In The Lyme Light
By Rachel Brower, UG Student
Go <a href=”https://vitalsourcelife.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/in-the-lyme-light-part-1/”>here for Part I</a>
“Hey man, how have you been?” Stephen high fives you in the hallway on your way to your next class.
“Been alright, hanging in there.” You smile.
“Listen, I heard you guys had an awesome hiking trip last month in the mountains! I was wondering when you were headed back up! I wanna go.”
“Oh, man I don’t know. You should talk to Chris about it. He kinda organized it and may want to do another round.”
“I mean I don’t know. I got really sick while I was there. Sort of left a bad taste in my mouth, ya know?” You shrug and adjust your bag. “Plus school is weighing me down right now.”
“You?!” Stephen gawks. “The straight A kid who always got the bonus questions right and beat me by like…a few points?”
You smile reflectively to yourself. “Yeah, I mean I’m still making it. Everything just seems a bit harder that’s all.”
“Have you increased your course load?”
“Involved in too many clubs?”
You blink in response to his bluntness. “Angie’s fine.”
“Weird, well…okay.” Stephen shuffles his shoes and looks down. “Sorry bro. Keep your chin up!”
“Hey thanks man, yeah just talk to Chris.” You offer a pat on his shoulder and part ways.
As you enter your last class for the day, you glance down at your watch. Just a few minutes late. Your professor doesn’t notice, but you have to resort to sitting in the back few rows rather than your usual front row position. As the lecture proceeds he begins to write algebraic formulas all over the board. You take rapid notes, knowing that the midterm college exams were just around the corner.
“Hey, you alright?” A female voice interrupts your thought process.
“Huh? Oh yeah, Hi Sarah, I’m good.”
“Okay, just wondering. You seem tense or something.”
You shrug to negate the comment, but suddenly realize that she was somewhat correct in her observation. You were sitting at the edge of your chair, leaning all the way forward, and squinting to see the board – still with great difficulty. Clenching your fists, you rub your eyes for a few seconds and blink, hoping that would increase your visual clarity. Nothing changes. Perplexed, you try and make due for the duration of the period.
Flinging your backpack down at the foot of the couch in your dorm room, you collapse onto the cushions letting out a sigh of exhaustion. You couldn’t recall the last time you felt this tired, and you used to have enough energy to hit the gym after classes. Today, that simply felt like the last option available. You rub your neck where a dull headache seems to be growing, and close your eyes.
“Dude, what are you doing?”
You jolt up from the couch to the sound of your roommate Kevin slamming the door obnoxiously. “I thought you had that meeting this evening for camp staff training or something?”
“Oh man…” You mumble and look at your watch. It started a half hour ago.
“You fell asleep?”
“Yeah, and I completely forgot.”
Kevin, digging for items in the refrigerator, looked at you concernedly over his shoulder.
“Are you doing okay, bro?”
“Why does everyone keep asking me that!” You fling one hand up in the air and hold your throbbing head with the other.
“I dunno, man…I just…You’re not acting like yourself. This is the third time you’ve forgotten something or slept through something important.”
“Yeah, well sleep’s important too.”
“You sleep a lot!”
“And I’m still exhausted.” You shake your head hopelessly in your hands and look up admittedly. “I don’t know what it is, Kev. Even my grades have dropped some within the past month. There’s just something wrong with me, I guess.”
“I wouldn’t beat yourself up, but try and get to the bottom of it.”
A few months pass by, and you struggle through your final semester of freshman year. You finish with grades much less than straight A’s, and your parents still smile sweetly and state how proud they are of you. You don’t feel it though – in fact you feel quite the opposite, wondering why you have become such a bad student, son, friend, and boyfriend.
“I forget to call Angie back…” You stare blankly at the floor. “I miss meetings and deadlines all the time. I’m exhausted after just a little bit of effort during the day…”
“And so what do you usually do?” The psychiatrist peers over his spectacles with a pen and pad of paper in hand.
“I mean, I usually sleep. I have headaches at the end of each day. I’m tired and my bones ache.”
“So no more energy, drive, or passion for life right?”
“Exactly.” You look up at him hopefully, since you have seen him a few times now at the suggestion of many loved ones. “Any insight?”
He clears his throat. “Yes, actually. Son, what you are experiencing is pretty normal, believe it or not. Many kids, especially your age, go through these types of phases.”
“Absolutely. It’s called depression. And the accompanying worry is called anxiety.”
“Oh.” You squint your eyes and look out the window. “So I’m depressed. That’s the answer.”
“Perceivably so, son. But you don’t need to worry. It’s nothing that a good consistent schedule of medication can’t help in a matter of time.”