Imagine you’re on the way to meet a friend you haven’t seen in a while for coffee. You’re in a good mood, the sun is shining, and then, the brake lights of the car in front of turn on and out of nowhere you find yourself in a pop-up traffic jam. Now you’re going to be late, and your friend will be sitting there waiting for you, staring at her coffee, while it gets cold.
Small annoyances are inevitable and no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but they have a way of downshifting your mood, which can be hard to recover from.
You know the feeling - all the positive energy you had squeezes out of you like a tube of toothpaste, and a low level of anxiety and tension takes up the space it left behind.
Here is a list of affirmations you can say to yourself when those little things creep into your life. Take a deep breath, repeat the affirmation, and you might just save your mood. The next time you step squarely in a puddle, you can breeze right past it, and continue on your way. Those shoes needed a rinse anyway, right?
7 Affirmations for Life's Little Annoyances:
1. Stopped at a red light
“I’m stopped so that other people can go.”
This affirmation came to me one day as I was waiting at an extra long red light. I watched the never-ending stream of cars cross from the other direction and realized they all have places to go, too. They might be late for a job interview or just wanting to get home after a long day. When I thought about it that way, it was easier to wait a few seconds before it was my turn to go.
2. Waiting at the doctor’s office
“Waiting helps me clear my mind and get into a positive place before my appointment.”
Wait times at doctor’s offices seem to be getting longer and longer. Use that time to get in the right headspace. Organize your thoughts, and think about what you want to ask the doctor; even take a moment to write it down. If you still have extra time, do a silent meditation and get yourself in a positive place for a productive appointment.
3. Stuck behind a slow car in traffic
“Something is telling me to slow down.”
In the past when a slow driver pulled in front of me, I used speed around them to prove a point. I now look at delays as reminders to slow down. In our lives we bounce from one thing to the next and forget to be mindful. The idea of time is a human invention, and sometimes we have to be reminded that it’s not ticking quite as fasts as we think it is. Instead of zipping around the car, take a deep breath, and go around them when you have a safe opportunity.
4. People interrupting you
“They must have a lot to say. I will take this time to decide if what I want to say is truly important to share, or if I am just talking to keep the focus on me.”
It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. When I’m talking and someone butts in, it makes you feel like they were not listening to you and you don’t get to finish your point. Sometimes conversations can turn into two people talking and no one listening. I like to be the one to stop the cycle. Really listen to what the other person has to say, and then keep the conversation moving in a constructive manner.
5. Parking ticket
“Will this matter a week from now?”
So, your meter ran out five minutes before you got back to your car and there is a bright orange ticket flapping in the wind from your windshield wiper. My first instinct is to swear and stomp my feet, but it’s not worth the physical and mental energy. The truth is, we all get parking tickets from time to time. It’s a price we pay to park in the city. Once the bill is paid, let it go, or turn it into a funny story. I promise, it won’t matter a week from now.
6. The common cold
“I will appreciate my health when I get better.”
If you feel under the weather use it as an opportunity to remember what it’s like to feel good. The common cold usually goes away after a few days and when you are back to yourself take advantage of your new appreciation for your health. The common cold is also a chance for you to rest. Use that sick day you have stored up, and binge watch your favorite Netflix show on the couch with a box of tissue while drinking plenty of liquids.
7. Rain or “bad weather”
“Rain replenishes the earth” or “All weather is necessary for the planet.”
Next time you are caught in the rain, don’t curse it, dance in it instead. The earth needs clouds, rain, and even storms. It’s all part of a delicate balance, which we have taken for granted for far too long. I’m not talking about saying affirmations when there is a dangerous hurricane or flood, but when you wake up to the sound of rain outside you window, try not to call it a “bad day” before the day has even started.
When you practice reacting to daily annoyances with positive affirmations, you will start to see a shift in your life. Little things will start to bother you less and less, and you will be able to maintain a calm and happy mood throughout the day. And when days are better, life is better.
“The most satisfying project you will ever undertake - and a mark of a complete human being - is to discover how to build a sense of happiness that no one can take away from you...” - Deepak Chopra
Lori Dennis is the definition of a Mama Bear in the Lyme community. She is a fierce advocate for better treatment of Lyme patients and recognition of chronic Lyme disease by the CDC and IDSA. Her son was diagnosed with Lyme, and as a mother she fought with him for an accurate diagnosis and satisfactory treatment. As an intelligent and thoughtful person, the bureaucracy surrounding Lyme disease made her intensely angry and frustrated. She channeled her feelings into her upcoming book Lyme Madness: Rescuing My Son Down the Rabbit Hole of Chronic Lyme Disease, which will be available soon on Amazon. Follow Lori on her Facebook page and visit her website. Enjoy the interview. I especially like what she has to say about Googling symptoms and the quote she shares.
Tell us a little about who you are and what you do:
I am a Registered Psychotherapist in private practice in Toronto.
Your son has Lyme disease. Tell us about his Lyme story, how do you think he contracted Lyme?
I was forced to plunge myself into the world of Lyme four years ago when my adult son, who lives and works in New York City, became acutely ill. I could see for four years prior to that time, in his last semester at Brown University in Providence Rhode Island, that he was just not himself. He began to exhibit symptoms that were outsized - he lost a lot of his hair quickly at the age of 22 and he was experiencing anxiety that was not easy to explain. His light seemed dim. It was not until one week after he had a flu shot in the fall of 2012, that he fell acutely ill.
Like most chronic Lyme sufferers, we don’t know how or when he contracted Lyme. It could have been a tick bite at overnight camp in northern Ontario where he spent his summers from ages 12-17. Or it could have been at Brown University where Lyme is also endemic. He never saw the bullseye. He never saw the tick that apparently bit him, if in fact that is how it was actually transmitted. We just don’t know. After he got a flu shot he fell ill and the symptoms just cascaded from that point on.
