One thing I truly love about writing is that I get to be completely real. We all have struggles and trials in our lives, and yet we cease to talk about them. We paste on a fake smile and play the tough guy while inside we're falling apart. Well my writing is my safe zone to be real. No fake smiles, no masks, no reminiscence of a barbie doll, and no sugar coating. Just me and my inner most thoughts and feelings; imperfections and all. Sometimes coping isn't possible if you can't get your thoughts and feelings straight, and I suppose that this is my way of saying "Hey, I'm real. I'm a human being. No, I don't look perfect right now. Yes I'm in pain right now. And yes, I did just spend my entire day in bed because of my chronic illness and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that."
With that said, I'm going to be completely real with you now. The holidays are not easy. They never have been. Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas, and I acknowledge the most important parts of the holidays. But even then, there are some days that I'm in too much emotional and physical pain to care about the holiday season at all. Two Christmases ago, my mother was so sick that she could barely get out of bed to spend Christmas morning with us. Since then it feels like the domino effect has taken place in my home and family life. Just one thing after another. What do I have to be thankful for when I don't even really have the strength or motivation to get out of bed on some mornings? How do I put the happy into the holidays when knives are stabbing me in the stomach and my legs feel like they're going to give out at any moment? Where's the merry in Christmas when I'd rather do anything but lie in pain, but my chronic fatigue rather have me lay in bed. I was doing so much better for a couple of weeks, and then it's almost as if my Lyme got bored and decided to torture me for its own sick joy.
A few nights ago I lay on my floor, wincing in pain, and praying for some relief. The tears burned down my smeared face and discouragement flooded my mind and heart. All I wanted was a form of rest at that moment. With Chronic illness sleep (if you can obtain it) is your best friend. Your brief escape. Your peace of mind for the time being. I'm so grateful that even despite all the pain I feel, I'm still able to sleep soundly and forget my agony for a small moment. And with that, there are so many more small moments in life that I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of.
Coping with chronic illness is all about looking to the small moments. I'm so grateful for my family and close friends that I have that bless me with those small memories of joy during a hard time in my life. Life is not all bliss, but seeing the bright side of even the smallest things will bring just enough light into life to make it through the day. So to all that are struggling through the holidays, (or anytime of the year in that case) you're not alone. You're loved, and I pray that every small moment of joy will flood your heart which in turn will allow sorrow to flee from your mind. Look to the little bits of joy that life brings. It's those things that will get you through your hardest times. I hope your holiday season to be full of love, and I hope we can all find Christ in Christmas. I wish you enough strength to get through the holiday season. Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas.
I feel like I'm running an eternal marathon against life. I run in one direction, as my dreams continually whisk further from my aching and overexerted body. How do you follow your dreams when your body is constantly fighting against everything you ever wanted? I feel as though all odds are against me and I'm ready to collapse in a defeated heap.
A herxheimer reaction is the immune system's reaction to toxins and bacteria being killed within the body. It's usually the reaction to a Lyme patient's treatment. Lyme doctors and patients usually refer to herxheimer reactions as "herxing." There were many days and nights that I watched my mom suffer through herxing as I silently suffered with her as an emotional reaction to that heartbreaking image. Now as I experience it myself, I realize how miserable life can really be.
When I was little I would come home crying with a scraped knee, and as mom provided adequate comfort and healing my tears would slowly fade away, along with the pain that enveloped my knee. Oh how I wish life was that easy now. Along with extreme anxiety comes the feeling of abandonment, heartbreak, and discouragement. As the tears come, they don't fade so easy. Neither does the pain that is reminiscent of a knife gouging out my heart. At times I feel as if I've fallen in a deep hole of total darkness, and there is no way out. There's times when I'm stuck in utter despondency and I feel my heart being crushed under the pressure of reminders that I'm sick, useless, and undesirable. Severe anxiety isn't something to take lightly. Not when utter despair surrounds the very soul that you base your entire existence around.
Herxing doesn't just come in physical pain. Although, that's also a major part of it. A herx for me is like a knife to the heart along with all of the physical pain that comes with it. Dizziness, nausea, headaches, weakness, trembling, chills... I'm feel like I'm losing my mind at times. As if it's slowly fading along with my body. I'm exhausted, and simply tired of being tired. After all those years of watching my mother suffer and not knowing to the full extent what she was going through, I agonize with her now because I'm literally feeling her pain. My mother is so graceful and eloquent in her method of suffering, and this disease has truly made her stronger and gloriously beautiful.
I want to fight this thing. I want to fight until my fighting capacity is weakened to almost nothing. I want to fight until the light of healing pierces through me. I want to come out alive and strong, just like my mother. I truly believe that I can beat this, and be completely healed with proper patience, long suffering, and enduring to the end. As I once lay awake in the middle of the night I thought to myself, "Through this trial I will cleave to my Savior so hard that no intangible substance, no person, and no illness can cut me down. And through Him, my burdens will be lifted, peace will flood my soul, and I will be healed." I'll never forget that spiritual confirmation that all will be okay in the end. Just because things are bad now, does not mean that they will be for forever. And even through my darkest of times I still believe that life is beautiful. I still believe that beauty and light can be found in every minescule crevice that life has to offer. There is light everywhere, it just has to be seen. Life is beautiful, and so is suffering.