Originally I am from Virginia Beach, Virginia. I was raised here until the time I was 11 and went to a tiny private school. Out of nowhere my family decided to drop everything and move to Scotland. I didn’t realize how close minded I was or how sheltered my life was before I moved. I quickly fell in love with Scotland. The whole time I lived there it honestly felt like a dream. I adapted a lot of my British friends makeup habits and fashion. I believe Scotland was the one place in my childhood I was able to became and evolve into myself. My family and I moved back to Virginia my 9th grade year and that’s when I decided my visions of life were too big for the tiny school I left behind. So that upcoming year I decided to go to the public school that was 40X the size the private school I went to.
Starting my freshman year I only knew about 5 people in the whole school including my older brother. I was extremely shy and kept to myself most of the time but that didn’t stop people from noticing me. I was labeled as “the new girl”. Even the high school was big there were many small clicks and I stuck out like a black sheep. I joined the dance team and became very involved. My sophomore year I was voted on homecoming court and my life seemed picture perfect to others. But in reality I was drowning.
Ever since I stared sophomore year something was not right. I felt sick all the time and never wanted to get out of bed. I struggled through each hour and everyday was a battle. The doctors didn’t know exactly what was wrong. They diagnosed me with anxiety and fibromyalgia. Even with all the medication I was polluting my body with I still didn’t feel myself.
Junior year came and things in my life only got worse. Things were slipping out of my grasp. In the past I never worried about grades but I was now struggling to barely get A’s. I slept more and more each day and grew sadder and sadder along with frustrations. Kids at my school started being cruel, sending me hateful messages online and never giving me a chance to breathe. They looked at me as this “perfect” teenage girl, with a “perfect” life and “perfect” family, but no one knew how much I was falling apart inside. No one knew how I laughed and smiled to hide my tears most the time.
March Junior year, my life hit rock bottom. I overdosed on over-the-counter meds and attempted suicide. I woke up in the hospital and realized my life in hell was only beginning. My parents decided to send me to a extensive, therapeutic, rehab center in Connecticut.
I cannot even explain how frustrating it was to wake up every morning in rehab. I had no one to blame other than myself. I was living proof that the mind can be a terrible thing. I hated it. I wrote letters everyday to my best friend but never sent them because I knew how much they would upset her. It took about a month for me to realize I needed this for myself, not for my education, not for my parents, but for myself. I wanted to get healthy and I wanted to feel my old self again. In my opinion this is when my rehab actually began.
Two months later my arms were wrapped around my best friend, simultaneously crying because I was finally able to go home. Things were so different. Even though my aches and pains were still present I had hope for the future and I knew what I wanted in life.
I was home schooled my last year of high school. Some people might describe this as being weak but I saw it as being strong and knowing that I wasn’t going to let immature, petty girls keep me from graduating high school. Finally graduation day came and went and it became time for me to start a new chapter in my life. This is what I had been waiting for.
I started my college career at Auburn University in Alabama. I loved it but at the same time I felt like I didn’t fit in. But still I pushed myself to go to classes and I became very involved in my sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. It seemed like I was sick every other week. Just in the first month of school I had been to the clinic five times. I had strep twice, bronchitis, and needed routine breathing treatments. It became so difficult to keep up with my classes the doctors recommended a medical leave. At first I fell apart and thought I just wasn’t cut out for college. My parents took me to their new home in Gainesville, Florida. This is when the doctors discovered I had Lyme Disease, and Bartonella.
The doctor asked me why I was so content with the diagnoses because most teens would fall apart hearing this. I told her I was just happy to finally have an answer. All through high school I felt like I never fit in and thought differently than everyone else. But hearing this diagnosis justified my feelings and basically explained everything.
If you are not familiar with Lyme Disease or Bartonella it is a bacteria that you can get from being bitten by a tick. In my case I actually had it passed down through birth. The bacteria has been affecting my brain for years. Lyme Disease can cause headaches, extreme fatigue, cloudy thoughts, memory loss, low immune system, achy muscles and joints, thoughts of suicide, chills, seizures, numbness and weakness. Most of the time Lyme disease when caught early enough can be treated with heavy amounts of antibiotics. Since I also have Bartonella it may be harder to cure. In the future the doctors are going to use chemo-like antibiotics and vitamins. I know this road to recovery is going to be a rough one… But for the first time I feel lucky to be alive.