A Letter to Myself, Fighting Lyme

Hi Liz,

Good to hear from you, if you’re writing that means you’re probably out of a darker phase.  That’s how it was for me anyway.  Sleep was how I started noticing that something was wrong.  I’m pretty good at ignoring pain during the day by staying busy, but laying in bed everything just throbbed and my fingers would go numb sometimes.  Icing down at bedtime used to help me a lot.  Also, planning time for meditation before bedtime to silence my worrying mind was probably more important… but it’s hard to even meditate when your joints are throbbing.  This email ended up being a little more metaphysical than the last one, but I’ve been writing a book of faerie tales and my mind is kind of in the archetypal realm.
I reached out to some Lyme sufferers in Austin and for one, there are very few, and for two, they are just that.  Sufferers.  They are not Fighters or Recoverers, they were just Sufferers and they were stuck there.  I didn’t meet everyone, just a few key members of a group that has dissolved with worsening conditions.  That is the worst thing about this disease, and probably the most pernicious.  It diminishes the Spirit.  Not to get too far out, but from how I see it now fighting Lyme was like fighting death, except the fight is completely unknown and hidden from everyone.  I used to get angry at cancer patients because they had so much moral support and positive language around their recovery.  In Lyme there are only words like, unknown, chronic, lasting fatigue, reoccurring, infection, multiple-infections and hidden fatalities.  How anyone recovers from this disease is a miracle, as everything is stacked against you.  You have to overcome, and also see that some of this disease is in your mind and in your heart.  Unfortunately that also means having to clean and detox your mind and heart, not just the body.  It happens as soon as we allow it to happen, but we have to really, deeply allow ourselves to be healed.
That’s the other part about Lyme that makes it’s a difficult adversary.  It doesn’t come at you all at once, it comes as you slowly like a boiling frog.  This is the part where you have to know when to jump out of the pot and become your own guardian angel.  You need to know when enough is enough, when it’s time to tap out and wrap yourself in warm blankets, have a cup of tea and close your eyes.  You run your life and your time, no one else.  I remember feeling that on top of the Lyme was so much pressure, like being deep underwater.  The pressure was the weigh of my expectations for myself, other’s perceptions of me, losing what little money, status, employment that I had and sinking into an unknown and terrifying place called “dependent loserdom.”  I fought these shadow monsters more than the Lyme and it wore me out and made me sicker.  I had to confront these boogeymen and call them what they are.  Illusions.  The only way an illusion has any power is if I give it, the only way an illusion goes away is if I call it by it’s true name.  So I started naming them.  There was my mom’s less than subtle implications that I was insane and she would have to take care of me for the rest of my life.  There was the sadness in my father’s eye that he tried to hide.  There was the boss at work who really liked me but couldn’t give me any more sick time.  There were the urgent care staff, who knew me on a first name basis.  I took them apart one by one and just accepted them and stopped feeling bad or guilty or angry about them.  I spoke to my dad candidly about how I was suffering and how he could help and I saw something different in his eyes, hope.  I saw that my mother would love me and take care of me for the rest of my life, no matter how twisted or deformed I had become.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you need to give Lyme the status it’s due.  You are fighting an epic battle, complete with demons and sorcery.  You’re fighting the fight of all fights, the fight for your very life.  Don’t let Lyme fool you that he can be managed or kept down. He must be cast out for harmony to be restored, and you’re the one who has to do it.  You can do it, and you will do it.
I don’t know if you ever got into the Wrinkle in Time Trilogy but Madeleine L’Engle included this prayer in the book, A Swiftly Tilting Planet.  I posted it in my room and it is powerful for me in dark times.
At Tara in this fateful hour,
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And the fire with all the strength it hath,
And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the wind with its swiftness along its path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the Earth with its starkness
All these I place
By God’s almighty help and grace
Between myself and the powers of darkness
And then you defeated the black smoke dragon and lived happily ever after.  In the meantime, though, let’s go out for some tea at the Steeping Room?
Take care,
Liz
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