Saturday, October 16, 2021

Comments by 30yrsundiagnosedLyme

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  • Thank you, Lori, for writing this poignant piece and I can fully attest to the overlap for mental health professionals. I have late stage Lyme, going 30 years undiagnosed. I am beyond lucky I survived and am only at the beginning of my treatments.

    As for this connection of Lyme to mental health, one of my first symptoms at age 12 was crushing anxiety over school work, social interactions, and my mom said I shut down one day, staring off and paralyzed, so worried I had an uncool costume for my birthday party. She said it was like I was possessed for the day–a state of being I have now episodically known throughout my life. I also began to show signs of severe depression, including not being able to see any “way out” as it felt to me. Out of what, only now do I know. I can’t remember a time that death didn’t seem like the ideal option until now.

    I was a well-adjusted and bright child. I set the bar/high scores on standardized tests for years over at school, excelled at sports, was out-going, happy, and had also loved to be on stage, performing all the time all over the city singing and acting (some of my performances are still aired on public access TV). I was a powerhouse. I would coach other kids on how to overcome stage fright, something I had never experienced. I knew I wanted to be a stage actress.

    All of that changed overnight. I lost my passion of acting because I couldn’t do it; I was crushed with stage fright. I couldn’t concentrate on schoolwork or would stare at it paralyzed with anxiety (although I still made good grades without much effort).

    I also, very relevantly, developed trichotillomania and skin picking (BFRB’s) about a year after being infected. Throughout my life, I have done all sorts of therapies from cognitive behavioral, EMT, psychotherapy, to all sorts of pharmaceuticals with no help. I have never stopped pulling. Only with Lyme treatments have I seen a reduction in my trich, amazingly! It’s overwhelming really. I mean, come on. I had a lifetime of insecurity and extreme anxiety about it (and a huge bald spot on the crown of my head) and antibiotics are actually helping??! Makes me want to vomit in my mouth that I was allowed to suffer through that. I’m on month two of not pulling.

    I also have had three diagnoses of PTSD over the years, including complex PTSD; HOWEVER, I now am seeing that trauma is processing differently in me during treatment. It’s softening. I know the trauma of being ill and other life events are real, but I truly am seeing and feeling my “true-self” come out and handle these memories in a well-adjusted manner now that my vector load is being reduced. There is no question. I know my processing is changing with Lyme treatment, thus absolutely tying it to mental health in a professional manner.

    Again Lori, thank you for your words. I cannot wait to read your book, but it may be slow-going since my ability to remember page-to-page, my attention span, and visual issues (words severely flash on a page, double-vision, etc.) keep me creeping along. If it isn’t already, I would suggest your publisher make an audiobook available for Lyme patients like me! (wink, wink)