Monday, October 27, 2014


I know in one of my other posts I quoted my companion from the mission when she said: "If you get someone a big enough 'Why' then they will do and 'What' "... And I believe that is true, because we are all motivated, as human beings, to make different choices.

Abraham Maslow, a famous Psychologist came up with a "Hierarchy of Needs" that were based on a theory that Humans are motivated to reach their max potential unless obstacles are placed in their way. He believed that humans were always striving to improve unless something was placed in their way. So the lower items had to be met for an individual, before they can worry about the higher things on the pyramid, and thus progress in life.

So, for example, a high school kid from a very low income household is not going to worry about his ceramics project when he is worried about when his next meal will be.

So we can see that you can't decrease the "What" (the fact that he doesn't know when he will eat again), but how can you make the reason (to do the art project) or the "Why" big enough that he will be motivated to do it?

With my depression, that comes from Lyme Disease, motivation is one of the most frustrating things for me to deal with right now. It started on the mission of course, when I felt like rolling out of bed was the hardest thing to do. Things like making my bed, I noticed, was nearly impossible! I became aware that the little easy things every day had become too hard to even think about. I didn't even want to shower most days (but don't worry, I did). I found myself slowing down and dragging through everything me and my companion would do. I noticed it. And it wasn't that I hated what I was doing and thus dragging my feet. I loved the work! And I wanted to teach all day all the time! I was blessed with this wonderful gospel and an ability to teach it. But getting to that point of teaching was not happening in my brain. So I took durastic measures in some things, like waking up and getting out of bed, to make myself have a "big enough Why".

For example: To wake up in the morning, as a missionary you start with morning individual prayer and then companionship right after. My mission president told us that he always made sure he had his knees hit the floor first every morning... I took that to the extreme in the mornings. When the alarm went off I would roll over and slam my knees first onto the hardwood floor in our little cottage, so that I would wake up, and then I would want to jump up quickly afterwards to stretch out my knees that were more bruised then usual. It worked! I was out of bed. I told myself the longer it took me to get out of bed the harder I would slam my knees to the floor.

That is just an example of the lack of motivation on the mission, I still had a big enough "Why" though out there in South Carolina to keep going. But then I came home and things were much harder. I already hate packing and unpacking after trips, but to unpack my suitcases and all my stuff, just the thought made me sick and made me want to cry, and caused me great anxiety. For 4 or 5 days I slept upstairs in our guest room because I couldn't even get to my bed, and I couldn't walk into my room because I was so overwhelmed by the mess. But it didn't matter, no matter how messy it got, I could not bring myself to unpack. My mom had to sit in my room and all but hold my hand as I unpacked and put my room back together.

Another day, shortly after returning home, I was laying on my bedroom floor, crying because I was missing the mission. My dad came down and said that we were going out to eat. I couldn't get up. I told him I wasn't hungry. He said that I should just come with, but I could not get up. I yelled at him that I couldn't get up, he said, "Yeah you can, come on!" Trying to be encouraging, but it just made things worse. I don't know how long I was on my floor but it was a good minute. And it wasn't the fact that I wouldn't get up. I COULD NOT get up! I told myself I was being stupid, I said that I needed to "suck it up", but the floor just sorta sucked me in, and for some reason, the floor was my safety, and maybe I was so low and depressed that the floor just fit with my emotional status at that point. Whatever it was, I was on the floor for the rest of the night.
How I felt my first couple weeks after coming home.

Now I am on track with some more medication and I don't have severe floor hugging episodes, even though a lot of the time they sound very nice. But I still have trouble with finding a big enough "Why" to do little things. I love to read! Before the mission, I read the Harry Potter books 8 times! On the mission, I loved studying the Book of Mormon, and I even got through the Old Testament in a year, as well as most of the New Testament! But now that I am home, reading is something I have no desire to do. My doctor has given me a few books to read, one all about Lyme Disease, and I have started it, but I can't bring myself to keep reading. I have multiple series that I started to read before my mission, and now I'm home my brothers have collected more of the series but I can't read them. It frustrates me, but the thought of picking up a book gives me anxiety now. I hate that about myself. I still read my scriptures but I stop there. I look forward to the day when I can pick up a book and sit and enjoy it. Instead of fretting over when I will pick it up again.

