I find myself in the isothermal region of North Carolina in a collapsed squat on a mossy rock, sure not to touch the trees, plants, and brush that I rarely find the courage to return to. The chickweed, poison ivy, and mountain flora around me lay heavy from the moisture that continues to blanket the region from the early morning passing of the clouds. I can barely hear myself talking to the plants, chanting a line from a book that had struck me as exactly this place. It’s a place where I feel like I haven’t quite died, yet it is quiet, primal, and dense with moisture and mystery. Frozen in my squat, legs increasingly numb, I talk to and draw the plants because if I don’t, I’m positive I’ll crumble and be lost forever. I came to these mountains to get out of my own head of soul crushing thoughts and it turns out that can sometimes be impossible when it comes to the stronghold that inflammation can have over my brain. I only arrived to this mossy rock by means of a complete breakdown in the middle of no where, screaming for help that took me out of a cabin and led me down a steep path off the side of a switchback road.Read More
A young woman that brings movement and life to the pain filed moments, transitions, and sudden shifts that inevitably happen when living with Chronic Late Stage Lyme Disease. A young woman who takes charge and creates from a place of curiosity and an unbreakable love for nature and those that help to make her life full, vibrant, and so much more than.
She pauses, listens, really, really listens, and takes note of the world around her. Both the good and the bad, the successes and the pitfalls, using them as reasons to keep moving forward with her treatment, and working hard at not just giving but receiving love from herself as she faces each "ah ha" validation and seemingly insurmountable obstacle.
Annie is meeting herself where she is, while not hesitating to make great strides into the world that has now opened up to her.
- art, nature, connection, love, letting go, and so much more -
This her her story.Read More
I was diagnosed January of 2014 after my immune system plummeted when I came down with the Epstein barr virus (mono). It was devastating and relieving news all at the same time. I contracted it around the age of ten when I was living in the woods of NJ. For over a decade I was in and out of doctor’s offices running tests and looking for answers. When the tests results came in positive it gave me something to treat, something to work on. Before, I was discouraged and frustrated, shooting in the dark with strict diets, supplements, and palliative measures. I finally knew what my body was screaming at me so desperately trying to communicate. On the outside I look healthy, but on the inside I feel like my body is failing me and at 22 years old that is not acceptable. I have my entire life ahead of me and I will not let this disease change how I live.Read More
Question: Letting go. In the process of being diagnosed with Lyme Disease, what things have you had to sacrifice and let go of? And how do you cope and adjust to this new way of life?
Keri: Letting go is very hard, especially because I really loved my extremely active and on-the-go life, and I miss it. By the age of 26 I had traveled to over 20 countries, lived abroad twice, and earned two college degrees. I find myself saying “before I got sick I did this...” “when I was healthy I was very...” so that type of language and thought implies that I can’t be myself or be who I am because of my symptoms and how this disease has plagued my brain. Besides the stress and pain of being sick, we are sick with bacterias that our government denies and doesn’t even know how to test for or treat! Now that I am out of my brain fog and have my short-term memory back, I adjust and cope by practicing non-attachment from yoga, realize that every moment, emotion, and body ache is fleeting, and I tell myself and my body how much I love them.Read More
But my favorite self-love coping tools include: mindfulness + meditation practices, journaling exercises, spending time outdoors, playing with my awesome pup, and connecting with others who understand (Instagram is a great way to do this!).
Question: Following your passion. What activities do you do for yourself that help feed your mind and body? And how do these activities help you stay motivated through the good and the bad?
Adrienne: I like to consider myself a Jackie-of-all-trades, and have so many different passions. I enjoy learning, creating, connecting, traveling, and playing! Spending time outdoors nourishes me on so many levels – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Even if all I can do is sit out in my backyard – the sun, sounds, and earth are so healing.Read More
This is, Kristen, known to many as, Rainbow Dash (her trail name).
A little bit about her and her "home"...
I get my mail in a small town in rural Kentucky. I've been told that "my people" are in Asheville, NC, or the Pacific Northwest, but I've yet to live in either of those locales. I'm a bit of a nomad; I had five address in eight months in 2013. But, hey, "not all those who wander are lost," right? I turned 26 on trail this year; I celebrated with a road walk detour because the PCT had a fire closure. I was bitten by the tick that gave me Lyme four days after I turned 22. It was two years before I became noticeably (and severely) ill and nearly another year before I was diagnosed.
Where did your passion of hiking derive from. Was it recent, or does the itch go way back?Read More