Having fortunately overcome an advanced and serious case of chronic Lyme disease. By no stretch of the imagination or words, I can say that I was so wretchedly ill, that death was close at hand, others using the term “critical,” as I lay bedridden, too weak to dress or shower on my own. Dementia symptoms had set in, palsy tremors and nightmarish anxiety and obsessive thought patterns ran rampant, making me feel honestly, insane. My mind and body were horrifically ravaged. Lyme disease can be so frightening.
We finally got my diagnosis in year five. I was determined to be well and reclaim my life completely. Being half-way well was not going to be satisfactory for me. I lost so much- my career, and income, my social life, my athleticism, my vibrant health, my home and hearth. Being bedridden for over two years, I came to identify that “using” my body – to swim, to dance, to ski, to even just walk was what I missed the most. Having always been physical, outdoorsy, affectionate and actually loving exercise, I detested being “cooped up,” inside my own skin and bones, by this microscopic organism infestation. We knew it would be a long road – three to five years of treatment – to wellness. Patience, fortitude and determination were givens. Fortitude and determination I knew how to embody, patience had never been my forte before. In fact, industrious and impulsive were energies I was familiar with. Now I was being presented with the challenge of being patient with convalescence, yet also not slumping or settling for getting just part-way better.
To outsiders this may sound like nonsense, but to a Lymie, well you know just what I am talking about. It is a delicate balancing act to accept a moderate, slow paced path to recovery and also to not just flag into couch potato, sluggish stasis. It’s that final push, the steepest part of the ascent to the summit, that is often the most grueling phase in a high mountain trek. It is no different with overcoming chronic Lyme disease. After a long, arduous, often muddy course, switchbacks included, holding on and forging to the uninhabited, rock bare summit is a victory!
Most likely this appears as a feat of endurance and stamina. It is at a certain level. Much of the Lyme conquest involves a positive mental mindset and use of willpower. Developing inner strength and patience clearly are helpmates. But, the piece actually of greatest assistance to me during the “final summit” of “Mount Lyme,” involved creating an inner sanctuary within my being. Stilling my overactive mind, letting go of the negative mental Lyme vortex and truly cherishing my own sensitivity was a critical turning point. Like a rope belay over a rocky face, this inner sanctuary is an oasis in the storm of illness, and an essential supportive measure if one wishes to reach the pinnacle of full recovery.
The organism of Lyme disease, the borrelia in particular, is a negative, self destructive, despairing energy. I have lived it fully! I know the mental/emotional state of this illness intimately. There is a very dark, heavy, sorrowful, self-pitying, negative element to the vibration of the bacteria. It erodes the positive neurotransmitters and amino acids of the brain. The nervous system becomes entirely taxed, depleted and sometimes damaged. When our “feel good” hormones and brain chemicals become messed around with, well then we readily slip into fragile, self torturing, obsessive thoughts and feelings. Lyme does this. We can however, deal with the downward spiral.
It is hard at first to lasso the run-away thoughts associated with emotions, such as, the anxiety, sadness, anger, and betrayal we experience, when so wretchedly ill, weak and in pain. Many of us have lost important pieces of our lives and self-confidence from Lyme’s encampment. It is honestly infuriating, traumatic and over whelming to endure the torturous experience of suffering. Yet, as human beings, we are very resilient and possess a powerful conduit of healing energy, all linked to our internal self.
Purposefully setting positive mental images in our mind’s eye is the first step in creating an inner sanctuary. Just as my father guided me in “Out of the Woods; Healing Lyme Disease, Body, Mind & Spirit” into “seeing” myself on a favorite sunny beach, soaking in the sun and sensory associations, I urge you to see yourself in your own happy, comfortable, healthy setting. Really sit with this image; your eyes closed, seeing the colors, sensing the smells and textures. Be there! Allow your physical and emotional self to relish in this positive setting and feelings. In doing so, you are initiating the mind-body healing pathway, and beginning to produce a trickle of hormones and neurochemicals that are the beneficial variety and will in turn stimulate the immune system.
I suggest visiting this lovely place within your mind’s eye, many times in your day, reinforcing a positive trend. By cultivating this inner sanctuary of comfort and beauty, you are accessing your own healing energy and intention to embrace wellness. All forms of illness can benefit from working with our own inner healing powers. The new frontier evaluating the biology of these mind-body skills is called Epigenetic Medicine. Though time honored healing work, scoffed off by medicine for a half century, once again we can skillfully reclaim our own inner powers and integrate the mind-body pathway as a valuable piece for a full life return to well-being.
I have many more healing tools and understandings to share. They were all critical vehicles in helping me to fully recover from advanced Lyme disease. I will continue to bring some of them forth here in my “Journeys in Healing” blog, but the entire spectrum will be available in my next book, “The Lyme Disease Healing Workbook.”
May you be graced with peace and beauty, as you began to create your own inner sanctuary.