How long did it take him to get a diagnosis?
It took 18 months and 20 medical specialists in Manhattan to completely miss his diagnosis altogether - I remain outraged at this fact to this day. I obviously came to learn that most chronic Lyme sufferers have experienced the same thing, give or take a detail or two. This is honestly what has driven me to write Lyme Madness. I have been propelled by my outrage at the medical system. The lack of interest, the denial, the neglect, the invalidation that people are experiencing worldwide is unconscionable to me.
At my son's lowest and most desperate place in May 2014, my intuition kicked in and I Googled Lyme (I certainly wish that my intuition had kicked in sooner). Despite what doctors have to say about Google, I feel blessed to have had this resource. It was the only way we could have figured it out as none of these hot shot specialists even had it on their radar. So, if this hurts their egos or causes them to mock us, so be it. I can live with that. Until they begin to do their job properly, we are left to be our own diagnosticians, microbiologists, immunologists, rheumatologists, neurologists, infectious disease specialists, and so on. As Kris Newby of Under Our Skin fame told me when I interviewed her, chronic Lyme is a “do it yourself” disease. Rings true.
Once I knew in my heart that it was Lyme he was suffering from, I Googled (once again) “Lyme specialists” and learned for the first time that there was such a thing as a Lyme Literate MD. We were fortunate to get in to see one in NYC very quickly - on a cancellation. And so our medical odyssey with chronic Lyme disease began.
I look back to that watershed moment and think about how little we understood then. How we had no idea how long and arduous this road would be. How I would be compelled to write a book on the subject. How this disease is so much more than ticks and bullseye rashes as the media would have us believe.
As you stated, you wrote a book entitled Lyme Madness, due out soon. What compelled you to write the book?
Lyme Madness was derived from my sense of chronic outrage, confusion, isolation, worry and overwhelm. I was busy reading about chronic Lyme disease at every moment I could find. And the rabbit hole just got deeper and deeper, darker and darker. No one in my world understood or had the capacity to listen to everything I was learning. So I needed to find an outlet for all of this information that I was gathering and the madness of it all. Thus Lyme Madness was born.
I am hoping that my book will help others be able to navigate this journey a little bit more easily, and that it will help them to feel a little bit less isolated and “crazy” by their experience which is being negated by so many. I hope that their loved ones will think twice before rolling their eyes or offering ridiculous platitudes. I hope that some doctors (including psychiatrists) will wake up and join us in this nightmare called chronic Lyme.
What do you want people to know about Lyme disease?
Last spring, I wrote a post on my Lyme Madness Facebook page that read:
“Lyme sufferers are victimized in five different ways: by the disease itself; by doctors who turn their backs; by loved ones who roll their eyes and walk away; by insurance companies who refuse to provide coverage; and by the CDC and IDSA who say that ‘chronic Lyme disease does not exist.’”
This post had 104,000 views and more than 1,000 shares. What this tells us is that it hit a nerve far and wide. I’ve since been told that Lyme sufferers are also victimized by schools that require ongoing paperwork for academic accommodations - something I hadn’t thought about as my son is an adult.
When I read your post on your hospital stay, I realized, not for the first time, that hospitals victimize Lyme sufferers too, of course, by forcing them to explain and justify their illness at each and every emergency visit, clouding sufferers with a sense of shame, as if they are fabricating their experience.
Do you have any advice for the newly diagnosed?
What I want Lyme sufferers to know is that they are not alone. That there are millions suffering, and few listening. But that they can get support and validation from the other chronic Lyme sufferers all over the world. I have spoken to people in the Netherlands, in the UK, in Australia, in Japan, in Scotland, in Ireland, in Germany, across Canada, and the US. It is the very same story world-over. The medical powers that be insist that chronic Lyme disease is “difficult to catch, easy to diagnose, and easy to treat.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I want Lyme sufferers to know that we are making strides. With every book, every blog, every protest, every petition, we are being heard. But it will take time to steer this ship in the right direction. In the meantime, we all have to find “workarounds” - doctors and protocols that are outside of the box of conventional medicine. I believe that chronic Lyme is now at the forefront of a paradigm shift in medicine. In time, we will continue to move far more toward homeopathic, naturopathic and energy medicine as allopathic medicine has rendered itself ineffectual for chronic Lyme sufferers.
Please share a quote or mantra that inspires you:
The quote that keeps me going and helps me to gather more and more courage as I move toward publishing this book is: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” - Arthur Schopenhauer
You can sign up to be notified when Lyme Madness becomes available by leaving your email address here. Also, look forward to my review of the book in a future blog post.
Lyme patients often hear the words, "You Don't Look Sick." It's a source of confusion and pain. Of course we don't want to look sick, but we want others to look past how we look to how we feel.
This phenomenon is not only experienced by Lyme patients. It's a common occurrence for anyone who has an "invisible illness," or an illness you can't see based on outward appearance.
I try to live by the quote, "Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Even if you don't have an illness, you might be going through a divorce, someone important to you may have passed away, or any number of other difficulties. Everyone is battling something and we need to remember that when we talk to each other.
Here is a link to my article:
The High Cost of Telling Someone 'You Don't Look Sick'
I will be a regular contributor on the Global Lyme Alliance blog. I will post future articles here and on social media.
I would love to hear other stories about being told you don't look sick and publish them as a guest post. If you have a story, reach out to me on my connect page.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” - Dalai Lama
I'm Kerry and I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in 2016. This is a positive space for those of us coping with Lyme disease and other invisible illnesses.