How My Chronic Illness Makes Blogging A Struggle

How My Chronic Illness Makes Blogging A Struggle

The Struggle To Conquer Negative Nora

I have debated if this post was a good idea or simply a dissenting notion. Generally speaking, I love looking on the bright side of things, so with that in mind I hope that I will not be coined a “Negative Nora.”

Blogging with a chronic illness is similar to writing poetry on a battlefield, it just doesn’t come naturally, at least not for me. It is a struggle, but sometimes sharing the unvarnished truth can be cathartic.

I write not only to help others, but also to help myself. By keeping my eyes on both the daily struggles of treatment and the goal of remission, I can see how far I’ve come. It gives me the courage to keep going. 

Hopefully this post will underline the fact that I am still struggling with Lyme disease and shine an honest light on what it is like to maintain a blog while suffering from a severe chronic illness.

The Battlefield of Blogging With a Chronic Illness

 

The Battlefield of Blogging

At the risk of sounding a bit pessimistic, it is on days like today that I wonder why I ever started blogging about my journey through Lyme disease in the first place.

Today it hurts to even move my fingers. Typing is a  strange combination of joy and agony. Fatigue presses on me like an iron weight.

I wonder how I will ever keep up with the demands of my blog and my own personal life? Finding balance is an exercise in having patience with myself. The bottom line is that blogging is extremely hard work.

I want to share with you, my wonderful readers, the struggles and triumphs that make up the magical and often exhausting world of blogging. Before I get started, I also want to assure you that I do not blog to my own detriment.

If I need a break, then you can bet I will take one! After all, what kind of a help can I be if I am not leading with a good example of self care? It is a struggle to keep at it while also taking care of the complicated mess that is “my life with Lyme.”

Some days just breathing is a struggle for me.

Quite often I cannot write. My creative abilities are not limited because I lack inspiration, but because I lack the sufficient energy and endurance to create.

Post ideas run through my head with relative frequency, but I seldom get around to actually writing them down. So this morning when I sat down to work on a post I thought, “Why not share the struggle I face creating my blog?”

So often I have been guilty of reading a wonderful post by another blogger and thinking, “Wow, they must really have it all together to write such an amazing post!” The blood, sweat and tears that make up a successful blog are so often just taken for granted.

I know it might, “look like I have it all together,” here on the blog, but then again maybe not so much. I am here to tell you I most certainly do not. My blog is a battlefield whether it looks like one or not.

Blogging with late stage Lyme disease

The Struggle of the Mind and Body

Crushing fatigue has become a permanent fixture of my everyday life. I am continuously elbowing my way through it. So often I feel like a prize-fighter that has gone twelve rounds in the ring with cement blocks tied around his ankles and wrists.

I am constantly weighing whether or not I have the energy to do this or that. More often than not, Friday rolls around and I have half-written posts here and there, but nothing worth hitting the publish button for.

Ideas float through my planner in half scribbled sentences. Visions that were flights of clarity in the middle of a broken week, litter my notebooks. If you visited with me on any given day you might catch me staring at a sentence or two, wondering how I will create a post from those tiny scraps of coherent thought.

You would see me rolling those thoughts around desperately trying to meld them into some idea of helpfulness that will encourage and not dishearten my readers. If you could see inside my mind, you would see me visibly tear up imaginary pages and crumple them into the trash. More of my ideas fail than succeed. This is the writer’s life.

blogging with brain fog

Brain fog and unclear thoughts plague me.

So often, I know what I would like to write, but getting from point “A” to point “B” is a bit of a mystery for me. Pain litters my days and nights, so often it is the center of my small world. How does one write positively about pain? How does one write encouraging thoughts when it is hard to think clearly and sometimes an impossibility to even think at all?

Battle after grueling battle, this is life with Late Stage Lyme disease. This is life with a blog and chronic illness. Some of these conflicts are emotional, some physical, but the struggle to create is always there.

Writing does not come easily for me. I would compare it to lifting weights. It is an exercise in resistance and strength. My constant striving against exhaustion and pain have a way of muddling up even the simplest of thoughts.

Lyme disease has a way of whittling down a life until it barely resembles anything normal. It is the struggle to rise above that irregularity that is half the battle. The endeavor to help another through sharing my own pain brings with it both joys and burdens.

