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.