New Year’s while Chronically Ill: Looking Back at 2015

Happy New Year’s!

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It’s hard to believe its 2016 already.

(Excuse me… but what the heck?  For some reason, my brain still likes to think that the ’90s were ten years ago.  Don’t ask why.  And then, after realizing that my math skills/internal calendar are way off, all of the sudden, I’m grieving over the loss of my “best” years again.)

It was 2008 when I fell seriously ill.  Acknowledging that I’ve been sick for the better half of a decade is hard.

And 2015 was hard.

Inexplicably hard.  It was a year full of pain, suffering, hardship, deep sorrow, and desperation.

But 2015 was also beautiful, inspiring and full of hope.

And I have proof!

  • I found God in 2015.
  • I found a doctor I can trust in 2015 (a first, for me).
  • I found treatment that gave me real progress and relief in 2015 (also a first).
  • I connected with and met beautiful Lyme warriors in 2015.
  • I learned more about myself that I ever have in my whole life in 2015.
  • I realized my strength, perseverance, and determination in 2015.
  • I took back control of my happiness in 2015.
  • I found the will to live and never give up on my goal of complete health in 2015.
  • I traveled to Florida, NYC, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Utah, and was actually able to do normal things while traveling in 2015.
  • I hiked one of the top 10 most dangerous trails in the world, Angels Landing in Zion National Park in 2015.

Yeah…

That happened!

Sorry for being so bragg-y, but this was most definitely one of the best moments of my life so far.

Check out this video my wonderful boyfriend surprised me with below.  Make sure to watch until the end.

Seriously, CLICK PLAY! :)

As you can see, I had many moments where I felt joyfully alive in 2015.

And I owe it all to the Hansa Center.  So even though I haven’t blogged about my trips to Kansas yet, the list above might give you an idea of the miraculous healing I’ve received there.  The last 5 things on the list wouldn’t have been possible without treatment in Kansas.

But unfortunately, I’ve had some setbacks.  Which is to be expected, when you’ve been sick for so long and are dealing with multiple systemic infections.  (And when mold exposure rears it’s ugly head. Seriously mold? Go away, no one wants you.)

On New Years this year, I was feeling really ill and I found myself beating myself up for not accomplishing any of my resolutions from last year.

I had to stop and force myself to focus on all that I have accomplished instead.

As people with chronic illness, we have to remember that fighting for our health every single day is a monumental accomplishment.  Maybe we don’t have a long list of fun adventures, milestones, career success, and achievements like our peers, but, I tell ya – we’ve accomplished a helluva lot.

We’ve survived.

We’ve picked ourselves back up more times than we could count.

We’ve worked hard every single day, for things most take for granted.

We’ve become our own doctors, advocates, healers, educators, and investigators.

We’ve continually dug deep to find strength we didn’t even know we had.

We’ve persevered.

And that’s something to be proud of.

So many of us with Lyme are Type A, perfectionist, overachievers (raise your hand if that’s you).  I know I am.  And that’s also part of what got me into this mess.  I put achievement, and “doing everything” over my health.  I always pushed through the pain for the outcome.  My “see, fight, conquer” mindset had got me so far in life, and I was determined to rise to the challenge and conquer Lyme.

But chronic illness doesn’t work that way.  It just doesn’t.

But even after realizing that, my resolutions last year STILL reflected that mentality.  (Probably to no ones surprise.  My stubbornness runs deep.) Last year my goals were to:

  • Beat Lyme Disease
  • Get a full time job as an Occupational Therapist
  • Start volunteering
  • Get back to a regular exercise schedule
  • Meet new friends
  • Smile and laugh more

Seriously???  Ok the last two weren’t horrible, I guess, although still pretty vague and nauseatingly unoriginal.  But looking back, my goals were completely unrealistic and I only set myself up to be deeply disappointed.  Who puts regular exercise as a goal when they’re bedridden several days out of the month?  This girl does, apparently.

And to be clear, I’m not proud of it, it only shows the lack of compassion I had for myself, and my intense dissatisfaction and guilt I had about not being successful or where I wanted to be in life.

I didn’t make any of those goals this year.

Do I still want to be completely healthy and have a full time job?!  More than anything, my dear, MORE THAN ANYTHING.

But I know those things will come, when my intentions are in the right place and I’m not beating myself up for not reaching those things yet.

I know 2016 is my year.

I will be healed.

I will get a job.

I just know it.

So for 2016, I focused on intentionally setting reasonable goals that will bring me greater health, happiness and satisfaction in my life.  The rest will follow.

Here’s what I came up with:


2016 New Year’s Resolutions 


Mental Health

  • Be gentle on myself
    • Listen to my body, only do what I feel like doing
    • Stop comparing myself to others without illness
    • Forgive myself for things I don’t have the energy or capacity to do
  • Do something that feels good every day

Physical Health

  • Stretch for 3 min every morning
  • Go outside for 5 min every day
  • Eat more regularly

Spiritual

  • Gratitude prayer every night (at least 5 things/one hand)
  • Journal once a week (Sundays)
  • Speak my truth more
  • Create more (color, write, paint, craft)

Social/Connection

  • Increase online presence
    • Blog at least once a month
    • Be more active and authentic on Instagram
  • More regular texts/calls with friends

My Caregivers

  • Compliment, praise, and recognize efforts more
  • Remember Mom, Dad, and Ben hurt when I hurt too

Career

  • Research holistic occupational therapy treatments once a week (starting February)
  • Shadow/volunteer whenever I feel well enough

 


So there you have it!

And one last note – I’M HEADING BACK TO KANSAS THIS WEEKEND for another whole week of treatment!!

Here’s to 2016 bringing an abundance of light, love, healing, and health to each and every one of us!

Xoxo,

Lindsey

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