// June 13th, 2010 // 30 Comments » // LymeBites Blog
Several years ago I had a supervisor who was a huge Oprah follower. I remember very clearly the day she told me she felt I needed more gratitude in my life. She told me how on Oprah she had learned to keep a gratitude journal, and every day to find 3 things to be grateful for. It seems relatively easy…until you begin, soon you really have to search to find things to be grateful for. But as you do that your view on life suddenly changes because you are actively searching for things to be grateful for.
Today I’m thinking about gratitude and Lyme disease. I personally am not a follower of Oprah. I’m really more just afraid of her. I am sure that some day she will be running the Universe and we will all be her minions. And that’s okay, because I think it’s inevitable. I try not to say anything bad about her for fear of her wrath. All joking aside though, Oprah has a point.
I’ve decided healing from Lyme cannot be done without gratitude. There’s more than antibiotics and supplements in healing from a life altering disease like Lyme. I am sure that gratitude is part of that.
Those of us who suffer from Lyme disease are FULL of anger. At so many things. The IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America), our health insurance companies, the Dr’s who will not treat us or can’t find out what’s wrong with us, our friends and family that don’t believe we are sick, etc.
I have so much anger at this disease for all it has taken from me (and the ones I love). I reached a point where I had to turn that anger into something more than a forming ulcer. The last thing I needed while fighting this horrible disease it to make myself sicker because of this anger. So I began to redirect, and that’s why this website is before you now.
In my one year battle (and I understand that I am still “new” to this, there are many who have struggled for as long as I’ve been alive with this disease) I have learned that you cannot heal with anger. It’s negativity, and that will just prolong your journey to healing.
But your anger is real, and not something you can just get rid of.
While I feel you can’t heal from Lyme if you’re full of anger, I also feel you can’t heal from Lyme without gratitude.
So why not turn your anger at this disease into gratitude for the things this disease is teaching you? While yes, I am so angry that I haven’t been able to work in a year, that I’ve lost my apartment and the life I had, I am so grateful to be alive at all. How many of you have thought you were going to die at some point during your struggle with this disease? Do you remember how scary it was to think this disease was going to take your life?
But you made it through that, and you will make it through it again when the “bad times” return, but don’t you think it appropriate to thank God (or whatever you believe in) that you ARE still here? So as angry as I am at what this disease has taken from me, I turn it into gratitude that I’m still alive.
The decision is yours. Will you sit and stew in your own anger? Or will you take that emotion and find something you are grateful for? I can guarantee you that if you start making the list of what you’re grateful for longer than the list of what you’re angry about, you will be helping your own healing. The negativity we feel from this disease can only bring us down.
So as much as I hate to admit it, all these years later, I think Oprah is right. And we all should start gratitude journals, or at the very least begin to make lists of what you are grateful for. Can you walk again after being too sick to walk for a while? Can you drive again after not being able to drive because of seizures, etc.? Can you make your words into sentences again after not being able to think well enough to write (this is from my own list of gratitude)?
Again the choice is yours alone to make, but you can choose to be grateful instead of angry. Today I choose to be grateful that as awful as I feel, and I feel worse than I have in probably 6 months, that I am surrounded by love. From the love in my mother’s home where I now live, to the love of friends I’ve spent time with today, to the text I got from the friend who misses me and just wants to let me know they love me. I’m no longer angry I’m stuck in bed today, I took my angry energy and turned it into gratitude.
So what are you going to choose to do with your anger?
I put it out on Facebook today asking people what they are grateful for today. I’d like to turn the rest of this post over to the people on Facebook and the things they are grateful for today.
Marjorie said sunshine and good weather.
Yvonne said a brand new life in my granddaughter 3 days old and beautiful.
Debbie said God, grand kids and Facebook friends.
Ashley said for waking up this morning next to a beautiful river, to the sounds of the birds singing and rushing water. “I’m grateful I had enough energy to go camping! Yay!”
Paula said for air conditioning on this hot muggy day.
Yvonne said for finding her LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) and the treatment he is providing.
Geri said she’s thankful for husband that has stuck by her through this, that she still has her mom, and that she has so many friends who are also on this “pass less travelled”.
