DON’T CALL ME A #LYMEWARRIOR. This is what I have to say.
New York Magazine, The Cut, and Molly Fischer are taking so much heat for their piece about what happens when Lyme becomes an identity. Their story is NOT the whole story about Lyme, but it IS a part of it. This is something I’ve been talking about for years.
You are not your illness.
That does not mean your illness is not real. I had chronic debilitating horrific Lyme disease for almost a decade. I was bedridden. I almost died. We need the community support in fellow Lyme friends. Yes. We need better diagnostic testing and treatment. Yes. But I saw this “sickness culture” firsthand. I got defensive and hated every doctor, person, or journalist that suggested I was dedicating my life to Lyme. I felt like they were saying LYME ISN’T REAL. I was wrong.
Finally, at some point, I stopped obsessing over the unfairness of it all, stopped talking about it, and stopped blaming everything and everyone for not getting better. It was all justified 100%, but it didn’t help me heal. It did the opposite.
In my memoir, THIS IS HOW I SAVE MY LIFE, I write: “I went from an existence committed to killing Lyme to an existence committed to healing me. I had to acknowledge the parts of me that were saved when I stopped fueling the war on Lyme—for I was throwing the energy of that fight into my very own body.”
I didn’t heal until I decided Lyme wasn’t me and I wasn’t Lyme. It wasn’t my life even when I felt like it was. This is my truth. Lyme is real and so is Lyme identity. If you are struggling with any chronic illness, remember who you are: human.
I know it’s so so so hard when you’re struggling. I have been there. But you have to see yourself as more than Lyme in order to get better. I say this now as someone who has been healthy now for almost as long as I was sick. You are human. You are human. You are human.
You are more human than you are Lyme. The end.