Four Benefits of Having Chronic Lyme
It’s so easy to talk about the horrors of having chronic late-stage Lyme, especially since so many people don’t know what it is, or how devastating it can be to your life. This paltry level of awareness makes sufferers want to shout from the rooftops: See me! Understand my pain! Recognize my awesomeness for carrying on throughout this horribly devastating disease!!
It’s easy to go there. After all, life with a chronic illness IS hard and SHOULD be recognized. But like all things in life, there is yin and yang. And as much as there are days when all I can do is mutter “why, God, why” from the confines of my couch, I have to admit there have been some significant upgrades to, well, moi, that I didn’t have before. And chances are, you have them too.
Discipline. Sure, I was always a hard worker. But now I have an insane amount of focus, because having a chronic illness and committing to doing everything in your power to overcome it takes incredible discipline. It also goes hand in hand with the second trait I’ve had to develop to combat chronic Lyme.
Tenacity. Mandalf often shakes his head and tells me how well I’m handling this, or how patient I am. Well, it’s not that I’m patient, and it’s not that I’m magically handling this well, it’s that I believe I have only two choices here: cultivate a tenacious spirt that keeps me going, or give up and becoming a colossal waste of space. I choose option #1.
Empathy. I have greater empathy now for the troubles of others, and I’ve learned not to make judgements or assumptions based off appearances. After all, I probably look completely healthy when you meet me sitting down, perhaps just a bit tired, and you would never know that my nervous system is as fried as the Millennium Falcon’s hyperdrive.
Purpose. I have had to redefine myself, and learn how I can matter while living in a body that is disabled. It’s forced me to get creative, work around problems; it drives my ambition and self-worth. Without a clear purpose, I’d be lost… and the funny thing is, before I got sick, I was running around so crazily that I never would have noticed if I was living with purpose or not. I was just going from A-B.
(Searching for greater purpose in your life? Click here to check out this awesome guide: “Your Life On Purpose” by Mark W. Guay.)
It’s easy to go negative when you’ve been sick for weeks, months, or in my case, years. And don’t get me wrong, this is not a commercial for how great it is to be chronically ill. I wake up each day knowing I have a fight ahead of me, and I do everything in my power to get well again. This experience has defined my life. But like all things in life…
It ain’t all bad.
Okay, that may not apply to all things…. hard to see the upside to puppy kicking…
So in closing, I ask you: What has your chronic illness given you?