Disclaimer: I am sharing my thoughts on this topic not as a lecture, but simply as another perspective. I’ve been sick (really sick) too so this article is not an attempt to change anyone’s mind or judge how we bring awareness to an issue. It’s just my opinion in hindsight of my illness. I absolutely respect everyone for their choice to express themselves in a way that feels good to them too :)
I recently read about a Worldwide Lyme Disease Protest that inspired me to share my thoughts on the subject. My initial reactions were: Protesting what? To prove what? While I absolutely understand that camaraderie is beneficial in our healing process, I can’t help but question what this type of protest accomplishes for a group of chronically ill individuals. I imagine the underlining motivation is awareness – but what type of awareness will this really bring?
Several groups will be protesting in their local areas, marching in front of large insurance company and public health buildings. One group plans to set up cots for people to lay in with their IV bags. They plan to hold signs that say: “People with Lyme are dying. We need help.”
The Two Choices You Always Have
You can’t affect change if you’re angry.” – Dr. Lissa Rankin, author of NY Times Besteller “Mind Over Medicine”
The Lyme community and many chronic illness communities generally feel victimized, complaining they are called “crazy,” labeled as crying out for attention, and more. And, I am the first to agree that how some view chronic disease is unfair. I lived in that place for 8 long years. Medication and healing methods should be available to those in need. Period. But I have to wonder what message a group of people wearing signs of blame laying on cots in public is sending to the media and community? Does it elicit awareness or confirmation of their perspectives?
More importantly, what message are we sending to our bodies – each cell and organ, when we digress as victims and declare we will never get well unless someone else saves us?
We must always consider, with each action, what message we are sending ourselves and others. There is one simple question you can ask yourself to help determine which choice you are making: Will this action deplete my/our healing energy or fuel it?
How My Choice Changed My Life
I too was suffering with indescribable symptoms for 8 years, felt gravely misunderstood, and for many years of my illness tended toward the victim mentality. My list of complaints was long: my insurance didn’t pay for my care, doctors didn’t understand, the political environment of Lyme disease made my disease more complicated than others (as if an award came with that), and the list went on. But eventually I realized that in fact, I was more of a detriment to myself than any external influence I despised. Why? Because I let them control me. None of the energy that went to those complaints ever helped me heal.
When I decided to simply do what I could with what I had, despite the roadblocks, things changed. It might have been harder than it could have been, but it was just my path.
In the end, what really helped? Learning where to focus my energy. For me, that meant not firing it at those trying to stop me, but doing my best to build my life right around those roadblocks.by