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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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,
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