Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Gift to Myself

Some of you have noticed that over the past few weeks I have been quite as active on the boards or even on my own website. They haven't been as many updates me updates that have been made or not as extensive as usual.

But don't worry it's not because I've been too sick to use the computer. In fact I was actually busy having a life. Last Saturday was my birthday. I hosted a summer cookout at my house for friends and family. The weeks leading up to this was filled with exhaustive preparation work.

Somehow I managed to scour my entire house until it was cleaner than I have ever seen in my life. I can't say for sure how exactly this was possible because it took far more energy than I had in my body. At the end of each night I would just collapse into a dead sleep.

In the morning I was unrested and unprepared to do it again and yet somehow I did. I was running on fumes and momentum. As I continued to push through the days I felt as though my skin and muscles were rotting away from my bones.

But in the end it was all worth it. The house was absolutely sparkling by the time the party rolled around. I don't think I could've done a better job if I was completely healthy. It was also the perfect birthday gift to myself. Mess and clutter causes me so much anxiety that I would not of been able to enjoy my day without doing this for myself.

My father, who is an incredible chef, helped me prepare a veritable feast of foods that fit my diet. Even those in attendance and don't have food restrictions would impress by how good the food was.

I spent the entire day stuffing my face with delicious treats and socializing with some of my best friends. Not everyone could make it but I will see them on other days and I was amazed by how many people were able to make it out here. I kind of live in the boonies.

Overall, it was an absolutely fantastic day. It was worth all of the effort,even if the were a few breakdowns in the process.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rules of Engagement

It never ceases to amaze me how much drama can result from one person attempting to help another. This is especially true when both parties have Lyme Disease. Because of the disease's neurological effects, it can often be very difficult for two patients to understand one another.

Communicating via the Internet only makes these problems worse. Using a text based format, it becomes impossible to determine the tone that the person intended. Sarcasm is easily misconstrued and jokes often do not have their desired effect. Additionally, we are very likely to be opinionated about our personal treatment methods.

Unfortunately, along with our confusion, many of us have very short tempers. We're very opinionated about our treatments, too. When we see a comment that we don't like in one of our groups it's often instinct to argue. In turn, this may cause the original poster to become defensive. Before you know it, you're caught in the middle of an all-out flame war.

This becomes incredibly difficult for anyone who is looking for a support group. When looking for a group where you can find encouragement and consolation, no one wants to worry about additional stress. So how can you account for these easily made mistakes? Though it can be frustrating, the answer is patience.

When you encounter a post that you don't agree with, the first rule is to ask yourself whether this post really needs a reply. Taking the time to ask yourself this simple question may cause you to realize that what you were just about to say wasn't all that constructive.

Next, read the post again. Try to figure out if there was another way that that comment could have been meant. Perhaps the person was being sarcastic? Or maybe ironic? Are you sure they were being serious?

However when we see someone post a comment that worries us, such a something that we feel suggests discontinuing treatment or even suicide, courtesy will unfortunately go out the window.Though we don't mean to be crass, our concern is overwhelming and we don't take the time to be polite.

Even the best of support groups can occasionally get a bit out of control. It's your job as an active member to not feed into the drama. Do the best you can not to participate in needless bickering. If you don't feel you can handle this responsibility, privately contact a group moderator and turn off your computer.

I'm sorry if I'm sounding a bit harsh today, but this is something that needs saying. When someone joins a board or group, it's because they are in need of help and support, not petty comments and name-calling. If we can all do our best to live up to these "rules," maybe our boards can become more friendly environments.