I Miss the Me I Used To Be

By Jana

March 7, 2023

2 Coments

“I miss the me I used to be.” When I logged on to my Facebook group this morning and started scrolling through your comments, this is the first one I came across. It breaks my heart a little every time I see a post like this. Today, I just want to be here with you. All I want to do is let you know that you aren’t alone. You will get your life back, likely an even better life than the one you’ve been trudging through.

I miss the me I used to be

How many times have you thought this to yourself? Or screamed it inside your head…expressed it on a Facebook post or jotted it down in your journal? I can tell you, this was a recurring note in my journal. Over and over again I wrote, “I feel like a shell of the person I used to be.” I felt like a zombie, roaming through a life that was happening around me, not to me or with me in it.

While seeing posts like this pull at my heart strings, it also raises in me a sense of pride for the individuals expressing themselves. I think there is power in getting these thoughts out into the world. There is a courage in sharing such a tortured expression of despair to a trusted community of people. It takes courage to be vulnerable. Reaching out to others who are like minded, who share your pain, is invaluable for this reason.

Despair is a lonely place

It is not surprising that feelings of despair arise out of chronic illness. The loneliness that surrounds you can be suffocating. That is a driving force for me in continuing to write this blog every week. I hear you, I am listening and I share in your pain, fear, despair and loneliness. I have walked that road. You are not alone. Thank you, thank you for your willingness to unload some of your burden. It is too much to carry alone.

 I have this image in my head of myself during my battle. In this image I appear like a turtle walking on two legs. I’m slumped forward carrying this enormous shell on my back. It’s hard, impenetrable and incredibly demoralizing. On the far side of remission now, and after two years of therapy, I want to whisper in that woman’s ear to drop the shell. I didn’t need to carry it like that.  So, I whisper in your ear now, set down your burden. There are others hear to help you carry it.

You will heal and get better, but be prepared to let go of the “me I used to be”

Scream, cry out, mourn and miss the you you used to be. Absolutely. But true healing comes when you accept that:

  1. You are sick and it’s your Job now to be kind to your body and heal.
  2. Decide to not be a victim, but rather take an active role in caring for yourself. (This includes allowing yourself to mourn and miss your life before Lyme.)
  3. Accept that you may not be the same person you were before this battle began. In point of fact, you will be better!!

I know that number 3 may be a hard pill to swallow. Then again, I imagine you’re used to swallowing pills by this point (I hope you’re laughing now). It may even make you upset or angry with me to hear me say it.  While I certainly missed the old me and mourned the loss of my old life, I also held onto images of myself smiling as inspiration to keep going. At some point I came to recognize that my life wouldn’t be the same on the other side of my battle. So, I loved and cherished the “old me” while looking forward to meeting the “new me”.

Miss the you you used to be, while looking forward to meeting the new you

If I can offer any encouragement today or deep dark secret to  your despair, it’s just that…Indeed, miss that person who began this long and arduous journey. Cherish that person. Congratulate and be proud of that person. He/she led you to this courageous moment in your life. The courage to seek out care. A tenacity to keep fighting in the face of fear and loneliness. Definitely, hold a mental parade for that person you used to be. While you do that, turn your face to the future and look forward to meeting the you who succeeds.

I have this great memory of walking into my doctor’s office for the up-teenth time. I had been seeing her every two months for a year and a half. She had seen me through the hell of doxycycline, the vast desert of Samento and Banderol, the long and winding path of minocycline and bactrim. It was a terribly long journey but I was finally beginning to feel like the new me. I walked in, stood formally in front of her and extended my hand in greeting. With curiosity, she met my hand and I introduced myself.  I said, “Hi, Dr. Barter, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Jana.” It only took her a moment to catch on and she responded with what I think was a touch of pride, saying, “It’s nice to meet you, Jana. I’ve been looking forward to this moment.”

Keep fighting Lymies! You’ll get there too!!


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