Living With Lyme Anxiety and How to Stop It
If you have Lyme Disease, you have probably had several people ask you, “Have you tried....?” The suggestions are endless. Dozens of herbal protocols, hundreds of different types of supplements, antibiotics, hyperbaric chambers, infrared saunas, IV cocktails, meditation, paleo diet, zero-sugar, veganism, the carnivore diet...
Wow. I’m tired already, are you? It’s incessant.
I was lucky. Incredibly lucky. Sounds funny coming from someone who has Chronic Lyme Disease, but I’m lucky because I have incredible doctors. I never knew I was infected, and therefore never had a chance to take the antibiotics that could’ve prevented the persistence of this disease in my body. My doctors are a huge part of the reason I stay sane. More on this in a future post.
If you don’t have Lyme Disease, it’s important for you to know that there is no sure-fire way to get rid of it. Some people manage to be cured while others fight the battle forever. Still, others think they’ve beaten the disease only to find themselves with all the same symptoms 5 or 10 years later. It’s possible they were simply bitten again by a Lyme-carrying insect, but it’s also possible that the bacteria were dormant for years and then became active again.
We just don’t know… and that’s the issue for us. Constant uncertainty. You can do ALL the “right” things, and it still may not cure you. Antibiotics, holistic treatments, diets, exercise, etc. At times, it seems like the more you’re doing, the worse your symptoms get. That was my life, last January. A healthy lifestyle does make the symptoms less severe, though. It’s important to remember that. Don’t stop hydrating, eating health, whole sources of food, or moving your body every single day for the sake of your mental and physical health.
We all need to do what we need to do in order to survive mentally and physically. For some people, that means telling themselves every day that they’re fighting Lyme through diet, supplements, and the other treatments listed above.
But for others, like me, that was overwhelming as hell. It wasn’t sustainable, for me.
And I was SO scared that choosing not to invest in all of the above treatments meant these little bugs inside me were going to take over, ruin my body and mind, and leave me lost and alone for the rest of my life. The fear was real.
But luckily, I had tools to help me when these thoughts crept in. I feel blessed that my diagnosis came during a time when I was mentally able to handle the anxieties that comes with Lyme. These tools are teachable and learnable, and if you want to talk more with me about your particular overwhelm, click here for a free consultation. If my stress-management program isn’t right for you, I’ll direct you toward other resources that might be more beneficial.
One of the best skills I learned was how to live in the present moment. Not every single second, as that would be highly counterproductive. We need to evaluate past actions, plan for the future, daydream, and talk through our thoughts. We can’t do any of those things when we’re focusing only on the present moment.
But we don’t have to mentally stay in the future, and that’s the difference.
By focusing on right now, today, or just this week, we remove all the uncertainty that plagues us and manifests as anxiety. When you live in the present, there is no uncertainty. There is only right now. And we need to be more comfortable with the unknown in order to reduce anxiety and live healthier, happier lives.
Plans and goals are wonderful, useful things, but they’re just road maps. They tell us where something is and how to get there, but they don’t tell us if it’s going to rain, if there will be construction, or if a herd of wild animals will block the road at some point. Plans and goals also don’t tell us if we’re going to actually like the end result, or if the end result is actually what we need in our lives.
So I make plans in order to have a guide for where I’m going. I set goals so that I stay mentally and physically active, but I don’t hold onto the goals too tightly. I’m willing to let them go in exchange for new ones at any given moment.
And that’s how I stay sane. That’s how I find life incredibly enjoyable. That’s how I’ve built my social circle larger than it’s ever been, how I’ve managed to stay with the love of my life for 7 years, how I’m able to write blog posts and finish graduate school and be a mental health counselor and health coach.
I have high expectations for myself, as I do for others as well. But the expectations are no longer around what gets achieved. The expectations are that we all keep moving forward, no matter how uncomfortable, no matter how scary, and no matter how uncertain… by staying in the present moment and being willing to make room for unexpected changes.
So now I’ve told you a little about how I deal with my anxiety, and I really want to know what questions came up for you as you read this. “But how?” “That’s impossible.” “What’s the point?” “What about when…”
Comment below, and let me know how I can help you make sense of the overwhelm you’re experiencing. Oh, and if you’re interested in reading about what to look for in a doctor when you’re dealing with Lyme, comment below. I’d be happy to write that post if enough people are interested.