I do not “have” lyme disease. I have suffered from the effects of lyme disease for years and am currently working to recover from severe lyme infection, but this disease has never been part of my personality.
It’s taken me a while to arrive at this idea. It may seem like mere semantics, but I’ve found that the times I felt the sickest, the weakest, the most trapped-on-my-couch-because-I-had-no-energy-to-move not only corresponded to times when the bacteria and its co-infection friends were on a rampage, but also to times when I believed—without consciously being aware of my belief—in the power of the bacteria. In fact, the rampage may have been aided by an unconscious, further suppression of my immune system, due to depression.
I read about the intelligence of the lyme bacteria, and its prevalence in ticks and other blood-sucking insects—encouraged by warming patterns of climate change, and the limited population of natural predators for carrier animals, such as field mice. All of this information, while helpful in the long run, built the profile of a threatening, menacing, crafty bacteria, which was attacking me and would be very, very difficult—if not impossible—to get rid of. The difficulties of infection are valid, and my fellow lyme sufferers will probably agree that it sometimes feels like the Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) bacteria is a formidable enemy. But, to give in to the power of the bacteria and disease, is to forget how powerful our own bodies and immune systems are.
On days when my hair is falling out, my stomach refuses to digest, my head feels like one big gray cloud, and I can’t function to do basic chores, my body may not seem very powerful. But, as intelligent as any bug may be, our immune systems are highly evolved and have the ability to fight. Sometimes, it takes only a few days or weeks—as with a cold. Other times, our systems need extensive help—whether from prescription drugs and herbs, or complimentary treatments like cleanses, ozone, intravenous vitamin C, diet, bodywork, psychotherapy, or support groups.
I’ve come to believe that many times we unknowingly get in the way of our own healing. For instance, I probably needed therapy after the passing of my mother, nutritional help to correct my diet, and the courage to leave a job that felt oppressive. Not attending to these needs for many years likely compromised my immune system, and who knows if I’d have gotten this sick if I had listened more to my body and lived less in my mind.
Healing is always a personal journey and everyone’s circumstances are different. But, I know that, for me, health has seemed much more possible and my body has felt much stronger since I took back the “image of power” from colonies of single-celled Bb and remembered that my body, too, is strong. I practice feeling my body, becoming aware of its complaints and movements everyday. It’s had some rough times but, underneath it all, it’s strong and preparing to kick the fight up a few notches. I believe in my health, and know that I am recovering from lyme disease.