That is the thing, if it causes me anxiety I won't do it. This blog has even started to cause anxiety for me. I want to do this and write what I'm feeling in hopes that it helps someone else... until my mom starts telling me all the people it is helping and all the people that talk to her about it. And then I stop and have to talk myself into doing it a couple days later. The huge irony of this post is I started it before my herxing started. But I couldn't motivate myself to finish, then I started herxing so I wrote about that. I have stopped and started this post so many times, for so many menial reasons. When the anxiety kicks in my motivation stops. And I could care less about it. I guess that is just how I deal with it.

I really hate how little tiny things have to just be thrown out the window because I can't handle it. I feel so weak most times. Being a missionary in the South I would talk with my last companion all the time about how we couldn't wait to get back home and get a gym pass and start working out! The Southern food was good but not good for us! I came home and found my cousins big into cross fit. But now, just the thought of walking into a gym gives me such anxiety because I know I couldn't get myself to step onto the treadmill let alone turn it on, not because I am 20 pounds heavier after 1 year of serving (thank you macaroni and cheese and fried chicken! I love you, but my body doesn't!), but because I would make every excuse in the book to not do it because I don't have the motivation. And I know I don't. So instead of making an excuse I just face the fact that I can't go. It's not an excuse it is a reason, or a fact... And when ever I do get down on myself about how I should be at the gym I think of the quote that Ellen Degeneres said:

               "I really don’t think I need buns of steel. I’d be happy with buns of cinnamon."

So I accept I can't work out right now becuase my mind freaks out. So I play basketball, I run around and play at work (or try on the bad days and give myself credit for the thought of it at work). I know exercise is essential for people with depression becuase it releases endorphins and makes you happy, I know all that, I have fealt it, and I still do playing basketball... But I face the facts, and the reason that I CAN'T all the time. So I make sure that when I am feeling good, or not even good, just when I'm feeling not bad, I go do something. And it is hard, because sometimes when I'm feeling not bad it meas I need to get other things done that I couldn't do because I was feeling bad, and I have to be careful becuase I start thinking of all the things I should do when I am feeling no bad that it plummets me right back into the bad because I am getting anxiety over it! So it's all just a snow ball effect, becuase all too often that is what happens, and then I'm back to a bad spot and wasted a perfectly good moment of not feeling bad (WOW, if that doesn't comfuse a normal person I don't know what will!).

The point is folks, that motivation is so amazing. The Will to keep going. The Will to not give up. Will Power. It is just that. Power. And I never saw it as an actual "Power", until and Lyme disease and his side kick depression, kidnapped Will Power and held him up in a tiny shack out in the middle of a desert for ransom of 200 million dollars, court side season tickets to the Celtics and free all you can eat sushi! Or at least that is how it feels a lot of my days. And sometimes my Will Power is still there kicking me in the butt when my friends text and want me to roast s'mores with em and I can't, but Will Power makes a special guest appearance and tells me I'm gonna keep fighting because one day I'll be able to text back and say "When? Where? And I'll bring the Starbursts!" Maybe that's all my Will Power can do right now, he can tell me to wait. To be patient, and trust that I am still in this fight. And maybe that is all I need my Will Power to do right now. Is to just remind me that things will get better. Maybe all my Will Power does right now is make big enough "Why's" for my essential every day things, so I can just keep on, keepin' on.

-The Lyme Warrior

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Vocab Word of the Day: Herxheimer Reaction

I got to experience a Herxheimer Reaction today (Herxheimer, not Alzheimer), and it actually turns out that this has been recurring in my body and I just didn't know it until I found out about Herxhimer Reactions.
Ironically, the Herxheimer reaction was my "sunshine"

I'll explain what this is after I describe to you my day... Open with the gratitude of having the day off of work, and sleeping in until 10. I wake up, eat breakfast, and get in the shower. After getting out my legs begin to burn and itch. I scratch them as I go to get lotion in my room. The lotion doesn't seem to help and at this point it is starting to get annoying. I scratch my ankle trying to figure out what could cause this itching, I haven't shaved in almost a week (a norm for me), so that can't be it. And why are my thighs so itchy too?