Writer's Block

Hitting the Blogging Brick Wall

This past week there was a short paragraph posted by a fellow blogger on one of the blogging networks that I belong to. To say that I admire this blogger immensely is an understatement. When she mentioned that she couldn’t stomach writing about her illness right now and how April is a hard month for her personally, I thought to myself, “I feel this same way!”  

She talked of hitting a proverbial wall. I admire her even more for admitting the struggle to write and facing that wall that writers dread. It is something that I deal with on a daily basis.

So how do I continue to write the posts for Lilac and Lyme?

One word at a time, stolen moments of clarity here and there, this is how I roll. I proofread each post once, twice, three, or even four times. Struggling to make sense of my thoughts, I write and rewrite. These are the scattered moments that make up a blog about chronic illness. Then there is the hesitancy that walks hand in hand with the moment that I decide to hit the publish button.

I struggle with worrying if I have shared too much, agonizing over each paragraph and dreading the back lash of people’s opinions, the trolls and spammers just hanging around to cause trouble. Thankfully for now, those are few and far between.

Then there is the flip side, the joy of connecting with a kindred spirit, someone else who knows what it is like to live a life in the trenches of chronic illness. That person who reads what I have written and says, “Yes, yes, yes!”  

These are the moments that a writer lives for. Common ground is one of the most beautiful spots in the human heart. It is where we go to find encouragement, solidarity and friendship. This is what makes the struggle to write so worthwhile. This is why I keep blogging.

The Darkness & Light of blogging with a chronic illness

The Darkness and Light of Blogging With a Chronic Illness

This is what you sign up for when you decide to have a deeply personal, yet very public blog. It is both an extremely rewarding and often nerve-racking experience. Although, I will be the first to tell you blogging has been one of the most fulfilling ventures of my short life.

There is something very satisfying about sharing your heart with the world. Exposing the soft under belly of shared experience is a worthwhile endeavor. 

Day after day I receive an abundance of kind, caring and encouraging comments. My lovely readers share with me how something I have written has helped or encouraged them.

Quite often they simply say that they have found something that they can identify with in my struggle, in my story. The level of raw honesty and courage that each one of you share with me touches my heart.

Why I Keep Writing

If you were to ask me why I keep struggling to write, It would be because of you, my amazing readers and fellow Lyme warriors! You inspire me to keep fighting.

Sharing our stories about life with this terrible disease called Lyme and all of its co-infections is not always easy. But, they are stories that need telling. One story at a time we are changing the landscape of our world. We are showing the main stream medical profession and the CDC that Chronic Lyme is a very real condition.

Bringing to light the struggles of a life with late stage lyme disease

My Purpose, Bringing to Light the Struggles of a Life With Lyme

Each time a Lyme warrior speaks up, another brick in the fabric of denial is ripped down. I am inspired anew with each brick that falls. So from the bottom of my heart to yours, I want to say thank you for being you. Thank you for being so brave and continuing to fight the good fight. Thank you for encouraging me to keep writing.

Some days I wonder if I will ever be able to write anything that remotely resembles common sense again! The bottom line is that writing is both a struggle and a sacrifice. But then, some wonderful soul reads the scattered words I have scribbled and they tell me how much it has helped them and my purpose is renewed, my strength is garnered and more words are written.

Blogging is a work in progress, it resembles Lyme disease treatments. One step at a time, one word at a time, one story at a time we will bring to light what it means to live with this thief called Lyme.

Both Writing & Healing Are A ProcessAnd One That Is OftenNot Easily Accomplished.

The Process of Writing and Healing

Both writing and healing are a process and one that is often not easily accomplished. Slow and steady wins the race. Slowly but surely, courage will win the day and one day soon the world will sit up and realize that there is a wolf at the door in the shape of a tick.

Education and research will change the way our illness is viewed and treated. Advances will be made and what is in the shadows now, will be brought into the Lyme light. Lyme will be recognized and maybe then we, the warriors will gain a respite from our fight and healing can begin.

So often I will get a sudden spurt of inspiration write down two sentences and save it. I will come back to those two sentences one week, sometimes two weeks later and a blog post will suddenly form in my mind. I have found that the process of creating is lengthy. It is a good idea for me to have at least a half-dozen, half-formed ideas in the blog post savings bank to draw upon.

One Day Soon the World Will Sit UpAnd Realize That There is A Wolf At the Door in the Shape of a Tick.-

This post was just two sentences in a notebook when I first began writing it.

