Having Lyme can be very confusing. You read about this, you hear about that, people tell you a whole bunch of other things. Well, here are seven things you absolutely need to know if you have Lyme.
- You can get better. Few things seem more hopeless than being in the midst of a bad case of Lyme and/or its associated co-infections. I know. For seven years, I spent 23 hours a day in bed barely able to do anything. I remember telling my ex-wife I felt doomed. But now I’m about 85 per cent back to normal. In most cases, you return to health slowly, with the guidance of an experienced Lyme practitioner. It can be extremely difficult, but thousands and thousands of people get their lives back from Lyme.
- You can do a lot to help yourself. Even when you have next to no energy, you can focus on eating a clean diet, taking measures to make sure your sleep is as good as possible, getting as much fresh air and sunshine as you can, and working to ensure your relationships stay strong. Many find a faith practice helps as well. As you start to get better, you can gradually increase exercise to tolerance, try to build your relationships, and, of course, increase your efforts to treat and overcome the infections.
- You are not a bad person if you feel like yelling at everyone. Lyme and some of the co-infections mess with your nervous system. Bartonella is particularly famous for causing rage. If this happens to you, keep telling yourself this is not the real you, it’s a chemical reaction in your body caused by an infection. It will pass. But while the anger is hot, stay away from other people as best you can. Go to the bedroom and punch pillows, or hang a towel on the shower rod and whale away at that. One well-known Lyme practitioner, Dr. Lee Cowden, suggests going off by yourself into nature and screaming your head off. Whatever way you choose, it’s good to get the emotion out of you as long as you don’t hurt other people doing it.
- Some people will let you down. People are human. Lyme often seems like way too much to handle for those suffering from it. It is also way too much for some loved ones and once-trusted friends to handle. Sometimes they say hurtful things; sometimes they leave you. Often they don’t understand. Your job is to forgive them. You’re usually the one left with working to keep the relationship together. It seems totally unfair, but it’s worth it.
- Chronic Lyme is a real disease. For some reason, mainstream medicine doesn’t want to acknowledge this fact. There are a lot of political factors involved with this that go beyond the scope of this blog post, but the main thing you need to know is that the chronic Lyme deniers are flat out wrong. Considerable science exists that shows chronic Lyme is real. If you’ve had Lyme for a long time, you may well have a problem with immune dysfunction. Lyme causes immune dysfunction. But you likely continue to have Lyme too. In the majority of cases, people still feel like they have an infection because they still have an infection.
- Treating yourself with kindness is very important. It’s easy to get frustrated when your body isn’t able to do the things it used to do. And it’s easy to get mad at yourself when you feel your body has failed you. But it isn’t for lack of trying. Fighting Lyme is extremely demanding and your body is working very, very hard. It may not seem like it sometimes, but it’s on your side. It badly wants to get back to balance. You need to help it by treating it well, and realizing you actually have a heroic partner that is doing its absolute best.
- This is not your fault. When something goes terribly wrong, people often blame themselves. It can be hard not to when those around you are suggesting you can’t really be that sick. But in most cases all you did wrong was get bitten by an insect. Everyone has been bitten by an insect at one time or another. It can’t be avoided. The truth is that it is not your fault. In fact, the truth is that you have survived this hell so far, and you can get through it. So hold your head high. You are a brave person, and you need to know that too.