Going in Circles to Win the Race.

Does it seem like my blog goes in circles sometimes? I think it does:  “Good days, bad days, keep the faith, stay strong, feeling good again, feeling bad again, blah, blah, blah.” It occurred to me my blog goes in circles because that’s how it is to live with chronic illness. 

Compare chronic illness to a “regular” illness such as a cold. You get the cold, you go down for a few days as the symptoms emerge, you hit the bottom, and then you start coming back up, usually in a straight line.

With my case of chronic Lyme Disease, I went down in a straight line, but coming up has been anything but. 

My life consists of good and bad spells. Sometimes a good spell can last for a month. Sometimes it only lasts a day or even a few hours. Same with the bad spells. I’ve learned that getting overly invested in either direction causes me to suffer emotionally. If I spend too much time thinking I’m on a straight line to wellness when I’m having a good day, it can be a crusher when the inevitable bad day comes. Thinking a bad spell will never end can cause me to get depressed, frustrated and want to give up.

Over the course of countless good-bad cycles, I’ve grown to understand and accept that the reality of my life is circular rather than linear. This acceptance has been critical to helping me find peace within the ups and downs.

Importantly, I am learning I leave most bad spells better than I enter them. You see, bad spells force examination: my doctors think about what needs to change in my treatment plan. I think about what I need to change in my head or in my daily activities. The result is I leave the darkness with a stronger mental fortitude, usually a tweak to my treatment plan, deep gratitude for how good it feels to feel good again, and more strength and wisdom for the next downturn.

So perhaps I’m going around in circles, but I am making progress with each lap. Just like the drivers in the above photo. They are vying for the Indy 500 trophy, one of the most coveted wins in all of racing. The race was first run in 1911, and in the long, storied history of that contest, nobody has ever won by going in a straight line.

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