I start to wonder if it's another side effect to all the meds I am on, including 3 antibiotics. I'm kind of hopeful that it is a side effect so that I can stop taking at least one of the many medications prescribed to me, but then I change my mind knowing that I would just be prescribed something different, or worse... I'll get an extra medication to counter the side effect. I quickly change my mind and scratch harder.

I am now growling out loud with frustration and I run back into the bathroom and yank open drawers to find my beloved chamomile lotion, the only stuff that saves me in the summer when I get heat rash! I apply it to my legs and thighs, and I groan even louder because it isn't soothing my burning skin at all! I try dumping more and more of the junk on until my legs are a pinkish-white color and  feel chalky from the lotion, to no avail.

I then try to put on long sweats and ignore the itching. I tell myself that my mom would say, "don't itch it or it will get worse." But my stupid brain counters back and says, "Well you've already itched it for so long that it is already worse, so way to go!" I try to do my laundry and ignore it but my thighs are on fire, and my legs feel like they are crawling with fire ants! I sprint downstairs again and dump more and more of the lotion on, again to no relief! I search my legs, looking for a rash, or bump or something to see what may be causing this! There is nothing but angry-red lines from scartching. No bumps. No rash. No hives. Just red chamomile lotioned up legs... and the burning and itching, of course.

My mom comes home from the store. She tells me to rinse off in the tub with hot water, suggesting that maybe it is the shampoo I'm using. I put the water on scalding hot and let it wash off the chalky lotion that I had sworn by until then. I scratch my leg and vow that I will do everything in my power to make sure the CEO of chamomile lotion knows just how crappy their lotion is. I get so desperate that I give in and grab a razor from my moms cupboard and shave, praying that it will bring relief... Nothing comes and I start to cry. I get dressed again and fall apart on my moms bed as I itch and scratch. We call my doctor and his nurse tells me to take Benadryl, and that it means that my body is fighting the disease and it is fighting back.
This captures my face perfectly for the majority of the day.
I don't know how long I laid on my moms bed itching and scartching and trying to sleep. Or how long I wished that I hadn't taken Adderall early that morning so that I could just let the Benadryl put me to sleep. But it was more than a good minute. During this time my mom was looking up explanations online and came across the Herxhimer Reaction.

Basically, people with chronic illnesses, and other intense medical issues that go through treatment, it tends to be a totally different battle. Cancer is a good example, the chemo and radiation make the patient sicker than a dog. They lose their hair, they puke, they have awful side effects. People with Lyme have Herxhimer Reactions from Antibiotics, like Cancer fighters do with chemo and radiation.

The Herxhimer Reactions,(also known by its verb "herxing" or "herx") according to, is when " injured or dead bacteria release their endotoxins into the blood and tissues faster than the body can comfortably handle it. This provokes a sudden and exaggerated inflammatory response."

Basically my body, with the help of the antibiotics, were killing off the spira bateria in my brain and my body couldn't get rid of it so it got into my neruological system and caused me to only think I was itching and feel the synapse of burning, even though nothing was causing it but my brain.

Herxzing, turns out, means your body is fighting it, and the bacteria is fighting back. It is not an allergic reaction, it is just part of the healing process. I have too much dead bacteria in my blood stream and my brain. Thus I have a long road of detox ahead of me.
herxing at it's finest with me! I'm almost happy I know what is going on now!

And itching and burning isn't the only herx I have been dealing with. It turns out that brain fog and lack of motivation (which I will be talking about in the very near future), are also forms of herxing reported by Lyme patients (! I haven't talked much about my symptoms of late, but that is one of my biggest frustrations right now! From the information I have found out, I appear to be hertzing, big and small almost every other day!

I eventually fell into a benadryl drugged somewhat sleep (thank you Adderall). And eventually the burning and itching quieted down. And I was left with a heavy Benadryl hang over the rest of the day, and red raw legs and thighs. And a big word to my vocabulary: The Herxheimer Reaction.

-The Lyme Warrior

Friday, October 17, 2014

Broken Crayons Still Color

Broken Crayons Still Color...

I love this concept! Because it is so true and so simple. No matter how mentally, emotionally, physically, grammatically, horizontal, or vertically challenged we may be, we can always make, or add something from your own inner self, to the situation that life presents.

