Some of you may be new, and some of you may have been around for a while. Whether you know my story or not, I’m going to quickly condense it to make a much larger point.
In 2006 I went to college feeling run down. What transpired from there was 5 years of struggling to get through college while my symptoms snowballed to unmanageable proportions. In 2011 I was finally diagnosed with neurological Lyme disease, and in 2012 I became fully bed bound. I don’t use “bed bound” loosely or in a cutesy sense. Oh no, I spent every waking second in bed because I was too weak to function otherwise. I would shower once a week with assistance (sometimes as a sponge bath), and if I made it down the stairs once every 3 months my family would cheer. In order to celebrate a holiday like Christmas I would have to prep for days and save up energy praying I had enough stamina to put on normal clothes and walk down the stairs for an hour, but 75% of the holidays got skipped because I couldn’t even do that. At many times during those 8 years I didn’t think I would make it. Yes, there's the punch line... this was my life for 8 years. I lived like that for 8 solid years. I was bed bound, weak, and in pain every waking second. Treatment was grueling, and many of the things I tried over the years were unsuccessful. The pain I lived in was unrelenting, and I have a hard time speaking about it now without crying. I do not know how I managed it, and still to this day years of my life feel like they occurred in a total fog of war. I was weak, I was so thin you’d think I’d break if you touched me, and each day I survived was a miracle by most doctors who believed my body wasn’t strong enough to withstand the hell I was living through. From seizures, to excruciating pain, to organs slowly failing me, there was no end in sight. Few people who saw me up close and personal during that time know just how bad it got. Trust me, it was grim. I walked through this darkness with no real hope - I had a few Doctors who tried to help, while many gave up and said there wasn’t more that they could do. Did I listen? No. I found someone else and tried again. I tried over and over against all hope, until something finally clicked. My climb out of the depth of my illness was slow, and it was hard fought every single step of the way, but I am here now.
You see, my existence was hell for so long, and I was clinging on to life each day. But today I type this as someone who is thriving - I work a full time job I love, I am active, I’m independent, and if you see me you’d consider me a totally normal person. Yes, I still have a chronic illness that I take lots of meds for, and yes I still have aches, pains, and other things I deal with. But my life has done a complete 180. To think I could have never seen this moment because the Doctor's and people around me convinced me to give up makes me shudder.
I don’t repeat my story and my message because I think I’m some kind of inspiration others should flock to and admire. No. I repeat my story because I pray you read this and choose today not to give up. I pray you can look at me, someone who was stuck in a bed for 8 years in a living nightmare, and remind yourself that you can find a way out too. Please do not ever let a Doctor, a stranger online, or even your own family convince you that you are a lost cause that should end their life. Don’t let your own thoughts convince you that you’ll never get better. When it is your time, God will take you. When it isn’t your time, He won’t. So if you’re still here reading this, then you are needed on earth. Even if everyone says you’re beyond help, keep going. Find a third, fourth, hundredth opinion if you have to. Keep going. Your life has meaning, and when you realize there are billions of people on planet earth, you’ll see that a handful of naysayers don’t speak for everyone. Someone out there can help, and all I need you to do is hang on until that arrives. Please keep going, keep fighting, and don’t ever let anyone gaslight you into feeling as though you aren’t worthy of life.
Why am I saying all of this so fervently? Because I recently watched a young woman with Lyme take her life while her friends, family & a Facebook page of 200,000 “fans” sat and watched. Her doctor said they couldn’t do anything more to help her, and she believed them. She felt all her dead ends and road blocks over the last few years were a “sign” from God that she truly can’t be helped, so she should die. And so, she did. First they took all her meds away from her, and then they removed her feeding tube, until slowly after 6 weeks she starved to death and passed. She did all of this while THOUSANDS of people cheered her on. It was like a mass psychosis, and it makes me sick to think about. If she was meant to leave this earth then it would have happened naturally. It wouldn’t have happened by withholding life force until her organs couldn’t continue on. For her to make that decision privately is one thing, but to watch it be celebrated in this community broke my heart. She left this earth thinking that just because Doctors A, B & C said she’s a lost cause then it must be true. And she sent a message to thousands of impressionable patients (young and old) who will now believe it applies to them too. The emotional mindset of someone dealing with a chronic illness is fragile at best. Depression and self-loathing runs deep in this world, and it does not take much to convince someone in that kind of unstable mental space that they too should die because it's easier that way. If I would have EVER listened to Doctors like that I would not be here today - thank God I didn’t.
If you’ve seen that particular story on social media, I pray you hear my story now and that it nullifies anything you saw or “learned” from her. Please do not give up, you are not beyond help. And if that moment ever were to come, God will decide that. Until then, no matter the pain and despair please allow me to hold hope for you that you will come out from this darkness. Allow me to remind you that out of the black of night emerges a new morning each and every day. You are worthy of life, and you are worth fighting for. I beg you to hold on, and never let "death" being glorified and craved in such a grotesque way make YOU think that you should do the same, or that you are worthless and beyond help with your illness.
Please, keep going.