Category Archives: Mental Health

Portrait of a Love Triangle

Made by Courtney, age 2.

Made by Courtney, age 2.

 

 

 

I lost a relationship to Lyme. As I’ve learned since, Lyme has ruined many relationships and marriages.

The year we met was wonderful. He was smart, funny, sweet, and kind. Best of all, he said “yes” to everything, from new foods to foreign films to travel. He taught me about sailing; I shared my love of cycling. Over a couple of years we grew close.

Then came the beginning of the end of us. When he won tickets to Paris and we arrived full of plans to explore La Ville Lumière, suddenly I was so tired that I didn’t couldn’t keep up. My customary joi de vivre was flagging along with my body. We thought it was jet lag or flu.  Continue reading

Checking Facebook, Craving Face Time

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Two things in particular sustain me: natural beauty and friends.
Photo: LifeLoveLyme

For a long time now, I’ve been in a place where viewing the lives of friends through the window of Facebook is incredibly painful. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just enjoy the happy happenings of others instead of being overcome by my own piercing grief, frustration, and regret?

I checked my page today and saw a lot of posts from folks, many of whom I have not seen since I got sick. They’re experiencing all kinds of major life events. Meanwhile I’m facing major limitations.

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Snow Day

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Photo: LifeLoveLyme

While I was visiting  family in northern New Jersey a few days ago, a snow storm blasted across the Northeast. Nemo left eight inches of fluffy stuff covering everything in sight.

And overnight, my sister’s household slowed down to my speed. Lyme speed.

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What Lyme Teaches

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Photo: LifeLoveLyme

Recently, I logged on and saw a posting on my Yahoo lyme support group from Rebecca of Hampton, Virginia. She had written a list that touched us all, and I’d like to share her thoughts with you.

I am learning…

To chill out.

To love myself not just on good days, but bad days, too.

To reach out to others.

To let go of my need to control.

That friends are treasures.

That hugs, kisses, and a little together time in a family go a long way.

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That it’s OK to not be OK sometimes.

That I’m never alone.

That every moment of every day is a gift.

That none of us deserve this and we matter in a very special way.

That this disease is ugly—but I’m not.

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Key Lime Pie Days

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Photo: LifeLoveLyme

Someone special took me on a drive along the Chesapeake Bay in southern Maryland the other day, and we discovered a cozy place serving up key lime pie made from the tried-and-true recipe of the previous owner. The minute I saw the sign advertising pie in front of the old house-turned-coffee house, I knew I had to have some.

Sitting in the warm, inviting front room and savoring every bite of tart, creamy deliciousness and crumbly graham cracker crust was the perfect celebration of my first day without Lyme symptoms in five months.

 

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Where’s the Anxiety Coming From? A Surprising Answer.

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Photo: LifeLoveLyme

This morning when I woke up, I realized that I actually felt refreshed.

I had not endured a night of constant shifting trying to relieve body pain. Or of bolting up eyes wide open at one a.m. and then finding myself stuck awake with raging insomnia for four or five hours. And the thing that struck me most this morning was, I felt at peace.

Lyme disease can affect every part of your body, but many people don’t realize how hard it can hit the brain. For me, one of the biggest symptoms has been crushing anxiety.

I wasn’t particularly surprised; when you’re in constant pain, can’t work, can’t dress or cook or do your own grocery shopping, you lose your sense of self and the worrying escalates. Will I ever feel ok again? Will I ever do the things I used to do, will I be able to work? How am I going to survive financially?

My worrying became debilitating, full-blown anxiety. A therapist helped me deal with it, and medication took the edge off on many tough days.

Here’s a surprise: I had no idea that that the anxiety I struggled with isn’t just triggered by the stress of this chronic illness, but by actual physiological changes in the brain kicked off by Lyme and co-infections.

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Memory Tip: Pencil It In

It was definitely a bummer seeing all the things crossed out on my  kitchen calendar.

It was definitely a bummer seeing all the things crossed out on my kitchen calendar.

I heard an excellent idea from a former Lyme patient who now makes her living helping others manage all the ins-and-outs of this disease. She suggests ditching pens for pencils when it comes to writing down calendar entries.

Because back when she was ill, she started noting social events and appointments in pencil. That way, she says, if she had to cancel something, she could erase it and move on. She didn’t have the stress of seeing her calendar filled with all the thing she crossed off because of Lyme.

That’s an idea we can all use as we move into 2013. In the past few days alone, I have had to miss the funeral of a friend’s mother, pass on my wonderful brother-in-law’s major birthday celebration four hours away in New Jersey, and cancel a reunion lunch with a dear family friend.

At least when I look at my kitchen calendar now, I’m not reminded of all that, and can look to the next week with a fresh outlook.

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