7 Psalms for Surviving Chronic Illness

7 Psalms for Surviving Chronic Illness

During the hardest times of my life, I had trouble consistently reading the Bible and connecting with God.

Have you ever felt that way?

Even though I was a Christian and wanted to honor the Lord with my life, which included being faithful in daily prayer and Bible reading, I found myself feeling distant from God. Whenever brain fog from Lyme Disease and co-infections would come on strongly, I would be faced with a block in my mind. That mental block left me unable to pray or comprehend scripture in the way I desired.

I just didn’t feel connected to God anymore.

In Finding Hope with the Fog (get your copy – it’s free!), I share about the way God met me in one of my weakest moments when I was having a panic attack. He used the Psalms to remind me of how good He is. He showed me that I can always turn to Him in troubled times even if I can’t always feel His presence.

Reading the Psalms is something I now do regularly because I can connect to the emotions of the Psalmists and am always reminded of the bigger picture in our suffering.

It may feel as if God is distant and He doesn’t hear our cries of suffering, but that’s not true. God knows. He loves us and He will respond and be our place of refuge!

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My Lyme Disease Story

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease, huh? 

That’s one of the illnesses I have. You may be reading this because you have Lyme Disease or you think you might have Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease can be difficult to diagnose but will affect every area of your life.

It’s utterly miserable. If you have Lyme or think you have it, then I am deeply sorry. I wish you weren’t going through this. I wish none of us had to deal with this pain. (I’d also love to join you in finding hope in this rough season!)

My Lyme Disease story is not uncommon.

I cannot recall a specific tick bite that spurred on all of these problems, however, growing up, my family went camping regularly and I was bitten by ticks. I never knew much about Lyme Disease. Now that I’m older and have learned more, I found out that a place my family would regularly camp produces a lot of Lyme Disease cases.

When putting the pieces together with my Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD), we have come to the conclusion that I likely contracted Lyme Disease and co-infections as a teenager.

High School

In high school, I struggled with fatigue, mood swings, rage, weight fluctuations, depression, suicidal thoughts, and problems with concentration. I began to act out in ways like never before. My grades began to slip a little and overall I had a harder time focusing in school. My driven personality ended up carrying me through to graduation and college, but it was not without a lot of anger and heartache. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I often felt like I couldn’t control myself. (For a lot of high school I was also on Clindamycin for acne, which I now know also treats Lyme!)

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Why I Write and the Writing Secret That Changed Everything!

Why do I write

Sometimes in life you get to a point where you start to evaluate the ways you spend your time to figure out where your priorities truly lie. Being chronically ill, I tend to evaluate my life so frequently that it sometimes ends up happening on a daily basis. When every day is a challenge and doing regular “adulting” is just too hard, I have to decide how I should spend my limited energy.

Most average people can make choices (whether they like to admit they have choices or not) about how they’ll spend their time, what they’ll eat, what they’ll do, etc. But when you can’t control your own body and never know if you’ll be able to function, it can be nearly impossible to plan for anything.

Right now, I’m in a season where I don’t make plans. Aside from trying to maintain as normal of a work schedule as possible, whenever I speak with someone about tentative plans, the plans are always met with the caveat that I may not be able to fulfill the obligation. For me, in this season of life, that’s okay. I’m learning to be all right with the fact that I can’t predict how my days will look.

Even though I can’t plan and schedule my life right now, something that seems to fit into this unknown territory is my love for writing. Even if it’s only a few words per day, putting pen to paper in my journal or typing out a few sentences in Evernote releases something in me. It’s something good.

When I pour out through writing, I come alive. I start to become the truest version of myself.

Processing through words on a page is what I crave. It’s what I believe I was created to do.

I often think about “calling” and what it means to walk out in faith to do the things that God has prepared for me. Sometimes the call of God is clear, but other times I wonder if I heard Him right.

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The Parts of My Chronic Illness You Don’t See

(The first time I posted this, it was shared on Medium.com, but I wanted to be sure to get it up on the blog as well.)

It’s easy to be a person on the outside, making assumptions. I get it. I’ve been there and am still there to some extent. We see what’s in front of us and formulate our beliefs based on our observations. It makes logical sense.However, when we judge the surface without understanding what’s going on inside, we fail to grasp the full picture.

Emily and Jonathan
One of the happiest times I had at the beginning of treatment! My boyfriend, Jonathan, came over and we ate dinner on the patio. I was feeling good as the antibiotics and supplements were kicking in right away — still had some physical pain, but was feeling great emotionally! What you don’t see is that just a few days later I was in deep depression and was about to give up on everything. Those who saw the happy picture on social media probably thought I was better, but in reality it was just a small moment of feeling better amidst a sea of hard days.

EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I have other people make observations about how I look and then formulate opinions about how I must feel.

They then go on to tell me how I must be feeling based on my appearance. Some days, they are correct, but a majority of the time my outer shell doesn’t begin to express the pain beneath it.

Because I truly believe that most people are well-meaning, I try to brush it off. But, it’s not that simple. The neurological symptoms of Lyme have left me with crippling anxiety and depression. I get so anxious about what other people will think that I sometimes lie to myself and to them; I tell them I’m feeling well because those are the words they already put in my mouth. I submit to their opinions because I don’t want to be judged for still being sick.

This eats me up inside as I face other guilt because as a person of faith, I believe in honesty. I don’t want to pretend, but it feels like those around me want to put me into a box — a box I cannot seem to escape.

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An Open Letter to the Friends I Didn’t Text Back

An Open Letter to the Friends I Didn't Text Back

Dear Wonderful Friends of Mine,

I think of you a lot. Often times I’ll catch myself reminiscing about the fun times we’ve had together. We may have been travel buddies, study partners, or teammates. We may have had regular coffee dates throughout college where we’d try to squeeze in a little homework or Bible reading but would end up spending most of the time talking and laughing.

You may be someone I could turn to when depression would get bad and I needed to hang out with someone who was lighthearted.

Because you’re my friend, I appreciate you. No matter what point of life we walked through together, I treasure your friendship and the times we shared.

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