Sunday, 22 July 2018

Being sick for 2 years... and how it nearly destroyed me.

As mentioned in a previous post, I am transferring my blog posts from the last year (they were on a different site) so here is number 3 of 9! Enjoy!

This was originally posted on 20/06/2017.


End the existence of (something) by damaging or attacking it.
  1. 1.1 Ruin (someone) emotionally or spiritually.
  2. 1.2 Defeat (someone) utterly.
  3. 1.3 Kill (a sick, savage, or unwanted animal) by humane means.
May 2017 marked the two year anniversary of me getting Lyme disease. Two whole years. That's 730 crazy long Lyme disease fighting days... and I didn't even get a card! I joke, I joke. This isn't the kind of anniversary you feel like celebrating. 

I've always tried to be pretty open with my battle against Lyme disease as it was and still is a massively significant part of my life. I would probably go as far as to say that it was one of, if not the hardest thing I have had to deal with. Even now, when physical health wise I am doing the best I have since this all began, it effects my daily life and I think that it always will. 

For some reason, I always try to play my illness down. But you know what? It was hard. In fact it was really hard. It was long and scary and it sucked. You don't go through something as significant and traumatising as that and come through unscathed. And I was no exception. 

Before I jump into this story, let's just talk about the word 'destroy' real quick. I was very hesitant to use this word in my post. It's quite a harsh word. Destroy. It's not a word I use often and it's definitely not a word I would typically use to talk about myself and my battle with Lyme... and yet I did. I do. The word 'destroy' sounds violent and extreme. It sounds dramatic. In fact that is one of the main reason I was so hesitant to use that word. I don't want to come across as some dramatic blogger begging for sympathy, because that really not my intention. But my battle with Lyme disease over the last two years has been detrimental in every sense. Not only did my physical body suffer a lot, but mentally it has drained me. I spent 2 years in a cloud of worry, fear and isolation. Not only in the physical sense (I spent an unhealthy amount of time in bed ... not by choice) but also mentally. I have the most amazing family and a good few solid friendships too, but I had never felt so alone in my life, and nothing could have changed that. Nothing that anybody could have said or done would have changed that. And as if that wasn't enough, my social life suffered. All my relationships with people suffered. Every single aspect of my life suffered in one way or another. Directly or indirectly. It suffered. I suffered. So I don't use the word 'destroy' easily. And I don't use it for sympathy. I use it because in a case like this, I think that maybe it can be justified. 

And now onto the meaty part of this post ...

I've been thinking about the topic of this post a lot over the last few days. I like to think that I am a very 'self-aware' kind of person. I often look at my actions and thoughts and feelings. I am always trying to work on myself and be a better person. I think it's in my personality. So, being the self-aware being that I am, I began to notice something about myself. Something which to you may seem like an unbelievably obvious thing but to me was hidden under some scary camouflage blanket in a dark corner of my room covered in cobwebs. So it was not so obvious to me. And here is what I discovered. 

I am not the same person I was before all of this illness shenanigans. 
(Meaning I am not the same person I was 2 years ago... Shocker.)

I told you it would seem obvious. See this is kind of how it went down.  I got sick May 2015. I thought it was the flu and I thought it would end in a couple of days, a week tops. But it did not. I thought 'wow I have got a real bad strain of flu! Give it a couple of weeks, it will be out of my system by then'. But it was not. I thought 'Oh the doctors will sort this out. In a week or two I will be back on my feet". But I was not. Are you starting to see a pattern here? I spent the entirety of my illness sitting and waiting for the storm to pass. I sat there hugging my knees as the wind whistled by and the thunder roared and the rain came hammering down. I sat there waiting for the storm to pass. I sat there hugging my knees, paralysed by this storm that only seemed to fall on me. Everyone around me got up and got on with their life. They made progress and had success and failure and kept moving forward anyway because that is how life works. All the while I hadn't moved an inch, because I couldn't. The storm hadn't passed. I sat there paralysed as I watched everyone around me get up and move on. Not move away, because they were always there supporting me as best they could, but moving on. As they should have by the way. I am not naive enough to think the entire would should come to a halt when my life appears to. I am only saying this to give you an insight as to how it felt. 