I took a Sports Psych class in High School where we did an object lesson about always being able to give to the situation. My teacher took a rag, got it wet and told everyone in the class to take turns squeezing water out of the rag and into a glass. Everyone passed it around and the whole class period everyone was still wringing out water, while we did this my teacher explained that one can always give more to the team. Or to the group. Or to the individual, and even if it is just a few drops of water, it is still significant. Even if your life rag seems totally dry, he explained, a few drops of your water might be all another person needs to keep going.

So what is your individual "water" that you can give more of?

I think sometimes we are scared to share our individual "water", that we detach ourselves from the world because we think we are not good enough, Because our own "Crayon" is "broken" and therefore we can never color as pretty pictures as everyone else does. But, if we truly can always give more, and if our own broken crayon still colors than what holds us back?

When I came home from the mission I felt like I had let down Heavenly Father, by not being able to help more of His children in South Carolina come back to the gospel. Like I had let down my old companions, and friends that I had made out on my mission. I felt complete guilt for all of that. I said that I was home to "get better" (not knowing at the time that "getting better" would not be an immediate option), and for me depression was a lame excuse to go home early.

Recently I have picked up a talk that Mauri Nelson gave to our mission in which she quotes Harriett Lerner on Guilt and Shame: "Guilt comes from what we do, but Shame comes from what we are..." And then Mauri adds: "...Or what we think we are."

I was feeling Shame for being home early, more than guilt. I thought that if I could just go back and tough it out a little while longer, if I would have prayed harder, worked harder, and focused less on myself, and more on others, I wouldn't have made the choices I made that ended up getting me a one way ticket home, and an honorable release. I said that so many times to myself, and I still do! But it's not Guilt I feel it is Shame.

The Shame I still feel makes me want to hide the fact that I am home early. Some people who know I'm home, but don't know why, I want to avoid like they have Ebola! I don't want people to know I'm home early, but I especially don't want people to know that I am home early because of Depression! So what do people with problems these days do? They hide the fact they have a problem. They can't hide the problem, but they hide the fact that it is hard on them. I don't want to speak for the whole world, but I feel like that is how it is... at least for me.

So it becomes a battle inside to "fake it" and wait "until you make it." But on the mission, and even coming home, and now, faking it doesn't help. I forced that smile, I told those jokes, but the energy it took, was costing me. Soon it became apparent that coming home wasn't the best thing for me, and some days, it was worse than the mission. I was exhausting myself to seem normal, when inside I was Ashamed that I was home. I pretended to be handling it perfectly well, and I still do this. But hiding my weaknesses, my needs, my problems, it made me detached, and even more alone. and it made me even more depressed.
Just some food for thought!
I have noticed that I become stronger when I share my problem, maybe that is why I do this blog thing... Because if you would have told me a year ago that I would be blogging, I would have laughed in your face. But now, when I talk about my Depression, and my Lyme Disease. It isn't attention seeking, it is just letting people know that I have a problem. I used to think that it was making an excuse but it is not!

Imagine if you had a hard morning, you woke up late for school, you rushed out the door, you get to class and someone sits down by you, you politely ask "How are you doing?" And they say: "Oh man, it has been a very hard morning, I woke up late, I had to miss breakfast, I am tired, and I just want to go back to bed today." You had the same thing happen, so you agree! Wouldn't that take a load off of your shoulders? To know that someone else is having a hard time too? You would maybe even put your arm around them and have this huge surge of empathy and say, "Ya know what, I understand."

If we could all be a lot more honest about how we truly are feeling inside, then maybe everyone would have a lot more empathy.

Now I'm not saying be the Debby Downer. I'm not saying seek for attention. I'm simply saying be honest to someone about how you truly are. I really believe it is OK to say: "Well, today is a hard day, and I just want to cry, and go back to bed." If you don't get a couple Amen's and a Hallelujah then let me know. Because I would be like: "oh good! Really? Glad I'm not the only one!" And maybe that becomes our color that our broken crayon adds to the whole picture. I love this quote by Plato:

Because we never know who has Lyme, who has depression, who's mom just passed away. Who's brother is in Afghanistan. Or whose crayon is missing paper and is just a tiny broken stub. They are still going to create some sort of masterpiece in the coloring book of life, so why not give them a break? And throw your arm around their shoulder and just make them feel better. Even if your Crayon is just the tip that a Kindergartner bit off then chewed it up and spat it out, one can always give something.

