Choosing to Be Visible in the Face of Lyme Disease

By Mikayla Vacher

One of the hardest parts of being chronically “invisibly” sick revolves around image. I have been sick for over 10 years now and yet if you were to pass me in the street, you’d never have a clue of the challenges I face day in and day out. People don’t seem to comprehend that you don’t have to look sick to be sick. Illnesses come in far too many different forms, and for me, it’s on the inside.

My body has been slowly killing itself but physically you’d never know. I am a petite, 20-something-year-old that some may call fit or even beautiful, but goodness do I feel harshly different. I have learned that with my image of a “healthy” looking female, I am forced to render the harsh backlash of ignorance and doubt.

“But you don’t look sick.”

Just because I can fake a smile and force myself to escape the isolation for an hour doesn’t mean I am not fighting off the demons internally and am not in a relentless amount of pain. If you could just see how I feel rather than how I look, life with a chronic “invisible” illness may be that much easier.

After years of living with my illness I’ve learned to accept and live with it. I have hope for remission or a “cure,” but I have accepted that this is my now and I must either choose to live this way or give up.

I choose to live.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo via Moof on Getty Images

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Lyme Disease

A couple walking down a road as rain falls own and they're covered by an umbrella.

The Truth About Love When You Have a Chronic Illness

My husband and I had what everyone in high school and college always told me never existed: A love so synchronous and symbiotic that we were in one moment, both the best of friends, and the deepest of lovers. There was never a time when we doubted the love of the other or felt that [...]
A tired and frustrated looking student sitting at her desk.

What It's Like Being an Ivy League Student With Lyme Disease

Eight a.m. My alarm blares. I wake up as exhausted as I was when I went to sleep. At least I slept last night. I sit up, fighting the sharp pain radiating down my back. Sunlight streams through my blinds, and I wince as it touches my eyes and stabs into my head like a [...]
"suffering the silence" painted on a woman's arms

How My Internship Gave Me Purpose While Living With Lyme Disease

When I became sick with Lyme disease in September 2015, my life was seemingly put on hold. I was forced to withdraw from college just 19 days into my freshman year. I didn’t have a job and my lack of stamina barred me from getting one. I was unable to care for myself, unable to shower [...]
A close-up of an African American woman with curly hair, looking towards the ground.

When Your Chronically Ill Friend Doesn't Meet Your Expectations

Last year on my birthday I spent the nights partying and celebrating. Then I spent the days throwing up, fighting extreme fatigue, experiencing water faucet diarrhea and an overall general, “I’m miserable feeling.” And no, it was not just a hangover. I bet you’re wondering, “Well, why did you keep going out if you got so [...]