So I sat there and waited out the storm. I held tight and I waited it out. (Editing note: Scratch that. I fought it out. I fought real hard to get to where I am health wise and I should give my self credit for that. Ok. Proceed previous Holly...). Yet in my head, I thought when the storm had passed, I would just get up and everything would be the exact same. I thought I would feel the same. I thought everything around me would look the same. I thought I would be the same. I think subconsciously I thought that because I had put pause on my life, that life would just pause. Which it obviously didn't because life is real inconsiderate like that.... I'm joking. Kind of. Anyway, fast forward two years and the storm has almost passed. It's not quite gone. There is a still a drizzle and it's pretty gusty. but I can stand and I can see and I don't feel paralysed by the storm anymore. Let it be noted at this point that this was a very slow process of the storm passing and it didn't happen all at once because that is not how life works. But yes, I got up and I looked around. I thought I would see things exactly as I had left them and I thought I would see myself exactly as I was before. Yet that did not happen. I looked down to see a body full of bruises and battle scars. I looked weak. I looked around to see that I was not where I was before. I was in a completely unknown location, with no idea of how I go there, in a body that felt weak. I felt as if I had been abducted by aliens and then dropped back down to some crazy unknown planet. Pretty terrifying stuff.

I know I just threw out some pretty crazy metaphors, but I don't really know how else to explain it. So if you managed to understand anything that I just said, then congrats to you! 

So yes, I survived the storm. Now it goes without saying that my body is a bit of a mess. It just spent 2 years fighting every single day and quite frankly its exhausted. It will take a while before it's back to full health because it needs time to rest and repair and slowly build things back to the way they were before. But I kind of expected that. I mean, I was kind of hoping that one day I'd wake up full of energy and feeling great, but I know that health doesn't work like that. I fully expected my physical body to be feeling a little worn out after being unwell for so long. However, that wasn't what nearly destroyed me. I mean it sucked and it almost ruined my life, but I wouldn't use the word 'destroy'. No, what almost destroyed me was how I completely lost my 18th year of life. I spent my entire year of being 18 (as well as half my 17th year and half my 19th year) waiting out the storm. So when I finally came around, I was older but I had had none of those life experiences that make you feel older. I had missed the train. What almost destroyed me was how lost and alone I felt both during and after the storm. It wasn't the physical illness that almost destroyed me, but it was everything else.

"It wasn't the physical illness that almost destroyed me, but it was everything else"

Did you notice how I used the word 'almost'?



Not quite; very nearly.

Lyme disease has been a real pain in the butt. It flipped my world upside, shook it around a little (or a lot) and lobbed it into a brick wall. It did some real damage. Every single aspect of my life has suffered and it very nearly destroyed me. But it didn't. I got up, put one foot in front of the other and kept going forwards. It often feels like I'm walking in quick sand or some kind of thick mud, but I keep moving anyway. Its not easy and its not over, but it will be someday. Im almost cringing writing this because it just sounds so dramatic. But who knows maybe somebody needs to hear this. Maybe somebody needs to be told to stand up, put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. Small steps are bigger than no steps. Then one day you will realise that the quick sand became grass and you'll look back and notice that the storm is so far behind you that you can't even see it anymore. Just stand up, put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. You can scream and cry and take a minute to rest if you need it. But then you get right back up and you keep moving forward. You don't look around to see where everyone else is. You focus on yourself and you keep. moving. forward.

... and breathe.  

That was pretty deep. I feel like I've just revealed part of my soul, haha! Sometimes I feel like writing about pizza and sometimes I feel like writing about my deepest darkest feelings and I guess today it was the latter. I hope this didn't sound too crazy and that my jumble of words and feeling came out as coherent sentences. I felt it was time for a way too personal and vulnerable post, it had been a while.

If anybody wants to share some equally scary and vulnerable stuff in the comments, I would highly encourage that. I always love having a natter in the comments. 

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change" - Brene Brown 

And on that note it is time for me to love you and leave you. I have waffled on for too long and in all honesty, I'm not entirely sure what I have just written. Anyway, I hope you are having a wonderful day and I will speak to you very soon! 

Holly Xx

P.s- You should totally subscribe to my emailing list if you want to be notified when I upload a new blog post!


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