Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Lyme Disease Awareness Month: "It's All Mental"

It's Lyme Disease awareness month, and since so many of my readers deal with Lyme and dozens of other similar, horrific illnesses, I want to bring awareness to chronic invisible illness in general. I will be writing posts weekly for the rest of the month to help combat common misconceptions about people living with chronic invisible illness.

I hope many of you can share these posts on your social media to raise awareness about the hidden, grueling, and isolating battles caused by Lyme, CFS, CIRS, Fibromyalgia, POTS and so many more insidious illnesses.

One of the Health Warrior's most difficult challenges is navigating the common, noisy misconceptions others have about their illness. Today I want to debunk the fallacy that much of, if not all of, their illness is in their heads.

My Health Warrior friends often lament the skepticism friends and family have about their illnesses. These skeptics think their sick loved ones are so mentally unstable that they have created, or believed, wild narratives about getting sick, or are so lazy they prefer lying in bed everyday to working.

This is puzzling, because before these Health Warriors got sick, they were not lazy and were not inclined to shirk their responsibilities; instead, they were industrious, independent, reasonable, and truthful. People trusted them. Even those who doubt their illness trusted them.

Here is a helpful test for discerning whether or not someone is lying about their health challenges:

Did they show signs of delusion before they got sick? Were they liars? Or were they honest, hard-working, reliable people? If the latter, then there is a good chance they are not lying about their illness. Trust them. They are the same trustworthy people they were before they got sick.

I also want to clarify misconceptions about the perceived the laziness of people with chronic invisible illness: they are likely fighting the hardest battle of their life, with more grit than they have ever before had to conjure up. It's just that now, unlike their days of health and working in a normal job, their work does not reap dividends; there is little to no evidence of it; it is thankless. And yet, they persevere. This, I think, is a powerful sign of a good work ethic: continuing to work hard without any hint at reward.

I'm cheering for you, Health Warriors! You are practicing some of life's best stuff: patience, perseverance, and hope. 


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© by scj

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