When did your journey with Lyme begin?
I contracted Lyme Disease in 2001, but it wasn’t until a December morning in late 2011 when I woke up with tremor in my right hand that I realized maybe my Lyme had never really gone away. Over the next couple weeks the tremor began spreading across the upper half of my body, because of this I was forced to quit my job and drop out of school. I knew that I needed to make a change if there was any chance of getting better, but I was lost, scared, and fearful of not knowing which way to turn, this is when my journey with Lyme truly began.
Was there a turning point in your journey?
Absolutely. I had been living in Seattle for several years before I began to realize just how toxic city life had become for me. There were a few things keeping me there: my job, boyfriend, and apartment, but I needed to find a way out. My symptoms had come back before, and I knew that if I didn’t make a drastic change soon, they would come back again. With that notion, I took hold of the situation, gathered my belongings, said my goodbyes, and headed south towards Bend, Oregon.
What are some of your favorite tools for healing?
Little adventures, nature, and a nice long bath with epsom salts and lavender essential oils—paired with positive thoughts and a big glass of water.
What’s one thing you wish others knew about living with Lyme Disease?
How delicate it is. One minute you feel as if things may finally be turning around, only to come crashing down the next. Anxiety, stress, the wrong foods, an unhealthy relationship, and not enough sleep, these are just a few things that can cause your symptoms to flare up. That’s why when healing, it’s so important to turn every aspect of the process into not just a routine, but a way of life—otherwise Lyme will be the one in control, not you.
What’s one thing you wish you could tell individuals who have just been diagnosed?
Keep on keepin’ on. That phrase applies to all aspects of the Lyme journey. The initial ‘oh my gosh how am I going to do this,’ to the eye roll of every doctor you see, through the initial stages of your treatment, and eventually to the beginning of your long journey back to health–when your patience and perseverance will tested. So stay strong and push through, because in time, you will start feeling like yourself again.
What’s been your biggest obstacle in your healing journey?
Letting go. Letting go of everything that pushes me further away from where I want to be: healthy and living a life full of adventure. This can be anything from negative thoughts to actual physical objects that bring up certain memories or moments that no longer serve a purpose in my life. After leaving Seattle a year ago, I forced myself to let go; to dive into the unknown with my fingers crossed while hoping for the best, and it worked. Now I am in a place that pushes me to be my best self, while continually showing me that each and every day is a new adventure. Don’t be afraid to let go of the things that you no longer need, instead take the time to surround yourself with the things, places, and people that you love.
Do you have a spiritual practice? How does that help?
The people I love, nature, and writing are all things that I consider to be part of my day-to-day practice. Together, they complete me, motivate me, and care for me regardless of the situation. Anytime I feel like giving up, or turning back to my old habits, they are my reminder that moving forward is my only option.
What has been your biggest victory in your healing journey, and how did you overcome that obstacle?
My biggest victory would have to be More Than Lyme, and the community it has helped me become a part of. Before I realized that this was what I wanted to do, every day was a constant battle to not look down on myself for my lack of schooling and inability to keep a job because of my Lyme. I needed purpose in my day, a reason to keep on keepin’ on.
This community has given me just that, a reason to love myself in this very moment; a reminder that as long as you work hard and believe in yourself, it doesn’t matter what road you take, you will eventually get where you want to be.
What are your hopes and dreams for your future?
To travel far, have hope, find health, be happy, and to be at peace with myself; all while telling stories and spreading awareness through More Than Lyme, and hopefully inspiring others to do the same! Besides that, I have no idea what the future may hold, but as part of my practice to accept where I am right now, I want it to remain unknown.
What are some of the things you have learned as part of this experience?
You are your best teacher, doctor, and motivation. Only you know what’s best for you, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you think a certain treatment is right, don’t stop fighting until you get it. If you feel too tired to get out of bed, don’t be ashamed; accept how you feel knowing that tomorrow is a new day. For too long I let my fears and negative thoughts control me, never thinking for myself, always letting my doctor decide how I felt, and what was best for me. You are your own best advocate; show the world just how much more than Lyme your really are.
Chloe | Website: http://www.morethanlyme.org/ | IG: @morethanylyme