Friday, May 30, 2014

I'm fine.

When are we going to stop lying?

We aren't fine.

We're stressed, we're grieving, we're hurting, we're tired, we're overwhelmed, we're angry, we're sick, we're disappointed, we're betrayed, we're sad, we're irritated, we're lonely, we're fed-up, we're worn out, but very, very rarely are we ever fine. So let's stop with the bullshit, okay?

Who says we have to pretend to be okay when we're not? Because our mothers did? Because someone tells us we should be? Because we believe these stupid memes we find on Tumblr and Pinterest?


Seriously, knock it off.

First of all, nobody believes us when we say it but most people are too caught up in their own lives to question you on it. People want us to be fine because it relieves them of responsibilities to listen or try and make things better. If they're the ones to blame for our not-fine emotions, it means they have to make amends for why we aren't fine. And none of us really want to be the reason that other people have to go out of their way to do something, right?

Secondly, this pretending? This mask-wearing? It's exhausting and it's killing us all slowly. No joke. Heart disease is the leading killer of all women in the United States. What leads to heart disease? Stress. The martyr-ish "I'm fine" crap leads to stress because we aren't talking about the fact that we are sooooooo NOT fine. We bury our feelings because we believe, as women, that we have to just suck it up because we're supposed to be able to carry the burdens of our families, our husbands, our kids, our careers, our homes, our friends and everyone else that comes along. We're super human! At least that's what we think.

The truth, though, is that we aren't super human. We're just human. And that's okay. It's okay to fall apart sometimes. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to say "I'm having a bad day." It's okay to text your best friend and say "I need you." It's okay to tell someone no, if you don't feel like doing something.

Sure, there are times when we have to deal with the consequences we're handed, but that doesn't mean we have to do it with a smile or act like we're not bothered by it. It doesn't mean we can't take some time for ourselves afterward to just breathe.

Maybe, if we all work together and learn how to tell the truth about how we really feel, we can stop lying to everybody...and ourselves. Because honey? I'm not fine and neither are you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lyme life

Know what I knew about Lyme disease before last week?

That you get it from ticks.
I didn't know how easy it was to contract, how tough it is to get rid of it, how much of your life it can affect, or how bad you feel once you have it. I also didn't know that the treatment is almost worse than the disease. I realized that part tonight as I became exhausted from chewing my dinner.


It was a fluke that I asked to be tested for lyme disease. A friend's mother has had it for thirty years and she recognized that I had many similar symptoms as her mom: insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, joint pain, headaches, dizziness, short-term memory loss, brain fog, numbness in the hands and feet, sore neck and shoulder muscles. I brushed it off when she suggested I get tested because I hardly ever go outside except to get in the car, I don't go for walks in the woods, I don't camp or bike. I'm not a gardener or an outdoorsy person. Then, as I was reading another friend's Twitter post about her Lyme test coming back positive, I brushed something off my shoulder that had been tickling me. I looked down and discovered a tick. In my house. On my couch. I've always hated ticks and I thought I was pretty good about checking for them, but apparently I'd missed one. Clearly, I missed two because this tick hadn't had time to bite me. Most likely, our dog brought it in on him. Regardless of how it got inside my house, I had to deal with the possible aftermath.

I immediately called my doctor to request a lyme test. In the meantime, I looked up symptoms of lyme disease and discovered that in some cases, Bell's Palsy, which I'd had three bouts of in 2008. Needless to say, if there was an explanation for all the symptoms I'd had, it would be a God-send, no matter what the diagnosis. When the tests came back, a few days after my doctor appointment, they confirmed what I already suspected: I have lyme disease. Immediate tests said I had an acute case, but the results are back from further testing and they've confirmed that I have had it for a while.

Bottom line, if I can get Lyme disease, anybody can.

Please, friends, be diligent about protecting yourself, your family and your pets. Insect repellent for you and the kids, collars and repellents for your animals (check with your vet) and preventive landscaping and pesticide treatments for your yard. Always check everybody for ticks when they come in from the outdoors. Check bodies, clothes, backpacks, camping gear, shoes, and especially hair. I can't do anything about my diagnosis, but if I can prevent someone else from getting it, I'll be a happy woman. I wouldn't wish this misery on anyone.

To learn more about lyme disease, how to handle ticks and tick bites, and what to do to limit the possibility of exposure, visit the ILADS website.

(FYI, for those wondering, I'm taking doxycycline, and ganoderma lucidum capsules. The doxy is an antibiotic that will help kill off the borrelia bacteria and the ganoderma is an herbal supplement that will help boost my immune system so my body can fight it off naturally.)