KC said for last night’s rest, and the sound of the rain and the cool air coming in her windows during the time she was awake. She’s thankful to be thinking fairly clearly and functioning decently for over a week. She’s also thankful for Christ for always giving what is best, though she may be too blind to see it yet. She is thankful for a church family that prays for her and to eat watermelon and seriously call it dessert (no comparison to the petro chemical tasting fudge brownie next to the watermelon).
Jodi said for her doctor.
Ashlie said for God, her family and being able to enjoy exploring the grocery store pain free today.
Brenda said she’s grateful for all the other lyme patients on Facebook. Grateful that her daughter Sami is not any worse than what she is right now. Grateful for LLMD’s, even though they are few and far between. Grateful, that even though it is a huge struggle to get treatment, that people have helped her find ways around, under or how to bust straight thru to get what Sami needs. She is grateful to have hope and a belief that things will get better with this damn disease and so grateful that she still lives in a country where she can say what she needs to say.
Angela said for all Lyme friends and the support and encouragement we share. Grateful to God for being there with her every step of the way on this journey so she was never alone. Grateful that her two boys are healthy and happy, grateful that she has meds today, grateful that she has food to eat and water to drink, grateful for her flowers, grateful for the sunshine today. Grateful for her LLMD.
Kristen said she’s grateful for her friendships she’s made with all her Lyme friends. She is grateful for they’re support, encouragement and advice. She’s grateful for the support of her family and employees and they’re understanding that sometimes she may not be herself. She’s grateful that she still has a roof over her head and she’s able to put food on her table after how much this disease has affected her financially. She is grateful for her doctor’s support, friendship, figuring out what was wrong with her, and he may not be a full LLMD but he is quickly approaching it! Most of all she’s grateful to still be alive today. “Thank you to all my Lyme friends! You’ve been such a help to me! Love you all!” said Kristen.
Sierra said she is thankful for the dear, loving, supportive, helpful Lyme friends she’s made over the years. She is grateful for her faith in God and the power of prayer. She says staying positive is soooo so important when dealing with any chronic illness. A person’s thoughts are powerful and effect health in ways most people don’t even realize. She’s thankful for loving parents who have supported her this entire time. She’s thankful for a roof over her head, food to eat, her pets, being able to still walk and talk and function enough to leave the house. She is thankful for her few true friends who did not abandon herme when she first became ill. She is thankful for living in the USA where she has access to LLMD’s and meds and natural medicine practices and supplements. She is grateful for the little things in life. The ability to laugh, especially at herself has been a huge factor in her healing. Instead of getting frustrated and mad at finding her cell phone in the fridge, she learned to laugh at her wandering mind’s antics.
Sharon said she could write a book on this “- my LLMD – nanosilver – networking with other Lymies who remove the isolation – good days - my faith – prayers – that i only have to live one moment at a time – that i don’t have to solve the oil crisis – that i can write about my journey and connect with others through that writing”
Noel said she’s thankful for a friend like Eric (that’s me!)
Tricia said the wonderful people who have appeared in the lives of her and her son when they really needed help along this challenging road…including a very determined? stubborn? LLND, the beautiful smiles on the faces of her son and his sister when they give each other “friend hugs”, her kitties for the lovies they give when it’s needed most and being able to spend time in her yard playing in the dirt.
Julie said she is thankful for over a week of more normalcy and functionality than she has had in years…it was a good run. She sure enjoyed it!!
Cheryl said she’s thankful she has a really good Lyme doctor that is doing everything she can to get her better. It’s truly a tough fight but she can’t give up just yet. She’s meeting new people that are struggling as she is with L D and she would love to meet more for support because we’re all in this together. She is also greatful of being able to wake up and see her little boy who she loves so much.
Gail said she is thankful her daughter is showing signs of true healing, she saw her run last week-end when only 6 months ago she was using a walker. She is so thankful that they have started to return to a normal family life with time to think about the things they are greatful for. She is so thankful for all the people on Facebook that have helped them get through these crazy times.
Jen said she’s so grateful for her daughter who gives her a reason to get out of bed and whose love makes her thank God for her life as small and agonizing as it may sometimes be.
Cathy said the little kids who ask her questions without judging, and know just when it’s perfect to curl up and read books with her! Nieces and nephews keep her alive!
Kim said she is grateful for modern technology which has enabled her to connect with such a large group of people who have shared information, and personal stories – some funny and some sad, about Lyme Disease, and related topics. Knowledge truly is power.