TOUCHED BY LYME: “Chronically ill friends–I know you. I believe you. I understand you.”

16th October 2012

michelle holderman

Heartfelt encouragement from the writer of "My Lyme Symphony."

By Michelle Holderman

I know you.

I know how sick you are. I know how hard it is. I know the crazy roller coaster ride you’re on. I know how getting out of bed is more than you have energy for on many days. I know you push yourself to do even the simplest of things.

I know you’re investing everything you have, and even some of what you don’t, to get well, feel better and take your life back. I know you never imagined it would be like this. I know the obstacles seem insurmountable. I know people don’t understand.

I know the frustration of not being heard; of being dismissed, overlooked and misunderstood. I know the frustration and discouragement of doing everything right and still seeing little to no improvement. I know the ups and downs. I know the heartbreak and disappointment you’ve felt. I know the struggle. I know the mess.

I believe you.

I believe what you say. I believe the unbelievable things you’ve been experiencing in your body. I believe how surreal it all is. I believe how very hard you work to get well. I believe how much you try to balance everything. I believe you try to be strong for your loved ones.

I believe you’re caring, competent and capable. I believe your ability to persevere through such extreme hardship speaks volumes about who you are. I believe you inspire others. I believe you are making a difference. I believe your story matters. I believe you will overcome this.

I feel you.

I feel your inner struggle. I feel the burden you carry. I feel the aching and longing for change; for something lasting and better. I feel the deep seated determination you have to see this thing through.

I feel the utter disbelief and outrage at the ignorance and insensitivity within certain aspects of the medical community. I feel your growing desire to escape it. I feel your drive to educate them. I feel your compassion and empathy for others who are also sick, in pain and struggling with their own circumstances.

I understand you.

I understand the depth of what you go through. I understand the undercurrent of emotions. I understand that you’ve lost so much along the way. I understand not everybody can see it.

I understand how very different life is now. I understand your uncertainty. I understand those moments of despair. I understand the limitations and how frustrating they are. I understand the loneliness. I understand the brokenness. I understand the words that are often left unspoken.

I understand the need for retreat. I understand how you want to get away but can’t. I understand the times you need to be alone. I understand your silence. I do.

I understand the need for total diversion. I understand how getting out is not necessarily about physically feeling better but about doing something just for you. I understand your desire for simple joys.

I see you.

I see your true colors. I see what you go through. I see your resiliency. I see your courage. I see the love you lavish on other people.

I see the hopes and dreams and wishes you still carry in your heart. I see the depth of wisdom and knowledge you’ve gleaned through the many long years of suffering. I see how you willingly share it.

I see how you take the time to listen to others, even when you aren’t feeling well yourself. I see that you’re going through more than anybody else really knows. I see that you’re hurting.

I see how easy it would be to give up. I see how you’ve held on. I see how you’ve stood your ground. I see the deep faith that sustains you. I see, though your body is weary, just how very strong you really are.

I hear you.

I hear your cries. I hear those held back tears you shed when no one else is around. I hear your heartfelt and gut wrenching prayers. I hear your prayers for others; how you ask God to help them hold on too.

I hear your words of support and encouragement. I hear you cheering others on. I hear how you rejoice in another’s health victory; how it’s really a victory for all of us.

Though buried beneath the exhaustion of illness at times, I still hear your passion for life. I hear the inner hope with which you speak. I hear your unique expression. I hear the truth of who you are.

And you are beautiful! 

I love you, friends. You are not alone.

.
Michelle Holderman is a writer who lives in Kentucky and blogs about her own journey with chronic Lyme disease, health and nutrition related topics, as well as matters of faith. Click here for her blog, My Lyme Symphony.

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  2. TOUCHED BY LYME: What to say to a person who’s chronically ill?
  3. NEWS: Making artistic portraits of devastating microbes
  4. TOUCHED BY LYME: Coming back to life after Lyme disease
Comments

20 thoughts on “TOUCHED BY LYME: “Chronically ill friends–I know you. I believe you. I understand you.”

