It was month 20, the span of what could have been two pregnancies, the start to a successful career, or a vagabonding trip around the world.
Instead, what she saw was the couch. Or bed. Or the insides of another doctor's visit.
After what now appears to be a lifelong list of Lyme-related symptoms, she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease by Richard Horowitz, M.D., along with Rocky Mountain spotted fever and a laundry list of related co-infections.
This is not the kind of news one wants to hear at age 28, the year where many college graduates are in the midst of a young career and building up their lives.
She calls herself the Female Yoda and is determined to stay positive and grow a community of positive morale-building support for others out there when chronic illness makes it so much easier to grow depressed.
So, how does one battle depression and keep it on the positive in a situation like this? To answer this question, I reached out to Dr. Paul Coleman, a leading psychologist on overcoming grief and loss to continue to grow the human spirit.
In his new book, Finding Peace When Your Heart Is in Pieces, Dr. Coleman shares his insights after working with patients who have suffered severe trauma and loss, many of which happen to suffer from Lyme disease, which makes sense, considering that he is located in the Hudson Valley, just a short drive a way from Lyme, Connecticut, where Lyme disease first entered the medical dictionary.
Dr. Coleman says that healing and mental growth begin to occur once the patient emotionally accepts the reality of the situation and no longer dwells on the negative.
Here are Dr. Coleman's Three Paths to Inner Peace
(In Dr. Coleman's own words)
The Path of Acceptance and Inspiration
This path allows you to be open to inner guidance. For that to happen your mind must be like a calm lake where you can detect the ripple of a single fallen leaf. If your mind is cluttered with fear or anger it is like a hard rain on the lake that obliterates the subtle ripple of the leaf.
The Path of Release
This path is taken when you release fears and coping styles that no longer serve you. Everyone in life will one day face a situation where old coping methods and attitudes no longer work.
The Path of Compassion
This path takes you outside of yourself and toward others in need of support and assistance. It reminds us that in some ways we are all connected and that the Good Samaritan helps others because one day he of she will be in need of help.
Adversity puts you on a road, a journey, where you will face challenges and in the process learn more about who you are and what the deeper meaning of life is for you. That is the take-away. If you view the journey only as unfair -- even though it perhaps is -- you run the risk of cynicism and despair. In mythology, the hero on a journey fights dragons. The dragon is a serpent with wings -- an "earth" creature that can fly to the heavens. It represents our desire and need to find spiritual solace when facing earthly pain.
(Back to Mark again)
I'll leave you with one way the Female Yoda fights adversity through what she calls "The Chronic Funnies" -- a collection of funny comics that pose a new way to look at earthly pain.
If you or someone you love struggles with Lyme disease or chronic illness, leave a comment below and share your story.