I contracted Lyme disease 17-18 years ago, too young to really recognize what was wrong but old enough to be independent. I mourn at times what my life might have become had that tick never bitten me, but giving it a name has brought little bits of healing already.

It’s given me the understanding I needed to be able to love my body again. Instead of beating myself up for not reaching the standards I set for myself, I know now that my body is trying so hard to keep going that I can pause and give it time to recharge instead of constantly pushing it beyond its limits and chastising it when it doesn’t succeed.

There’s power in knowing its name. There’s tears and fear, but comfort seems to come just from knowing now that it has a name, I must not be making it up and there are doctors out there who will hear me and they will help me.

Today might be a hard day, but it just means my body is fighting harder than it normally should have to and that’s what makes it strong.

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Thinkstock photo via OGri.