Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Nobody likes being stuck in limbo. In fact if you break down many situations--the moment before a decision is made, a point of action is taken, or a consequence takes effect-- those in-between moments of limbo cause great amounts of anxiety.

The simplest form of this as an example is in movies. Right before the final blow is given in a fight, or the final bomb goes off, before the hero smooches the damsel in distress, before the ghost is going to jump out of the closet, before the dad hugs the prodigal son returning home, there is a giant pause in which filmmakers create their own form of limbo. And whether it causes your breathing to speed up, or you to lean forward on the edge of your seat, or cover your eyes to brace yourself because you know what is about to jump out of the shadows, it is all their own creation of limbo. And all these examples create mini forms of anxiety that effect the body physically. 

Life is always going to have limbo, where there are choices there are consequences. But before consequences, there is limbo. It comes as a kid when you know you have done something bad and you are waiting to hear it from your dad when he gets home from work. It happens as a teenager when you ask that cute guy to the girls choice dance and you are waiting for his answer, and second guess you asking him all around. And then as a college student, you are kept waiting so long after submitting that final paper, wondering if you will pass the class or not. Every choice we have has consequences, some immediate, but most are not, and the sense of anxiety that comes in the waiting is what I like to call limbo.

Having a Chronic Illness like Lyme Disease causes it's own sense of limbo. The question of whether or not the new medication you are on will give you side effects. The question of how much pain you will be in after this work out. The question of what the fries you ate for lunch will do to you. The sense of anxiety that comes as you go to bed, wondering when you will fall asleep tonight. Wondering how tired you will feel when you wake up in the morning. How much is your doctor going to prescribe you this visit, and how much of it will your insurance cover? And the reality that everyone is moving on with their lives and you are totally stagnant. There are so many situations at limbo, it's no wonder that people with Chronic Illness, not just Lyme, have anxiety!

So how does one beat limbo? That is what I have been wondering for so long. How do I stop those anxieties, the wondering, the questioning, the "But what if" worries that flood my mind in any situation I am in. How can someone separate themselves from limbo and just live? 

I think it comes from staying in the moment. Taking each day at a time. Each hour at a time... Even each minute if you have to! I used to get asked all the time if Lyme Disease was like good days and bad days, and I would answer that it is like good hours and bad hours, so that is how I had to take it. And it worked, because one bad hour shouldn't ruin your whole day. The question of "How am I going to feel tomorrow if I can't sleep?" should not be a question, because you aren't in tomorrow! There are easy ways to avoid limbo, there are may ways one can't, but living in each moment is a key to avoiding the forbidding feeling of limbo that I feel hangs over me like humidity in the jungle after a rain storm.

Staying in the moment takes practice, I find the easiest way for me to stay in the moment is to use more certain words when thinking to yourself. Using words like Now, I am, this is, etc. to replace words like what if? It could happen, I should, etc. In doing this I have found that I'm better able to keep myself in the moment as well as the mind. It is a way to say to my brain "I'm not going to think that way, I'm just going to focus on the things that are happening NOW!

Staying in the moment is a way to mentally fight limbo, but physically I find that when we can't escape limbo we simply have to practice patience, and right now I am doing just that. I am at home for 7 weeks until I can go back to school, I waiting a year and a half from after coming home from my mission to get to go back to school, so you think 7 weeks would be a breeze right? Well, not so much, because I know what to expect now. Before when I had to wait a year and a half I didn't know who I was going to live with, or what my major was. Now I know those things and I feel like they are being dangled in front of may face all the time as time ticks by even more slowly!  Patience is key.

The final thing I need to say about Limbo, and why I think we are caught in it's sticky web so often, is because it helps me learn things that I need to learn and tend to forget. I have had to relearn how to motivate myself again, because here at home I am not motivated as well. I have had to focus more on my healing which, sadly was sorta put on the back burner for spring, resulting in a trip to the ER because of an unexpected seizure mid July. There is so much that I need to learn, and it is tough stuff, but it's all while being stuck in the awful limbo.

-The Lyme Warrior