It is my hope that you will find something in my scattered thoughts that you can identify with, something that will encourage you to fight on. I hope you feel less alone. I hope you know that you have friends in your corner who understand.

The desire of my heart is that the struggle I go through each week will be transparent, so that you will never have to think, “She has it all together,” because sweet friends I assure you I do not! I seriously doubt anyone does. We are just struggling along trying to make sense of this journey called life.

Until next time, keep fighting, keep encouraged and in the meantime I will press on and keep writing.

Have a wonderful week,

Valerie

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30 Responses to How My Chronic Illness Makes Blogging A Struggle

  1. Such a well written post. I love the fact that you said you’d started this post as two lines in your notebook! Much appreciation of the process to construct and publish this (and all) your posts. I am not a Lyme disease suffered but have a history littered with illnesses and broken bones and an eventual diagnosis of chronic illness. I fear though, like you, that this was lurking for many years before it was finally properly diagnosed. I love your positivite outlook, despite your suffering, and honesty. Look forward to many more of your posts x Esther
    Esther Colavecchio recently posted…Monte CassinoMy Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Esther,
      Thank you so much for reading. Your lovely encouraging comment mean so much to me! Sending you hugs and healing thoughts. Valerie

  2. Dear sweet warrior friend, oh how you channeled my thoughts almost to an exact sentence at times! What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing yourself with us, your readers. This blogging life while coping with chronic illness is definitely a challenge, and for me personally, such a struggle. I recently experienced a three month writing drought due to the fact I simply didn’t have the spare energy to share much less try to be encouraging for others. This post is perfect, and I relate to the challenges you overcame to write it and hit publish! Take care of you, lovely lady. Share as you are able. Your writing is such a Blessing!
    -Terry xxoo💚💚💚
    Terry Mayfield recently posted…Having Faith in My Journey. Believing in My Strength!My Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dearest Terry,
      Thank you so much sweet friend for reading and for the encouragement. I know how you feel about a drought. I feel a bit like I have been in one myself. Take care of you. You are a blessing to me. Hugs, Valerie

  3. Kim says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been struggling and unable to write anything for a few weeks. It’s so hard when grief and bouts of depression take over. It’s hard to find words when you want to encourage others. I really appreciate you sharing how this battle affects you – it’s been an encouragement to me (as your writing always is!) ~ Kim
    Kim recently posted…How To Grocery Shop With Brain Fog And Still Save Money!My Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Kim,
      I am so glad it encouraged you. I was so worried that it would be a discouragement. I could identify so much with what you posted on the CIB Facebook page the other day, and was inspired to share my struggles. Sending you special hugs and I truly admire you and your blog. Thank you for being a friend. Blessings, Valerie

  4. Rebecca says:

    I have enjoyed following your beautiful, honest posts. There’s nothing glorified abou chronic Lyme disease, but the beautiful thing that can come about is that we can all become in touch with who we are in the bare bones sense. There’s no perfection, just doing our best. There’s a sense of liberation in that. Keep fighting the good fight!

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Rebecca,
      Thank you so much for your encouragement. You are right, there is nothing about Lyme disease that is beautiful, but beautiful things can come out of the struggle. Sending hugs and thanks, Valerie

  5. Chronic Mom says:

    I can definitely relate to this. Lately I’ve been so foggy I don’t feel like I’ve been doing blogging justice. I often wonder if I should give it up, but I haven’t done it yet!
    Chronic Mom recently posted…6 tips for better sleep with chronic painMy Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Shelley,
      I can identify with feeling like your writing is suffering. I feel this way all the time. Don’t give up! I LOVE your blog. You have encouraged me beyond measure. Blessings sweet friend, Valerie

  6. Stacey says:

    “Blogging with a chronic illness is similar to writing poetry on a battlefield, it just doesn’t come naturally,”
    Yes. Just yes to every single word.
    Stacey recently posted…When Kindness Meets You Where You AreMy Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Stacey,
      Thank you so very much for reading and your encouraging comment. Keep fighting the fight. I love, love your blog. You are such an inspiration to me. Hugs, Valerie

  7. Syri says:

    Thank you for sharing the positive in chaos, pain & struggle. It seems more often than not I over penalize myself for my inability to complete tasks with writing, cleaning house, the kids & just taking in a much needed breath. You have given me clarity and a peace that I couldn’t find in the mirror. With this starting point I believe now I can find more. Thank you so much for sharing, what felt like my story.