Even if what you give is a listening ear. I think that, says "I care, and I may not understand, but I'm going to try to listen and get a better perspective." More than any hug, more than any kiss, or anything else.

-The Lyme Warrior

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What the junk even is Lyme?

I guess I should have explained what Lyme Disease is before I started in on my life.

Lyme Disease begins with a tick bite, and about half the time people have a bullseye-like rash appear in the bitten area, and half the time people don't even know they are bit... I was one of those that didn't have the rash. However, now that I have been diagnosed, and the test proved that I was bitten about 10-12 months before, a memory was jogged that changes, and I do know a possible time I was bit, but that is a different story for a different day.

After being bit symptoms start to kick in about 3 weeks after being infected. The problem is Lyme Disease is know as "The Great Imitator" because it imitates so many different kinds of diseases, and that is why it is so hard to diagnose. For example, if you would have asked me in July or August of 2014 why I got sent home, I would have told everyone it was because of depression, the fact is that Lyme Disease imitates depression, or MDD. It can also imitate Fibromyalga, MS, Bipolar, CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), Alzhimers, and also arthritis. It can effect basically anything in the brain, joints, nervous system, heart and muscles according to And from my blood tests that came back BEFORE I was tested for Lyme disease I had MDD, some possible Bipolar, some CFS, I was projected to have early heart problems, and countless vitamin and hormone deficiencies.

The thing is, people will get diagnosed with, lets say Fibromyalga, but the medication won't help them. So they go from doctor to doctor searching for help, and being told that it is "all in your head" luckily I was blessed to have Dr. Andrew Peterson D.O. of Holtorf Medical Group, recognize the symptoms very quick after getting back all my blood work, he immediately suggested I take a Lyme Disease test, because all of these sudden problems like MDD had shown up, without any background or history of MDD in my family, along with Bipolar, so we went from there.

The problem with figuring out that you have Lyme Disease is there are 2 different groups that deal with Lyme Disease, and 2 different forms of treatment, with 2 opposite views that are constantly bumping heads with each other. Basically one group that is control, the IDSA (the Infectious Desease Society of America), simply states that if you are tested positive for Lyme then you are given 2-4 weeks for of antibiotics and told that you are cured. If it works than kudos to them. If it doesn't work and your symptoms persist or get worse, than you are told that it is "all in your head" or to go get treated for your MDD or Fibromyalga because that is what you have. Many Lyme patients are not huge fans of the IDSA, who are sort of sponsored by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), who gets the final say, becuase they are ran by the government, on what is put in the books. In short, IDSA says "We know all there is to know about Lyme Disease, it is easy to cure and we have it under control."

The other group is called ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases). They are about focusing on the individual patient instead of a set in stone treatment. Because every patient is dealing with different problems (thus why it is so easy for Lyme Disease to slip through the cracks), they are each going to need different treatments. It sounds and makes the most sense correct? If you have a sinus infection you will be put on some sort of antibiotic but also take Advil for your headache, and a decongestant for your stuffed nose, and some cough drops for your sore throat. That is how ILADS works,

The big difference is that ILADS claims Lyme as a Chronic Disease, while IDSA says it is not.

Luckily my doctor recognizes that 3 weeks on Doxycyclen won't kill the disease, and so I will probably be on 3-4 Antibiotics for up to 2 years, until we can at least beat the symptoms. The kicker is that I will never be "cured". My doctor explained it to me like a cancer patient in remission, there is no way they can tell if all the cells are killed, just like that, there is no way to tell if all the bacteria in my body is killed. So I will just symptom free, there is a chance I can have it come back again. So Lyme is a part of my life now, for the rest of my life.

