The only person that knows who I truly am is my girlfriend. Stayed for years. Super lucky, I know. Not sick. Super careful to not get her sick. Though, that's another topic entirely.
But, the only person who really remembers who I was before all of this is me. Apart from you guys, I'm alone in this. Heck, even with you guys, I'm still alone. You're all awesome. The love and knowledge shared here is a blessing, but I spend the majority of my days bearing this illness alone. The same is true for most of us.
You mentioned friends. It's sad, I wouldn't say I have any real friends. I don't have many close relationships in general, family or otherwise. Just the one. I haven't for many years.
Though, having forced myself to come out of my shell more over the past couple of years, there are a few people who have given me their numbers, added me on Facebook, offered to go out together, but it's just strange for me.
On one hand, I don't remember how to be a friend to someone. On the other, I don't know how to show people the sides of me that I hide.
Will they understand? I don't really want to go through the conversations of "what is Lyme?" or "well, Google says this..."
I don't know how to feel about that. I don't really think of myself as a loser or anything. It's normal to have friends, but I understand why that's not the case for me at this point in my life. I don't want to deal with that right now, anyway. If it happens, okay. I'm not going to seek it out.
I'm nice to people. I help out. I try to do my best as far as socialization goes. I'm not ever going to be the one to initiate any kind of activities outside of school or work, though.
I'm not gonna share anything about my health situation, apart from that I don't eat a traditional diet d/t GI issues. I have to address that, because food is a common bonding item for people. Want to get some coffee? Want to go out to eat with us? We're having a pizza party today? Et cetera.
It's a shame. We all wish we could be the people we were before Lyme disease. Do normal things. Whatever. The ideal lives pictured in our heads.
I won't say it's impossible, because it's not, but it is a challenge, and there are often many doors that need to be opened in order for a person to say that they're themselves again.
Part of me questions whether I really remember who I was at all. Will I know "me" when I see him? I don't know. Part of me questions whether that even matters. At this point, I am who I am. I'll have been infected ten years this summer. I was 16. I've spent more of my life sick than I did, like... fully aware, with a developed mind, capable of abstract thought, the ability to understand myself, life, etc. I'm more of an Antonio with Lyme disease than I was without, if that makes sense.
It's just a huge part of my life. I pray for the day that's not the case, but I'll forever be marked by it. There's no changing that. I hope that I'll be able to be free of it for the most part, not be hindered, but I don't think I'll forget for the rest of my natural life.
We work towards who we stand to become, our potential, etc. It's not about who I was anymore. It's who I am, the good and the bad, what I'd like to change in order to be who I stand to be. Again, my potential.
Don't be complacent with your health - keep fighting, but when I think about it, letting go is a part of the process. That sounds bad, because... of course, you want to be yourselves. You want to be whole, right? I get it, and I'm not trying to wrong that necessarily so much as just say it's about going forward, not back.
I've never experienced a huge jump in my health, so I don't really have the authority to say this: you're really lucky, if you can say that you're completely healed, and there's never a thought of Lyme lingering in your mind. Those people are rare, I feel. You see the ones that come and go, last seen a year ago, and... yeah, they're better, most of them. We talk about suicide, sometimes, but that's the slim margin. Most of us cling to life. So, yeah, people do get better, but is it truly 100%? Do they really never think about Lyme? Not have one little residual effect? I don't know. I wish I did. I see people talking about 90% better, 98%. That's amazing to me. I would take that. I'd gladly live with, say, 80 and stay on maintenance protocols for the rest of my life, if that's all that I were allowed.
You're here. It hurts, I know. You miss certain things about times passed. People, places, feelings in your heart. The voice inside your head speaks to you a little differently, perceives the world around you in ways that aren't always to your liking.
Keep fighting. Cut out the negative influences, as best as you can. Treat. Take the rests you need, but push yourself to grow what you can, because life doesn't wait.
My perspective might be a little different. For whatever reason, I've spent a lot of time in a limbo of sorts. My doors just won't open. This could all be a distant memory for you, a year from now.
Do the work, be the prize.