I had a bizarre thing happen today. I told God I didn’t care anymore whether I would ever heal 100% in my physical body. Just as long as He would sustain me somehow. The prayer was borne out of resignation, but no depression accompanied it. This was strange, given that I have always struggled mightily to overcome my illness, refusing to accept less than a full remission from symptoms. Where my progress has stagnated, I have always devised new protocol, determined to kick the pants off borrelia and all of the other slithering parasitic organisms that conspire to suck the life out of me.
Since day one, I have refused to give up my entire young adult life to this disease. I promised myself that I would fight it, as much as it would be within my power to do so, believing that if I just tried hard enough, I could retain some of my youthful vitality, before age set new restrictions upon my ability to do things.
I was 30 years old when this thing really took me down. I’m halfway to 34 now, and as I feel my young adult years slipping away from me, I feel my expectations for a full recovery sliding away from me, too. It’s not that I don’t want to be well, but this hoping and trying and striving and aching with disappointment when my symptoms flare is starting to feel as detrimental to my health as the illness.
Maybe you can empathize with me. You don’t want to resign, but you want to be okay with your life as it is right now. You don’t want to be besieged by disappointment every time your symptoms flare. You want to find fulfillment in taking walks instead of needing to run a marathon; you want to know that life doesn’t have to end just because you now get 12 hours of productive time in your day instead of 16. That maybe you don’t need to be sad just because you can no longer stay up late or go dancing like you used to. Surely, you can lead a full life without all the things that you once considered necessary for happiness.
Go ahead, rebel at this idea. I do, because I don’t believe that 33-year-olds are supposed to be sedentary. At the same time, I know that if I want to enjoy life now, I need to stop living for the day when my physical body will be totally healed, and find joy in the new blueprint of my life because I gain nothing by aching for circumstances to be different.
Yes, I am certain that life would be more enjoyable if we were completely healed. After all, how can your days not be darkened when you are plagued by pain and psychiatric problems? In your quest for healing, however, try to avoid getting stuck into the rut of believing that the grass is a thousand times greener in the pastures of health. Surely, it is some finer chew. But probably not as much as you think, and not so much that you should conclude that your life is worthless until you get to that place.
Make a list of all the things you enjoy doing now that you couldn’t do before. The fiction novels you’ve been able to read, the great movies you’ve watched. The time you’ve spent helping others to recover from Lyme, and the multitude of valuable lessons that you’ve learned as a result of your tragedy. This will help you to cultivate gratitude for your life, and enable you to see that even with Lyme disease, life is worth living. Then, if you can find a balance between being okay with your life as you yet strive for total health, then this is, perhaps, the best recipe for contentment.