When I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme, I remember leaving my appointment in tears. I wasn’t sure if I was crying because I finally had an answer after all of those years of uncertainty, or because I knew that I had a long road towards recovery.
I slowly acknowledged what happened and the pain and guilt started to kick in.
In my case, the person who felt the most guilt was my mom. She had been trying to find answers for me for years, taking me to all of the best doctors and specialists, yet still not finding the answer.
With Lyme disease, the longer you are undiagnosed, the harder it is to treat the disease because of the devastation that it can have on your organs, nervous system, and brain.
Wishing She Knew Sooner
My mom felt guilty that she hadn't figure out what was wrong with me sooner, mainly because so many people in my community have been faced with tick-borne illnesses. My brother, John, had actually already been in treatment before me.
I was physically in pain. However, it hurt twice as much when I knew how my mom felt so guilty about something she didn’t have control over. I felt guilty that she felt guilty. It was a vicious cycle!
Feeling the pain and the guilt was without a doubt one of the hardest emotional challenges I had to overcome. Sometimes, even harder than the physical pain. I was tempted to run away from the unpleasant emotions.
EXPERIENCING THE PAIN
You might feel the same way. You might want to run away. It’s essential that you don’t. Instead, you must experience the pain fully. It is one of the steps to your emotional recovery.
So, how can you experience the pain fully?
First of all, it’s important to acknowledge all the pain and the guilt. From a very early age, society has trained us to run away from negative emotions, such as sadness and pain. That’s why as we grow older when we encounter these feelings, it might be tough to navigate them. Our first reaction is to run away from them, and our minds are not able to process these emotions.
Processing negative emotions is crucial because it can help us figure out how we honestly feel and the next actions we need to take.
According to Lisa Firestone Ph.D., a Psychology Today writer:
“Allowing ourselves to fully experience our feelings can help us sort out what we really want and think, and how we can make our behavior consistent with those desires.”
While it was hard for me, I took the moment to process my emotions and talk them through with my mom, other family members, and Friends in the Fight.
Eventually, the guilt was replaced with more positive and productive emotions. My mom and I focused on my road to recovery.
This Mother’s Day, I just wanted to honor my mom who’s always with me every step of the way.
How did your mom handle the news when you were first diagnosed? Did she feel guilty, too? How did you manage to overcome the negative emotions?
Share with us your journey in our Friends in the Fight group.