Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lyme and "Friendships"

The past few days have been hard. But not just physically. I have finally balanced out on the current dose of abx, and am supposed to increase again today. I am not looking forward to that herx, but if I don't keep moving through hell, I wont ever get to leave.

Now for the real reason I am writing today. People like to tell Sam what they think I should do. So in response, I have composed the following:

First of all, let me tell you that yes, I am in counseling. And yes, it is to deal with Chronic Lyme, but mostly it is to deal with the bullying and abandonment by people who are supposed to be friends. Only a few people (you know who you are and I am truly grateful) have actually asked me how I am and what I am going through. Others like to ask Sam (or tell him what to do without really understanding what is happening) as if I can no longer speak for myself. Truth is I can. I am still a person and I still have an identity. I still enjoy interacting with others. 

I know people read this blog and worry that I am either faking these symptoms (I think this sentiment makes it easier on their ego to walk away without guilt), or not physically ill (it makes it easier to write someone off as crazy), or a hypochondriac (it is too scary to think that this disease is real and I was normal before I got it and they could get it too), or that I am actually sick and I should have someone else take care of me. I know that this is just as hard for Sam as it is for me. I know that when I am better our friendship can go back to normal. I cannot wait for that time. What is frustrating is when people tell him that someone else should help. As his friends, I feel they should speak their mind, but ultimately let him decide and then support his decision and if they want to ease his load offer to help him. They could help with chores if they are uncomfortable with helping me. I have become more accustomed to what my body does and needs and can now do things like shower and dress on my own. What happened at the beginning of the summer was the worst I have ever been. Not because Sam and I are roommates, but because I have been untreated for so long and was unknowingly doing damage to my body. (Yes, working full time and eating whole grains and veggies like carrots were the damage I was doing.) Just because events take place at the same time does not mean that they are cause or effect of one another.  
My life is hard right now. I am not blogging to complain, but rather to explain that this is what this disease, left untreated, can bring. There are thousands of other people who have this disease and are fighting for doctors to treat, insurance to pay, friends and family to learn and understand and not abandon them. I know they are there, because they are my new friends. They are real friends without judgement, with advice when needed, and ear when needed and people with whom I can be honest. 

I would like to invite anyone who has been a friend to me who has been afraid to talk about these tough issues to once again open up dialog. I can't read your mind. Trust me, I miss you.  I just know that the time for easy, let's-grab-a-drink-and-watch-a-game time cant happen until we learn to talk to each other. So please, stop passing judgement. I know I have done things that have annoyed you. They might just be a symptom, and if they aren't how do you expect your friendships to grow and change if you can't discuss problems. 

P.S. Don't stop inviting chronically ill people to events, just know that they might not be able to come. They might cancel last minute and you'll need to be understanding. But if they are able, it might be the only fun thing they do all week. Just knowing they are wanted can change a mental outlook. 

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