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Syri,
      Thank you so much for reading and your encouraging comment. Write when you are able, this is what I have to keep reminding myself. hugs and blessings, Valerie

  8. Sheryl says:

    Totally get the disheartening trolls bit. Surprisingly, they are often fellow chronic illness people themselves! But probably reduced to a state of bitterness. But yes, to know that a post has helped make even one person’s day more than makes up for it 🙂 Keep writing my friend!

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Sheryl,
      I know! These illnesses take their toll in so many ways. Your writing is inspiring and I have enjoyed reading it! Thank you for the encouragement. Hugs sweet friend, Valerie

  9. Brittany W says:

    Brain fog makes blogging so hard. There’s nothing like writing a post only to realize it makes no sense outside your head.

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Brittany,
      You are so right! Some days my thoughts are just a jumbled puzzle in my head. Thank you for reading. Blessings, Valerie

  10. Priscilla Bean says:

    Very well written. You are a writer at heart. It comes from the heart. Keep on going one day at a time. Wish I could take some of your pain away. Love you to the moon and back. Mom

  11. Lynn says:

    Valerie, I am so grateful that you share! I am so glad you write down your sentences or half-sentences here and there, and then make posts for us later! You have brought so much understanding to me about Lyme disease. I realize now the gravity of the situation I might have faced had I not found the infected tick that bit me and had my doctor not treated immediately, without doing any blood work. I guess I was lucky to have a 3/4 bull’s eye around my bite. Two plus weeks of treatment kept me from a more agonizing story to have to tell. I admire you so greatly, and as I have said before, the things you write about affect me in so many ways that have nothing to do with Lyme disease at all! I have fears and doubts and sadness that you help me with, and again, nothing to do with any medical ailment. You help me with spiritual ailments! With emotional ailments! I love you!! I hope you can have complete remission! xoxo Lynn
    Lynn recently posted…Clothes for EntertainersMy Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Lynn,
      Thank you so much for reading and your sweet, encouraging comment and well wishes. I am SO glad that you got the treatment you needed when you were first bitten. Love and hugs and much care. xoxo Valerie

  12. Ali says:

    What a great post! Thankyou so much for saying this! It’s so important to talk about our struggles xx

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Ali,
      Thank you so much for reading and your wonderful, encouraging comment. You are right, sharing our struggles is so important. xo Valerie

  13. Allie says:

    I just found this post on Pinterest and I want to say good for you. I contracted Lyme 17 years ago and went disnoagnosed for five, the three codiseases i had must have sped my disease by the time of diagnosis I had advanced neuro psychiatric Lyme. I went thru half a decade of treatment until my disease was dormant. When I got sick we didn’t have blogs. But I have so many journals stashed away, filled with brain fog, sadness, and pain that is Lyme. Good for you for keeping up the strength to make a blog in this time of turmoil and distress i know so well. There is hope, life is still a beautiful blessing, healing and maintenance is possible, I’m proof! Feel free to contact me if you want to talk.

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Allie,
      Thank you for reading and for reaching out! It is so wonderful to know that there is hope of recovery. I’m so very happy for you!I am looking forward to reaching remission and hopeful that it will not take too awfully long. Blessings, Valerie

  14. Can I just say: “Yes, Yes, Yes!” I could have written this myself, if I had got round to filling out the idea that is. I think with Lyme, especially if treating, the ups and downs of your health are particularly challenging as some days you can type away happily (for a bit) and others you can’t remember your own name.

    I also find it hard to imagine other bloggers struggling even though I struggle myself with it, which makes you end up feeling like you’re alone in struggling to blog. I feel comforted by the many people I have found through blogging also going through my struggles, and yet no-one really speaks about how hard it can be to blog, so thank you. I know now I’m not alone and I feel a bit better about it!

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Laura,
      I am so glad that this post was an encouragement. I was so worried that it would be too negative. You are definitely not alone in this struggle to blog. Keep writing, I LOVE your posts and can identify with what you write so much! Blessings, Valerie

  15. Sue says:

    I can definitely relate to this. I go through periods on a regular basis where I can’t write because brain fog makes it impossible to form the words.

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Sue,
      Thank you so much for reading. I can totally identify with the brain fog. It truly can be horrendous. Blessings, Valerie

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