Yes, so your life sucks. You’re broke, jobless, and you have nobody with whom to cuddle because you’re too sick to get out and meet people. Nope, you seem to have no purpose in life except to exist like a mushroom in the ground, hoping that whoever stops by doesn’t end up squashing you. And you spend your days feeling like the Super Mac Bulldozer has run over your brain and body. You truly have a right to some fresh Brie, a liter of red Whine, and a thousand guests at your Pity Party.
Thank God for pity parties! What would you do without a dozen other Lyme sufferers to whip out their violins and play a daily concerto for you on the Yahoo! support groups. However would you survive without those at church, who lay hands on you every week and pray for your healing?
What would you do without your telephone and barf bag buddies who are always there to receive your innards whenever you need to let it all out?
At least you aren’t alone. And thank goodness that the government and your Aunt Maddie are helping you with your living expenses, since you are so feeble and frail and can’t make it on your own.
What would you do without your warm blankie of self-righteousness? Boy, doesn’t it feel good? You can wrap it ever more tightly about yourself every time a friend of yours gets married, gets a promotion, or otherwise experiences some stroke of good fortune that you, of course, know you’ll never get because you have Lyme disease and that means a life of disaster.
Yet, you concede a bit of thanks to God for the small charities of your friends and family, who enable your survival on Scary Planet Earth.
Okay, at this stage I give you the right to spit in my face. But I’m not trying to downplay what you’re going through. I need the violins and intoxicating red whine, too. I need the charity of others, and I believe that God intended for us to bear one another’s burdens. It’s okay to need a Linus blanket or a shoulder or an ear.
But here’s the thing. Illness does this deceptive thing with the charity we receive and our difficult position as Lyme disease sufferers, if we aren’t careful.
Ladies and Lyme Gents, it takes charity and dependency and turns us into victims.
By encouraging us to depend upon others, it quietly sends the message that we aren’t capable of taking care of ourselves.
By calling ourselves, “Lymies” (and I am guilty of using this term often), and “Disabled,” it urges us to assume a victimizing new identity that precludes us from finding health.
By allowing us to complain to others, we are given a license to not do anything about our mucky lot in life. It’s easier to complain and solicit compassion than it is to find the good in the day and work towards healing. Wallowing is disempowering.
By staying sick, we don’t have to worry about facing all that we could do and become when we heal.
By reiterating our difficulties, the idea of “poor me”, continues to thrive in our minds and bodies. And we can’t heal without first killing “poor me,” something a victim would never dare to do!
By blaming our parents, our spouse, or our uncle George for our illness, we’ve handed the government of our bodies over to them for their rule.
But the greatest lie in the world is that others “make us” angry, sad or sick. If we truly assumed power over our lives and well-being, we would know that how we respond to the uncle George’s of the world will determine whether we are victors or victims.
Healing, in the end, may be the difference between choosing and allowing ourselves to be chosen.
Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s easy to fall into the victim trap. And Lyme requires us, time and time again, to rely heavily upon others. But we must decide that handing over the power of our happiness to external circumstances is victimizing and counter-productive to healing. This is a comforting thought for me, since much of life is outside of our control, anyway.
What we are in control of is our minds, which is what ultimately crowns us Victor or Victim. So will you be a Poor Disabled Lymie, or a healthy soul with a few physical symptoms? You decide.