Lyme, empathy, and trying to only leave the first behind.

hoach-le-dinh-91879-unsplash.jpg

When you compare Lyme Disease to non-terminal cancer it makes people uncomfortable, because most people don’t realize how intense and disabling the symptoms of Lyme Disease are. It’s understandable, but that doesn’t change the fact that Lyme is that terrible of an illness. It put me through so much pain I would lay in the tub for thirty minutes before working up the energy to bathe myself while sitting. It was agonizing, it dropped me head first into depression. It was life altering, in a terrible way that makes you a better person much later on, once the worst is over and you can see the light.

I’ve been depressed before. I’ve been depressed more times than would be considered normal, because I also have bipolar disorder and depression just kind of comes with it. But this was a different kind of depression that I had never known.

Every time I’ve spiraled down it’s given me empathy when I emerge. I feel for people struggling with their mental health because I can at least start to understand it having struggled myself. Lyme’s gave me empathy for people struggling with their physical health, something I hadn’t really known to this level. It helped me understand the pain of others. How broken certain systems are. And it got me eye to eye, face to face, with a whole different level of suffering.

It’s not something I want to forget, though it was terrible, though I never want to have to feel anything like it again, it’s not something I want to forget. I want to keep this deep empathy. I want to stay alert to peoples suffering. And I want to do all of this while also allowing myself to move on once I get completely better.

Continue reading