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Why I Surround Myself With Positivity as a Woman With Lyme Disease

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A year or so ago, while speaking to someone about being in treatment, they suggested I make a vision board. I let it slip through our talk without further mention and went along catching up with our lives and talking about other mundane topics. After that discussion, I thought about the vision board more. The simple suggestion stuck in my mind like glue and I kept thinking about it over the next few weeks.

Honestly, a lot of this back and forth thought was my own ego. I felt like I was regressing back to my teenage years when I hung photos of bands I liked on my wall and decorated my room with images I loved. Opening my mind a little I figured, why not, and got a cork board, some thumb tacks and began cutting photos up and hanging them on it.

This board has sat in my room now for over two years. When people stop by to visit, I can become a little embarrassed when they ask what it is all about, but as time passes on, I grow rather confident about it. There are pictures of Norway and Europe, a photo of a group of people at a bonfire, a few of people at a concert, a train going through Brooklyn, all things I love and want in my life. Simple things, things I can see flowing back into my life more and more currently.


Being in the later stages of treatment for Lyme, recently I have been adding in more and more positive outlets in the Lyme world. Many times during treatment, I thought about why there was not a group specifically for counseling Lyme patients. I often felt unheard and like a lot of doctors and therapists were not hearing me. It would take me a handful of visits with my therapist to explain the complexity of my illness.

Having myself surrounded by people who understood was something crucial for me. I have such great support, but Lyme is a complex and complicated disease. Each patient is different. When we do find that person who understands, sometimes without even words, and when words are used they are simple, it is just as healing as years and months of treatment.

I am a highly independent person and I have a bit of a strong personality. I like doing things myself, learning things on my own and I have a hard time using that simple phrase “I need help.” That is something I have worked hard on over the years and it flows to me much more easily now. I have learned to use my words. I used to think asking for help was a sign of weakness. I felt doing it on my own would leave me with a feeling of accomplishment and success.

The more I go on in life asking for help, the more I have learned it is quite the opposite. Asking for help has many benefits. It has taught me the beauty of including others as an extension of myself, it has taught me to see things from someone else’s point of view and it has taught me to feel strong for admitting I needed help. Sharing what I needed help with is humbling and an open opportunity for others to share that they too need help in return. It helps others to see we all are human and asking for help is OK.

Keeping ourselves surrounded by positive images, friends and family who support us and learning to ask for help is key to having a strong foundation. With that being said, there will be the less-than-good days, and those times are important to share too. The key I have yet to perfect myself is finding that balance, but along the way, searching for that balance, I have learned more than I could have hoped for. Staying positive and surrounding yourself with things that inspire you is a beautiful habit, but asking for help can be just as beautiful too. I keep my feed on my social media like my image board. When I have days where I am not feeling my best, I like to flood my mind with pictures of friends, artwork and things that make me feel good.

When I came upon Woman & Lyme, I was really excited and eager to see what the movement was about and eager to have such a great outlet for many of us living with this disease. It was inspiring to see a sanctuary for many of us who have felt the same as me and it being projected in such a positive light. This left me with a feeling of hope, and I think it will leave many others with the same feeling too.

This post originally appeared on Woman & Lyme.

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Thinkstock photo via MikeLaptev.

Originally published: June 10, 2017
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