I followed Bethany on Instagram because of her beautifully drawn, professional-looking comics that reminded me of my favorite graphic novels, only they were about Lyme disease! I love Bethany’s style, humor, and the painfully accurate way she reflects the patient experience.
Hey! I’m Bethany, creator of lymelifecomics. I make comics about the struggles of chronic illness. I’ve been an artist since I first held a crayon.
I taught myself to draw and always dreamed of going to art school. I love to draw the human figure and to use my work to express human experience. I enjoy traditional media such as pencil and watercolor, but Photoshop is my tool of choice. I can use my laptop and tablet anywhere, especially on my foldable desk in bed. Digital art doesn’t require a lot of movement or supplies, so it gives me freedom to create, even with chronic pain.
After years of struggling with my health, I am finally earning an online degree in illustration, concentrated in sequential art (best known as comics, or the perfect combination of visual and written storytelling, if you ask me). The storytelling underlying comics, anime, and books brought light into my life in times of darkness. I hope my comics can reflect hope in hopeless situations.
I was inspired to create lymelifecomics during intensive medical treatment—the most difficult sixteen months of my life.
I have battled Lyme disease for eight years. My mom has been sick her entire life and was misdiagnosed by countless doctors. In 2012, when she was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease, my brother, sister, and I also tested positive and were diagnosed. At that time, I struggled to keep up with classes and graduated high school after five years. Because of the setbacks of illness, I had to put even more effort into college, especially when I contracted Lyme again through a second insect bite.
My health declined, but I denied the need to quit school and I studied liberal arts for one year before the program was cancelled.
So I had no choice but to join my parents, who had temporarily moved to Florida for my mom’s medical treatment. I lost all hope for the future, but God showed me the stars in the darkness.
For the first time in my life I met people outside my family who struggled with similar conditions. I was surprised by the amount of people my age at the clinic. We instantly connected through similar stories: lack of awareness, understanding, empathy for an invisible illness, and worst of all, the suffering of loss. Illness caused the loss of health, peace, passion, opportunities and experiences.
But from this loss, I have gained endurance, self-love, patience, kindness, empathy, and purpose. I became inspired to share my own experiences because of the countless stories, experiences, and frustrations of other patients. I am privileged and blessed to be on a journey of healing and creativity. I want to be a voice for the voiceless.
I cannot speak about other chronic illnesses because I have only experienced Lyme, but I hope those who are struggling, even those without chronic illness, can identify with my comics. I hope my comics will show the reality of living with Lyme disease, and will not only raise awareness, empathy and understanding, but will also provide hope for healing and thriving.
Check out Bethany’s work on Instagram.
Connect with Bethany on Facebook.
Follow Bethany on Twitter.
To learn more about Lyme disease, check out Project Lyme
and Lyme Disease Challenge. (There are many great websites, but these sites are well-organized and easy to read and navigate.) To find a Lyme-literate practitioner, go to ILADS.org or Global Lyme Alliance.
I wish everyone a low-symptoms day and “Happy” Awareness Month! 💚 If you want to see my other awareness art guest posts, just type “Spoonie Artist Guest Post” into the search bar. (When my brain fog allows, I’m going to make a single page for all the posts.)