There is a lot more information on Lyme Disease, my doctor even gave me a book to read on it that I am currently trying to motivate myself to pick up. But here are some facts that I found pretty interesting:

So on the mission I started with depression. I couldn't explain what was happening, or ho I was feeling, but I was down all the time. I cried almost every night before bed, and I started to be really negative towards myself and critical of everything about myself. Every little mess up that happened, I started to blame myself for, and I started to hate myself, my image, my way of teaching, basically I ended everyday by saying "you are stupid" and I began every day by saying "I hate myself". I started to tell myself that I just needed to "suck it up" that this was just "all in my head". The first time my companion suggested that I was depressed, I totally blew her off thinking that it wasn't even a real thing. That people don't just get sucked into depression, especially while doing the Lord's work and sharing the gospel with others. And when I voiced that to my companion she explained how she knew of people that got sent home from their mission because of depression. Again, I blew her off thinking that if someone went home because they were depressed then they are a big fat weenie, and can't handle a mission. This was in January.

So around April (after talking to a counselor and getting put on an Antidepressant, and having to face that I truly was depressed), I was still having trouble with my self-esteem, I was always asking my Heavenly Father "why" and it was at first the question "Why me?" But then it turned into "Why Now?" And I found that asking Him that didn't provide an answer, so I would just get more and more frustrated with myself, believing that I still truly could "snap out of it", that I just had to find a great enough will power to "Suck it up".

Than the motivation factor became lost. My last companion (bless her heart, for putting up with all of me until the very end), used to say all the time that "If we can get the investigator a big enough Why, than they will do any What." I loved this. And I soon found I needed it more for myself than the investigator. One morning when the alarm went off at 6:20 AM so that me and my companion could go running, and usually I am up and ready to go. Mornings don't get me down, and I usually wake up and am able to go running. But that morning I could not get up. It wasn't that I couldn't wake up, I was very awake, but I could not get up. I didn't want to face the day, I didn't want to run. I just couldn't find it in me to get anything done anymore. 

This motivation problem, which is caused by depression, is my main source of discouragement right now. Because I can't make myself do things anymore, I may start something, and never finish it. I have started this blog post 3 times, but for some reason I can't find "a big enough why" to get it done. Every morning when my alarm goes off I lay in bed for 15-20 more minutes, not because I am tired, but because I can't get up. I literally can't motivate myself to get up, and so I am rushing off to work every day, which does not help my anxiety at all.

Another problem that became very prevalent on my mission is what is known as "Bells Palsy" or facial paralysis. I would wake up some mornings and look in the mirror and my left eye would be closed, and swollen, and since I was hating myself and having such bad self-esteem, I would be very self conscious about it. 
The Bells Palsy is in my left eye, with Sister Stolworthy and Sister 
Eames. (sorry it's a little pixleated) 
Since coming home I have experienced the anxiety, the flu like symptoms and some abdominal pain as well. Coming home was a big shocker to me and a very humbling experience. For the first 3 months of my return from my mission I was home early because of depression and anxiety. The very thing that I had laughed at. That I had thought "only weenies go home for that reason." I am not an expert on depression, nor do I claim to speak for everyone that has it. But depression is real, it cannot be helped. And it is not an excuse. I remember every day in the mission saying  "I make no excuses for my efforts." I do not make excuses, but I know that depression is not an excuse, from experience. And my heart goes out to those people that have dealt with depression their whole lives! I came home blaming and hating myself for using what I thought was an excuse. But it is not. I now can say I came home because I have Lyme Disease. 

Any other info you want on Lyme Disease can be found at these websites:

Thursday, October 9, 2014


     Well Me and Lyme from The Now. I started serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in July of 2013 in the Columbia, South Carolina Mission. I served in Anderson, SC for about 6 months and then I was transferred in January to Hartsville, SC. Every missionary has ups and downs, but shortly after being transferred to Hartsville I began experiencing periods of emotion that left me very low and I couldn't climb out of them. I told myself that it was just a trial, and that The Lord was humbling me and that the good times always come after the hard, but I started lacking motivation. Getting up at 6:20 AM to run was nearly impossible. And I would fall apart and cry every night. During those times I would repeat over and over again: "I love tough things, I am the first to do tough things, I do tough things first. I AM A FINISHER!"

