Put The Lyme In The Coconut

Put The Lyme In The Coconut

It's time to shake things up, help build a force behind supporting lyme disease awareness.

Social media has provided access and exposure to raising awareness and funds to waves of organizations. Lyme disease is next.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria, transmitted by a special species of black-legged ticks -- via a painless bite often not detected until afterwards. According to The Lyme Disease Challenge, fewer than half of those with lyme disease even recall being bitten by a tick. Even scarier, the lyme disease bacterium has the capability of reaching your brain within the first 24 hours of being bitten.

There are three easy steps to join the Lyme Disease Challenge. Follow the steps listed below and donate $10.

1. Take a bite. Capture your best tangy sourpuss face via photo or short video.

2. Share a fact. Use your caption or video to feature some of the shocking statistics about lyme disease (listed below).

3. Pass it on. Help empower the campaign by challenging three other individuals such as your pledge grandma, roommate or chapter president. Mention them in your caption, or give them a quick holler in your short video.

Now, share share share! Use your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the hashtag #LymeDiseaseChallenge to help build momentum behind this campaign! Think about how huge the Ice Bucket Challenge became. Social media has the power to propel these ideas and push awareness.

Here are some facts provided by their website you could include in your post!

  • Children are at the highest risk of contracting lyme disease and are more vulnerable to central nervous system infections.
  • Transmission of lyme disease and other infections can take place in a matter of minutes, particularly if the tick is not removed properly.
  • Lyme disease has been called “The Great Imitator" and can be mistaken for ALS, MS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, alzheimer's, parkinson's, autism, and other illnesses.
  • Research suggests that lyme disease and other infections can be spread from mother to baby during pregnancy.
  • Studies show that standard laboratory tests recommended by the CDC to diagnose lyme disease miss approximately half of actual cases, leading to misdiagnosis and an infection that is more difficult to treat.
  • Over 63 percent of patients treated for lyme disease continue to suffer symptoms that can be debilitating.
  • The CDC estimates that there are 300,000 new cases of lyme disease each year in the United States. Some experts believe the actual number of new cases could be as high as one to two million new cases per year, in the US alone.
  • Lyme disease has been reported in every state except Hawaii, and has been found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Lyme disease has six times more new cases each year than HIV/AIDS, yet it receives less than one percent of the funding.
  • Fewer than 50 percent of patients with lyme disease recall a tick bite or any rash.
  • There are no tests available to prove that the bacteria that causes lyme disease has been eradicated, or that the patient is cured after treatment.
  • Ticks can carry many different types of bacterial, viral and parasitic infections -- some life-threatening -- which can further complicate tick-borne disease diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

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Being Depressed Does Not Make You Lazy

A person is not 'lazy' because they're in bed all day, likely feeling trapped by their own mind.

Anyone who has ever dealt with depression -- whether it be due to major depressive disorder, dysthymia, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, or the low of a bipolar disorder -- knows that being depressed isn't a choice, and it isn't just a fleeting feeling.

Nobody chooses their mental illness, and that includes people with any form of depression.

Because, really, who wants to choose to hate themselves? Who wants to live a life where they feel trapped in their own brain and body, where they either can't eat or can't stop eating, can't sleep or can't stop sleeping, where nothing is fun and everything is a burden? Most importantly, who wants to live a life where the idea of suicide comes up as a 'good idea'?

Spoiler alert: Having depression isn't some glamorous life of pretty mascara-lines down your face while an equally pretty and also sad boy holds you in his arms.

Having depression is not being able take care of your basic hygiene because you can't get the energy to do it. Having depression is being unable to focus on and enjoy something that used to get your blood rushing. Having depression is a fight to do what you need to do, likely being unable to do it, and feeling like you're utterly worthless because of that failure.

Another spoiler alert: Being unable to do tasks that are perceived as 'simple' is not laziness when you're in a major depression.

