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.