Ready to Take on the World: How Dani's Fierce Passion For Self-Expression Has Led Her to Her Best Self, a Confident 24-Year-Old Queen Fighting Lyme Disease

I'm a 24-year-old queen with a fierce passion for glamour, fashion, and music.

I also happen to be dealing with multiple chronic illnesses as a result of late-stage persistent Lyme disease. I've been in relapse for the past two years throughout which I've been trying to finish a doctoral program for physical therapy. During this time, I've fought to maintain the life I once had as well as my own identity. I've struggled through non-relationships where the other person didn't believe in my illness, called me dramatic, or just plain ran away from the gut-wrenching reality of what I go through on a daily basis. I've had lower lows than I ever could've imagined, breaking down my entire sense of self and having to build it back up entirely on my own.

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I Did It Anyway: Maddy's Story On Finding Her Adventure + Redefining What It Means to be Determined in Her Pursuit of Happiness + Fight Against Lyme Disease

I grew up with a love of the outdoors, playing in the ravine next to my house that ran down to Lake Michigan with my twin brother. I frolicked in my local neighborhood parks, rode bikes from dusk to dawn without a care in the world. I ran track and cross country and fell in love with graphic design, film photography and philosophy in high school. I also found a deep passion for music - something I’d realize later on is one of the few things Lyme cannot take away from me as well as something that brings me peace, joy and hope.

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On Finding Your Voice, Hope in the Broken + Passion for what You Love: Charlotte Gomes Journey with Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease

We live in a world that pushes us to think we need to be 100% all the time, that we cannot show our weaknesses, our scars. We cannot tell people that something’s wrong or something has changed. It’s so frustrating to see the lack of authenticity because deep down all we crave for is connection, being able to find someone who is going through the same things as us and realize we’re not alone. With social media we have the incredible power to shed light on the things that matter to us, we can choose to be our own voice and make a difference. So why not start now?

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Down with the Silver Lining + Jonathan's Message to Lyme Disease: You've Overstayed Your Welcome, So Please Don't Make Yourself At Home

Call me callous, but I’m a bit too cynical for the ‘silver lining’ Lyme disease and chronic illness stories. Whenever I encounter them I can’t help but daydream about the speed and alacrity with which I would trade in my personal ‘silver lining’ for a cloudless sky at some imaginary Chronic Illness Unemployment Office (“Yes, I gave it the old college try, but Lyme just wasn’t for me, you understand of course?”) If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just bear with me, it will become more relatable shortly... 

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Learning to Pull Strength from the Unexpected Parts of Life: Why Sarah Chooses to Fight Chronic Lyme Disease with Optimism + Adventure

“Where’s my happy girl? I never see you smile anymore.” 

My jaw clenched and I stared straight ahead as it became increasingly more difficult to breathe. This was the start of my fourth panic attack today, I noted with a journalistic objectivity. They’d been getting more and more frequent for months but even this was unprecedented. I counted the passes of the windshield wiper as I tried to divert my thoughts...

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Finding + Creating Your Own Best Self While Taking On The Setbacks Of Lyme Disease. A Story By Natalie Bettinelli

I was diagnosed with Lyme disease on July 6th, 2016, just three short weeks after my wedding in Napa, California. In what seemed like no time at all, I went from being surrounded by friends and family and feeling overwhelmingly loved by the outpouring of support, to shocked, scared, lonely, confused, and very, very sick. 

Looking back, I should have seen the signs and known something was up. We had a stressful year, but like anyone, I found excuses for my exhaustion and poor physical health. I blamed work, moving across the country, changing jobs, my long distance relationship, and training for my first marathon. I continued to tell myself to push through, that I would be fine.

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