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Greetings and welcome to my Lyme disease blog, a comfy cozy (and sometimes crazy!) place for cutting-edge information, encouragement and insight into the fastest-growing epidemic disease in the United States. In this blog you will find everything from bug-killing strategies to immune system and hormone help, as well as lifestyle and spiritual suggestions for healing from chronic illness involving Lyme disease. The information contained within this blog is based upon my own healing journey and what I have learned over the past eight years as I have been diligently digging and researching my way back to a better state of health. May you find it to be a source of hope, inspiration and wisdom in your own journey towards wellness.

About "Insights Into Lyme Disease Treatment"

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443 Pages - $39.95
Published August, 2009
Written by Connie Strasheim
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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Why Won't They Hear You?


Do you ever feel like the chocolate rabbit in the cartoon? Every time you share your woes with your friends and family, does it seem like they don't hear you?

You tell them you're tired, and they say, "Me, too." You want to throttle them. They have no idea.

You say that your muscles ache, and ask if they would mind if you left the dishes for another night. They tell you to take an ibuprofen, because God forbid, if you leave the dishes, a cockroach might lick the plates clean.

You tell them you're forgetful, but they still furrow their brows when you can't remember their best friend's dog's name. You assure them that you want to come to their party, but they get annoyed anyway when you tell them that you're too exhausted to attend.

You explain to them that because of Lyme disease, you tend to drop things, bump into walls and spill beverages onto the carpet, but they still chastise you for your clumsiness.

You ask for help with purchasing groceries because your disability check doesn't stretch far enough, and they turn a deaf ear to your needs.

Why can't they hear us when we ache? When we explain to them what this business of Lyme disease is about? Couldn't they try a little harder?

But they won't. They cannot. They may want to, but they don't live inside of your skin. They don't feel your aching arse, they can't hear the clamor of your broken heart. They don't know that being able to eat, walk and breathe with ease are things they take for granted. They forget when you tell them that your symptoms cause you to behave in erratic ways.

And besides, they're too wrapped up in their own problems to really be able to understand you.
Or maybe your pain hurts them too much and they have to turn a blind eye to your needs. Or maybe they try, but it's just not good enough.

Guess what. When it comes to this illness, it will never be good enough. Cancer patients will always get more sympathy than you do, because they look and act much sicker, and my goodness, isn't cancer scary? Never mind that borrelia eats up your insides. That it chews up your neurons and destroys your organs. They can't see the damage and so as far as they're concerned, you might as well be as healthy as a newborn baby.

Remember, you don't understand them, either. Their problems may seem insignificant in comparison to yours but in their own minds, they may be suffering as much as you. Perhaps they haven't had to grow the same tough skin that hardship has fashioned you with, and so cope just as poorly with their life's issues. Their suffering is nonetheless real.

Or maybe they hurt more than you do over your illness. Believe it or not. Unlike you, they can't do anything to alleviate your suffering, or if they can, they struggle to know what you need. Their feelings of helplessness may paralyze them. Not only that, but they have to cope with your Lyme rage and your forgetfulness and your moments of brain fog when you can't seem to listen to a word they say. Even if they sympathize with you, they will nonetheless be frustrated at how your symptoms affect them. They are only human and they are unfamiliar with the mechanisms of this illness.

Take heart and enjoy them for what they can offer you. For the times when they do have ears to hear, and a heart to receive you when you cry out for help. Be thankful for the little ways in which they attempt to understand you. For the free dinner, the shoulder, the sympathetic eyes when you speak of your loneliness. Be at peace, knowing that they too, are like chewed-on chocolate rabbits, lacking in parts but doing their best to hear you, even though their ears may be broken.

3 comments:

lemon said...

I don't want to bore everyone by complaining about my health. But if I don't complain everyone assumes I'm just fine.

I think Lyme disease scares people because anyone could catch it and you can't really prevent it. I don't have pets and I don't walk in the woods, but somehow a tick bit me anyway. I never saw the tick or the bite. We can't search our bodies with a microscope every time we go outside. And I am not going to take the advice and wear long pants and socks in the summer!

I never got any sympathy for having fibromyalgia either -- I was booted out of my relationship for being a hypochondriac! So after that I pretended I was just fine. I didn't have a diagnosis or name for the pains so I never mentioned it to anyone after that. Not until years later, when I found it on the internet. I started talking about it if the subject came up, and telling people yoga is the best thing for it.

One day, years ago, I complained about something (not health) to a former supervisor. She said I really had a nerve complaining about anything considering I was healthy. She reminded me that "Suzi has Lyme disease, and is in constant pain, and she never complains about anything. You should be grateful."

I never forgot that. It was like a prophecy. Believe it or not, I was thinking about it one day last summer, shortly before my diagnosis. The office where I work is surrounded by a wildlife refuge, which is full of deer. I walk there every day, careful to stay off the grass. But those ticks can jump long distances, I have heard. Anyway, I was thinking about Lyme disease and ticks, and that nasty supervisor.

I often get premonitions so I guess that's what it was.

(I am the same person who was "anonymous" yesterday).

Connie Killabugger said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. I agree with you that Lyme can be scary for those who dont understand it, and esp. because it is so easy to catch!
I am sorry you didn't receive any sympathy from others, either. That seems to be a common occurrence with these "invisible illnesses".
It's a difficult thing, Lyme. People need to know we hurt sometimes, but on the other hand, we are ridiculed or called hypochondriacs if we complain. Perhaps the key should be sharing just the right amount of info. with people whom we know will be receptive to our concerns.
I wish you well in your healing journey! :)

Connie

Meredith said...

as a follow up to Lemons comments....I remember walking across the golf course behind my home to avoid the long way home and a golfer shouted at me - WATCH OUT FOR TICKS - LYME IS RAMAPNT! I was very ill at the time with a DX of CFS, Fibro, Maybe MS and I thought - geesh Lyme disease - Thats really bad - i hope I dont get that - and thats just what I had! But i never suspected it!