  1. Hi Michelle,
    Thank you for posting that wonderfully crafted memo to the fellowship of beautiful, loving people who are victims of that dreaded tick bite, which delivered them to the surreal land of lyme disease. I am a loving friend to one of the many thousands affected. My friend is surreptitiously living the lyme life…struggling daily with pain, memory issues, physically manifested issues, and much, much more…hidden issues…uncertainty of the immediate future. Although I know and for the most part understand how the disease works, and I understand that my friend is a grown woman and doesn’t need to accept help from me or anyone else, I want her to know that I am here for her if she ever needs me, even if it is just to quietly be present for her in her struggle to stay afloat in this g-dforsaken word of horror and pain that she is trying so desperately to escape. I love you, my friend…Joan

  2. Joan, thank you so much for sharing this. What a precious gift you are giving your friend; the gift of being present in whatever capacity she needs. I’m sure that means so much to her. Thank you for supporting the one closest to you who is living with Lyme. Your heart speaks volumes! Bless you. I love you too, my friend. ~Michelle

  3. Thank you so much for leaving this love bomb in the universe for me. I really needed it.

    Im so sorry that you know my pain so intimately. But its always comforting to know you arent alone.

    I hope you are healthy and happy.

    • Alex, thank you for letting me know how this spoke to you. I’m honored. Wished none of us had to know about the depths of living with Lyme but it is a comfort knowing we aren’t alone in our suffering. And that someone cares. Love bomb – you’re the first to describe it this way. Thanks for sharing that. Much love and hope to you in this journey. ~ Michelle

  4. I have Lyme Disease was diagnosed November of last year, believe me it has been a struggle. It’s hard to explain to others the way you feel. Sometimes I just want to lock myself away I feel so alone. Thank you for the post it made me feel good to know that someone understands. God Bless!

    • Carla, thank you so much for your comment. I hear you loud and clear. I’m so sorry you have Lyme. I do understand. And I know it is a lonely, difficult journey. But you are not alone. Please know there are many in the Lyme community (including Lymedisease.org) who can help with support, information or just lend a friendly cyber ear. Only someone whose experienced this can truly relate and understand what you go through.

      You’re always welcome at My Lyme Symphony (http://www.mylymesymphony.com/) where I blog about Lyme and my own journey. God bless you too! I send you much love and hope.

      ~ Michelle

  5. I know so many of us are struggling with some kind of disease or emotional struggle, so it’s been hard for me to share some times what Im going through.I had my husband die from cancer 13 years ago when I was struggling with MS and other problems.Since than I have been tending to my childrens broken hearts and personal issues, trying to make a new life.So Ive had to stay strong for many years for others. I found out I also have Lyme disease last year ( or been reinfected) and the mix of that with other things have just about broken me.I want you to know how much this blog you wrote and posted touched me.You DO understand by the very words you have written. .I have no medical care at the moment and have been trying to heal myself.Thanks for being a kindred soul out here on the planet, letting me know some one else really does “get it” Its a lonely disease.Gods blessings to you..

    • Deb, I am so sorry for all you’ve been through. And having Lyme on top of your other losses and struggles makes it all so overwhelming. My heart goes out to you, friend. Yes, this is a very lonely road to travel but please remember you’re not alone. I and many others do genuinely understand the hardships of this disease. And the brokenness. I’m really glad to know those words spoke to you in some way. I don’t take that lightly. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. God bless and keep you. Much love and hope to you always.
      ~ Michelle

    • Brenda, thank you. It always means something to know these words speak to someone’s heart. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know this. I wish you much love and hope in your Lyme journey.

      ~ Michelle

  6. Wonderfully written. I’ve learned so much from my friends suffering with this and other chronic illnesses. I have passed on the link so they may also be up-built by your words.

    • Teri, thank you so much. And thank you for sharing this link with your friends. I hope it helps them not feel so alone. Appreciate you taking the time to do that and leave a comment. Hope this finds you well. Love and blessings to you. :)

      ~Michelle

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