     And that saying kept me going for 6 months, during which I would be put on Antidepressants, have weekly calls with an LDS counselor. I would cry myself to sleep every night. I started having manic depression symptoms of extreme anger, restless to almost no sleep at all. Extreme mood swings, to self harm thoughts, which wound me up in "Room 9" in the ER. "Room 9" Can be easily described as a white cinder-blocked cell with a blue matt in the center of the room and a security guard at the door.  That was May 19th, 2014 and the first day my Mission President, suggested that I go back home to get help.
Me and my Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Holm

     Being a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you leave your home, strictly by volunteer, for either 18 months to 2 years and teach The Gospel, to say what Jesus Christ would say if He were on the earth today, to every individual you come in contact with. You are away from you family, friends, almost all technology and you are under the direction of a mission president who oversees the work in the Areas that they are called to (Learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at

    Though my mission had become a very big trial for me I still loved it. I was blessed with a wonderful companion, who understood what I was going through. Who was kind and patient, even when I was having an anger episode and yelling at her because I didn't want to take my medication, she understood and knew exactly what to say to get me to take it. We were teaching so many wonderful people the truth about our Savior. We were doings so much good, and meeting so many wonderful people! How could I leave it all behind? I refused the offer from my Mission President to be sent home. So I got a change of medication (for a 3rd time), and I began meeting with the LDS Counselor face to face.

Sister Ivie Eames and I at the Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC
Then things took a turn for the worse...

     My medication either didn't kick in or had completely stopped working because after the ER incident, the self harm thoughts became worse. They consumed my thoughts and before I knew it the depression, that was so foreign to me, that I didn't even understand had taken my ambitions and dreams to serve the Lord. And on June 14th, 2014 I given a one way ticket back to Utah.

     July 10th, 2014 (which was ironically, my anniversary of entering into the Missionary Training Center to begin my mission), was the first day that I had heard of Lyme Disease. My doctor suggested to have me tested. At that point I was up for anything, I just wanted to get better, it had taken me so long to accept that I was depressed, and I had dealt with it for 7 months by then, I just wanted relief. At that point I had resulted to laying around the house, Most days I couldn't get up off my bedroom floor. And I had emotional anger outbursts at my siblings constantly. I just wanted some relief.

     Fast Forward past tests and medication change after change, to "fight" the symptoms while the awaited test results are processed. Fast Forward past the frustration of mood swings, of self harm thoughts, of  feeling completely alone with no answers. Fast Forward to September 4th, 2014. The prognosis was positive for Lyme Disease, yet I could never remember getting bit, or having that "bulls eye rash" that comes when you get bit. But I am now an official carrier of Lyme... And boy howdy has it been a whirl wind since.

     I felt like there was hope when I finally figured out that after 9 months, it wasn't just "in my head"... that all those times when I would tick off my companion and yell at myself to "suck it up", I really couldn't. I began antibiotic treatment, and continued on with symptom treatment as well. Since the Lyme Disease--which from the test showed that I was bit by a tick some 10-12 months prior, which was around the time I was in Anderson, SC--had so much time to spread and infest my brain, I had not only developed depression, but also, restless sleep (sleeping a full night, but feeling completely unrested when waking up the next morning), headaches, aches, and worsening mood swings, panic and anxiety attacks.

I don't know how many times I have just wanted to give up. Or how many times I have thought about saying, "forget all the medications, because I feel worse on these than I did without them!" How nice it would be to quit... It sounds pretty pleasing most days than not. But I can never quit. And I don't know why. Because like I said, most days it would seem the easier thing to do! But the quote comes to mind by Albus Dumbledore that says:

"There will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”

      And I truly believe that even though it is way easier for me to quit, it is not the right thing to do. How many days do I say "I just want to feel better!" How many nights do I still cry myself to sleep over how sick I'm feeling to where it just domino's and I'm crying about the first case of Ebola entering the USA and dreading the thought of me getting that on top of Lyme. How many times do I wonder if 2 years on Antibiotics really will make at least the symptoms go away. How many of my thoughts end up wondering if I'll ever be the happy me that doesn't have to force herself to talk, to smile, and wave... when the real me, that I shove deep down inside, wants to grunt, frown and shrug. How many times do I wonder what the normal me really is.

     Yet I continue on, maybe because that is the only thing I can do, maybe because Robert Frost said it better than I ever could in this quote:

     Life does go on, and its what we do with that fact that can make the most difference in maybe not somebody else's life, but in our own. So this is me, and how I live life, and battle Lyme while doing it.

-The Lyme Warrior