Whenever I go back to my old school and see all the kids laughing and hanging out, I wonder what it would be like to be one of them. When I go see my friends perform, I wonder what it would be like to be on stage with them. I guess I will never know what it’s like to be a “normal” kid in high school. That’s okay though. I get an experience most people don’t get. Yes it can be lonely sometimes, but I have also met people I wouldn’t have. I have met my physical therapist who is now one of my friends. I have met my Lyme friends. I have met doctors and nurses; some good, some bad. I have gotten to see how people react to chronic illness and disabilities. I have seen how awkward and ignorant people can be with these two things. I have seen that as humans we don’t like to see each other suffer, so often we don’t know how to respond to illness.
I have learned about myself. I have learned how strong I am. That even if I think I am at my limit, I can continue on. I have learned who in my life matters to me, who cares about me, who knows how to deal with my chronic illness. I have learned how to let go and be okay with asking for help. I have seen fellow Lyme warriors who have gone through so much, yet they’re not giving up. I have learned how important love, compassion, patience, empathy, and kindness are. These things can make all the difference when going through hard times. I accept my illness and I’m okay with where I am. Yes I want to get better, but I know that everyone has struggles and this is one of mine. It’s okay to need help. It’s okay to be vulnerable. I used to think that I always had to be strong, and pretend that everything was okay. Now I know that it is okay to cry and be upset. But after you breakdown you have to pick yourself back up and keep going. I think that a lot of people think that being strong means that you can never show weakness. To me being strong is when you can be vulnerable and then keep living with hope. I think that it’s brave when people show emotions that others consider weak. I recently have been crying more in front of my family. I realized it’s good to be able to breakdown in front of people who care about you. It’s important to trust that they will be there for you and comfort you. I’ve also started being more honest with people about what is going on with me. I used to think that I shouldn’t share things about my disease, because it makes people uncomfortable. Now I understand that if I’m not honest, there is no way for people to know how I am. I want to educate people on Lyme disease and the only way to do that is to talk about it.