A person is not being 'lazy' because they haven't done a certain thing. A person is not 'lazy' because they're in bed all day, probably feeling trapped while they fight with themselves to get out of bed and do something.

While mental illness should never be used as an excuse, it's important for the person with depression and the people around that person to understand.

The person with depression needs to recognize that there is only so much they can do, needs to recognize they need to get help, and needs to be gentle with themself until they find some footing to start climbing back to proper functioning.

The people around need to recognize that this person is hurting, much like someone in a hospital after a horrific accident is. When someone's in the hospital, people swarm to try helping or send condolences and 'get better soon' cards. That's what someone suffering from depression needs.

They're both in similar situations:

The person with depression and the person in the hospital are suffering. They both want to get better. They both need the help and support of loved ones.

If you or a loved one needs help, there are plenty of resources available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a phone number you can call for anything ranging from immediate suicide prevention to resources that will help. If the idea of a phone call causes an anxiety attack (I know that feeling), I believe they now have online chat available.

Cover Image Credit: Jim Jackson

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16 Life Lessons I Learned in 2017

My most important takeaways from the year.

2017 was a wild ride. The year was filled with incredible moments that changed me as a person and I learned some important life lessons. These are my 16 biggest takeaways and lessons learned.

16. Sunscreen.

Always wear SPF if you'll be out in the sun. Even if you're driving in the car, wear SPF. Going to Seattle? Wear sunscreen. 2017 was definitely the year of horror-story sunburns and I now carry sunscreen with me at all times. (And no, that isn't an exaggeration.)

15. Procrastinating a 30 page paper rarely ends well

Do I really have to explain this one? Just don't do it. Even if its only a 15 page paper, its so much easier to write when it isn't the night before. There are very few reasons to procrastinate it. It isn't worth the few extra episodes of Gossip Girl that you can watch (for the fifth time) if you keep putting it off.

14. Worrying about World War III is not worth your time

This is a tricky one, but very applicable. For the most part, worrying about things you cannot control is a waste of your time and won't make you feel any better. This includes anything relating to the world falling apart.

13. Get rid of those toxic friendships

Seriously. Just do it already. If they suck the joy from your life and only create negativity, they don't belong in your life. If you don't like who you're becoming around them, they probably need to go as well.

12. ...but don't burn any bridges

There are a few occasions that warrant this, but for the most part, it tends to be overkill and often more destructive than helpful. Don't let your emotions lead you to do something stupid.

11. Decluttering your life is one of the best things you can do for yourself

Get rid of the crap you've been accumulating since middle school. If it means nothing to you, get rid of it immediately. You'd be surprised how much stuff you have that you didn't realize existed.

10. People can surprise you, for the better and for the worse

I'll just leave this one here without an explanation.

7. Ghosting is real, y'all

Stop wondering what happened or why they've stopped communicating with you, even though it may hurt. You don't need closure if you understand that (for whatever reason) they no longer want any sort of relationship with you. Also, try not to ghost too much.

6. A belief system is everything

Life is many, many times easier if you have something to fall back on when times get tough. Religion and faith are the best, but having something there is incredibly valuable.

5. Your friends need you as much as you need them

They are (and were) there for you when you need (or needed) them. Do not abandon them when they need you the most. It may not be fun, but you need to do it anyway.

4. Trust your gut

Maybe I've watched too much NCIS, but listen to and trust your gut. You're probably right. (I should also note that many of Gibbs' rules were very applicable this year as well.)

3. Do not, under any circumstance (ever), let anyone push you around

It doesn't matter who they are or how they're doing it, don't let them. Know your worth and use it to make sure they can't push you around.

2. When you find good friends, hold them tight and don't let go

Good friends are hard to come by. When you find those incredible people, remember how great they are and cherish them.

1. No risk is too bold to take

You might fail spectacularly, but you may also succeed in grand fashion. Do not be afraid to do something outside of your comfort zone or unlike you. Something good may come from it and you'll be glad you did.

Cover Image Credit: Canoga Park Neighborhood Council

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