A Few Words, by Annie Perkins: A Poetical Synopsis Through Losing One's Self to Chronic Illness & Why It Took Letting Go Believe in the Possibility of Healing

A few words,

Self, learn, honesty, trust, fear release, and possible.

Those seem to sum it. This journey has taken time. It has taken strength. It has taken following my intuition when things seems too daunting, too foggy, too confusing.

It had me take many long walks through the dark. I knew no matter how hard some times were, anything was better than going backwards. So I pushed, some days when I shouldn’t have, for five years now. The old phrase “If I knew then what I know now” echos through my mind. My life is so different now. Not only am I seeing progress, I am also beginning to become one version of myself, not many. I am becoming the me that lay hidden in the background for so many years, that I thought I left her.

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I Found Out I Had Lyme, But Then I Lost Myself: A Story By Julie Maio

Not only does Julie have an incredibly unique way of getting you to put yourself in her shoes, but you can tell, without question, that she's here to not only to share her experiences of Chronic Illness, and how to help those better understand the complications and stigmas behind it, but to stand by you and listen. Really, really listen...

Listen to what might be weighing on you, your (even if small) triumphs through it all, and the way in which you've decided to heal; no judgment, just a presence that reminds you you're not alone. 

Julie (or as many call her, Yoolie), opens up about the way this disease, amongst other complications, can strip you of your sense of self--what it means to be you.

And she'd like you to join in, no matter the obstacle that brought you here.

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It Couldn’t Be That Bad, Right? On Vulnerability, Invisible Turmoil, and Being a Voice for Others in the Face of Chronic Illness

Vulnerability is hard; in speaking with others, in writing about our experiences, and even more so publishing those musings online for all to see and dissect.

During college, I relished connecting with others and exchanging stories. I was frequently inspired by others’ struggles, dreams, and ambitions. I loved sharing my history and seeing how such different backgrounds could overlap with common hurdles that had been overcome.

Until one spring during my senior year, something went wrong. Parts of me were changing and I didn’t know why. These changes were so profound that I didn’t trust my mind, my emotions, or myself anymore. The person I once was, slowly started slipping away.

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On Wilderness, Lyme Disease, and Healing the Spirit, as Lived and Experienced by Jaclyn Ouillette

In August of 2006, I found myself standing on a high mountain in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. I was celebrating. Celebrating 10 years of hard work to get to this point, A NOLS Instructor. I had worked hard to finally  become an Instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Living it up and teaching technical backpacking and backcountry rock climbing in the beautiful Wind River Range in Wyoming. I was amazed at myself for reaching this 10-year long dream.

The high mountain peaks, the alpine flowers, the cold alpine lakes, the crisp fresh air, and my travel French press for my favorite morning treat, a dark, rich hot coffee. What else could I ask for? Amazing students, kick-ass Instructors, and the best co-workers you could imagine.. I had my dream and I was living it... not knowing that less than a month later, I would be fully immersed in my own greatest nightmare, bed-ridden with an illness and no cure.

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Body Talk: On the Relationship Between Film, the Body, and Lyme Disease

We could end up facing emotional triggers we didn't even know were there, or needing to make room for a good laugh: a light digest, some might say. Or maybe, a story structured around treatment ideas, weighted failures, and triumphs filled with mixed emotions, is what's needed most--- regardless of what or how (podcast, video, poem, instagram, a phone call with a good friend, simple heart emoji, or something completely unrelated to chronic illness), there's room for every kind of story shared. 

A story like this one. A poem. A visual representation of how, in that very moment, Amy was inspired to share her experience--- her process and how she chooses to express her relationship with Lyme Disease. Today anyway. 

And my gosh am I glad that she did. 

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More Like Wilderness: A Story Through Lyme To Wellness By Shona Curley

It took four years for me to be diagnosed with Lyme. Over the course of that time I became sick, non-linearly, in ups and downs, loops and surges, strange and disturbing ways. My mind was affected. I felt overwhelmed by loud noises, as though they were penetrating my body.

A touch could send waves of nausea through me. Movies in the theater? The intense visuals and sound invaded my brain and coursed through my body, making me hide in the bathroom. What on earth was happening? I was so obviously unwell, but for four years no doctor seemed to have a clue what to do with me. I was left alone. 

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