A story about how a bracelet helped me Overcome Lyme Disease
If you’ve ever heard of Electric Forest you probably have heard the unbelievable stories. If you’ve ever been to Electric Forest you’ve experienced the unbelievable stories. In 2018 I experienced one of those unbelievable stories that changed my life forever. This is the story of how a bracelet improved my mental health and allowed me to push forward. This is the story behind the meaning of our Overcome Bracelet.
For those of you who have not heard of or been to Electric Forest, let me first explain the scenes then circumstances.
What is Electric Forest?
Electric Forest is a 4 to 5 day music festival in Rothbury, Michigan that extends through the last weekend in June. Postponed for 2020, Electric Forest has been celebrating music and art at the Double JJ Ranch for a decade. But hosted by Madison House Presents and Insomniac, Electric Forest isn’t just any old camp out music festival.
It’s a lifestyle festival and a community - A community that comes together during the week - no matter the race, gender, age, religion or political views - to love and cherish music, art, each other and the world around us.
It’s like no place I’ve ever experienced. It’s inclusive. It’s thoughtful. It’s wildly entertaining. It’s a safe space for people to love and be loved while enjoying music, art, vendors, good food, and great weather.
Then there is The Forest – a perfectly planted forest filled with red pine trees planted during the Great Depression meant to supply jobs and reforest the once logged land. Now around 70 years old and grown, The Forest separates the main stages acting as a sound buffer but more importantly a beautiful art exhibit teaming with life - A perfect place to take in the surroundings, listen to music, get some shade, or hang a hammock. But it’s more than just a stand of trees and a sound buffer. It’s an energy that runs through your body as you walk beneath the canopy. It’s the same positive energy that carries throughout the festival making you want to come back year over year.
But The Forest also has a magic to it that’s hard to express and when people leave the Festival, whether their first time or their tenth time, they carry those vibrations with them. Some people say The Forest always gives but I never truly understood the saying until my experience.
An Experience with Electric Forest's Electricology Team
In 2018 I was provided the opportunity to volunteer on the festival grounds as part of the sustainability team, Electricology. We help keep the forest clean and cheer on others to do their part as well.
As part of Electricology, one of our primary responsibilities is to manage the Prize Cart – a silly but brilliant idea to incentivize patrons to clean up their waste after the shows have ended. As part of the initiative we exchange prizes for trash, and so in 2018 a company called GloFX donated glow-in-the-dark lime green awareness bracelets with their name engraved into them. All week long we were passing them out to thousands of people.
As a successful week came to a close, I was hiding out in the Electricology office, cleaning the area. I remember being absolutely beat, as most would after a multi-day music festival comes to a close. But I was especially beat because I was also in the middle of a depressive battle with Lyme Disease.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is a once rare but now increasingly concerning autoimmune disease stemming from a tick bite, that creates general fatigue, among other painful and annoying side effects often associated with nerve pain, arthritis, depression and sensitivities. If not treated within 60-days of the tick bite, the tick’s bacteria infiltrates your Central Nervous System making the disease incurable. It’s often coined as “The Great Imitator” for its ability to mimic other inflammatory diseases making it difficult to diagnose.
Beyond life-altering and sometimes debilitating effects, treatments are limited because doctors are either not literate on the subject or they don’t believe it is a real disease. Insurance companies also refuse to accept it as a real medical concern making care unaffordable for most. To make matters worse, testing confirming you have the disease is extremely inaccurate, making you wonder whether it is all just in your head.
It’s a mental mind f**k and extremely lonely to live with on a day to day basis, in addition to the fact that the arthritic and mobility concerns made me feel like a 30-year-old suddenly living in a 60-year-old’s body. Once you have Lyme Disease it’s hard to to accept and to carry on with a normal life.
The Life-Changing Moment
Combining my physical exhaustion with my Lyme exhaustion, I was more than happy to take a backseat to the festival for the evening and sort through the remaining prizes. As I sat alone cleaning the shelves in front of me. I reached up and grabbed a stack of the lime green awareness sponsorship bracelets we had been passing out all weekend long.
As I went to toss them into the pile of others, one of the bracelets slipped out from my hand and fell into my lap. For some fateful reason I looked at it before tossing it to the side. Chills ran throughout my body as I read the engraving. It didn’t read the sponsors name like all the other bracelets, the bracelet that fell in my lap said, “Fight Lyme Disease.”
I was stunned as I read it over and over and over. I scanned the empty space around me as a tear ran down my cheek. I wanted to say something to someone, but no one was around. It was just the bracelet and me. The chances of that experience happening are unfathomable. It was divine intervention. It was the Forest giving me hope to carry on.
So I put the bracelet on my wrist and wore it for the next 2 months. The bracelet inspired me - it gave me courage, it gave me strength. It gave me hope to rise to the challenge, to accept my diagnosis with Lyme Disease, to carry on. It was a reminder that I COULD DO IT. That I could overcome every day.
Inspiring others with Overcome bracelets
When I finally took the bracelet off, I was in a better place living with my Lyme Disease. The experience taught me a lot, but mostly was a fantastic daily reminder that the first step is to say YOU CAN. From there, pushing forward becomes easier.
From this positive experience I decided to create my own Overcome bracelet to continue to inspire myself and others.
With slight modifications to the original, the new lime green bracelet is more lightweight, flexible for any wrist, and multi-use!
And to support anyone who may need to overcome life’s greatest challenges, I replaced the “Fight Lyme Disease” text with the motivational word Overcome, because YOU CAN OVERCOME whatever life is throwing your way.
Now, I hope to pass this inspiration on to you. Let this Overcome bracelet serve as a daily reminder that the first step is to say you can.
How to receive an Overcome bracelet: A bracelet is provided for free with any orders of Overcome products, or you can shop for them directly.