Crazy or just the Lyme disease?


It’s likely that I’ve had Chronic Lyme disease most of my adult life. I’ve been misdiagnosed a few times with MS, Parkinson’s, a possible brain tumor, PCOS, Insulin issues, Chronic Fatigue, and more. But the root of what I have was caused by a tiny tick bite that gave me Lyme Disease.

Thankfully I was finally diagnosed.  I have a great doctor who is willing to keep up on my treatment and work with me to be able to live with low symptoms.  But like other long-term diseases, there are days when the disease makes a showing and you have to take a step back from the rest of your day and pay attention to your body and needs.

I can tell when I am starting to flare up, my body just plain hurts, I feel just off, and sometimes it’s like having the flu only without the snot and coughs. Then it’s time to go back on treatment with high doses of antibiotics, rest, and trying to get through the detox that makes me feel worse and even a bit crazy.

I know that I can be forgetful, misplace words and insert new ones, and I am terrible with names and faces. There are sometimes other moments where I just feel like I just am not right. I have to look carefully at my actions and thoughts all the time.  I found an interesting article relating Chronic Lyme to some interesting psychological issues.

“A recent European study shows that psychiatric in-patients are nearly twice as likely as the average population to test positive for Lyme, and the National Institutes of Health are currently sponsoring a major study of neuropsychiatric Lyme disease in an effort to illuminate specific changes in the brain”

How sad that there might have been so many people put into mental hospitals with issues that could have been treated with antibiotics.  But what sort of mental issues?  According to Debra Solomon, MD, a psychiatrist who practices in North Kingston, RI.

“How can a physician tell the difference between true mental illness and symptoms linked to Lyme disease? With Lyme disease, a patient’s psychiatric symptoms don’t quite fit the textbook definition. There is usually no previous history of psychiatric illness. Symptoms often come in cycles. Patients usually do not respond well to psychiatric medication. And they often describe their problems in very physical terms.

Lyme patients often say, “There’s a wall in my brain and I can’t seem to move my thoughts from the back to the front.” “This arises from encephalopathy, an inflammation in the brain that affects cognitive function,” Solomon explains.

Symptoms are said to worsen as the Lyme bacteria grow active and begin to reproduce, which is what I call a flare up. It’s usually when I know to go see my doctor for treatment. But mentally it’s hard to tell what’s just a mood change and what’s a flare up. So how does having Lyme disease affect how I deal with other people? Dr. Virginia Sherr a psychiatrist in PA has this to say:

“My patients come in to talk about their marital problems and are surprised to learn that they are linked to an organic illness,”  Ninety percent of Sherr’s patients test positive for Lyme disease. She then has the job of describing to them just how this condition can affect the mind and the emotions.

Lyme disease can cause increasing irritability and dramatic flares of anger, says Sherr. “Suddenly you hear bone-cutting verbal assaults from people who are usually more measured and benign. They may have been harboring some small grievance for years, then that hot spot comes to life and they spew out all this venom. Such outbursts cause lasting wounds.”

Lyme is a tough disease to have and even tougher to diagnose. There has to be so many people living with this that have just no idea of what’s happening to them and have lost so much due to its effects on them.  From loss of jobs, loss of health, and even the loss of support in their families and friends, these people just see so much hardship without reason.  It’s no wonder that depression is a big problem among Lyme Disease patients.

Robert Bransfield, MD, a psychiatrist in Red Bank, New Jersey even relates the illness to marital problems that can show up in domestic violence cases, child abuse, and how people lash out at other people. “Lyme disease is like an injury of the brain,” says Bransfield. “Patient are less able to think things through, and tend to act impulsively”

People with Lyme disease aren’t crazy. But I think that they do sometimes have a problem with how they react to certain stressful situations. Feeling suicidal is a known issue with Lyme patients and doctors need to be aware if these feelings come up. Even reacting to certain medications, the psychological effects can be multiplied.

During one of my treatments I kept having the feeling like my thoughts were all screwed up. With each dose of my medication I would be overwhelmed with the desire to end it all.  I didn’t want to live anymore, didn’t want my family to have to see me that way, and I darn sure didn’t want to keep taking all of the medications I was under. After a few days I spoke with my doctor who said he wished he’d known I was going through that, because one of the rare side effects of the medication was depression and suicidal thoughts. Now that medication is on my “Do Not Take” list.

Lyme produces a microedema, or swelling in the brain. It changes the way you react, the way you think, and causes blockages of thoughts. But the good news is that there is treatments that do work and doctors who are becoming more and more aware of the disease and options.

So please don’t think there’s no hope if you are living with Chronic Lyme disease.  Talk to your doctor about everything from your aches and pains to your really bad days.

To learn more about Lyme disease and to find a physician in your area, go to the ILADS’ website at Other helpful sources include the Lyme Disease Association ( and the Lyme Disease Network (

Also this blog was written after reading the article The psychological effects of Lyme disease:Can a tick bite drive you crazy?

By Valerie Andrews found here:

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  One thought on “Crazy or just the Lyme disease?

  1. jennifer
    July 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Thank you so much for your insightful comments. My husband has chronic lymes and reading things like this helps me to be patients and compassionate about what he is going through. It also helps me not to take his actions personally. Thanks again…hope you have more good days than bad!


    • July 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      I am so glad I could help! Honestly, the summer is the hardest time for me because of the heat. So I haven’t been feeling like posting. But your response has gotten me out of my funk and given me more of a reason to write. I hope your hubby knows how lucky he is to have a sweet wife like you who cares enough to try to find answers.


      • Christie
        February 27, 2016 at 2:46 pm

        I have a friend who has chronic lymes and I had experienced what most people would refer to as personality disorder. I was going crazy trying to wrap my mind over some inconsistent decision making of hers, contradicting behavior such as saying ine thing and doing another-even paranoid sometimes. My friend is a Dental Hygienist and is what I consider to be intelligent and logical, but when she gets her flare it seems to affect her mood. At one point I thought she was absolutely crazy! Is this normal? Can someone with Lyme’s exhibit traits of mental illness? I assume since Lyme’s affects the entire body, it would have major effects on the brain.

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

          I would say that Lyme can certainly aggravate a mental illness. Lyme has been known to cause depression and anxiety, both can exasperate a mental health issue. I strongly recommend therapy for anyone with Lyme because it is overwhelming and support is needed.


  2. lrek
    October 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I have chronic lymes. It started with chronic insomnia. 20 drs to get diagnosis. I unfortunately take like 5 things to sleep(big mistake…benzos are the worst of the bunch& never get deep sleep. Long story short it’s created horrible marital problems. We have children(always nice too) my wife thinks lymes & benzo withdrawal is an excuse if grumpy.A spouse that is supportive & researches illnesses is a blessing if u have.


    • October 24, 2013 at 10:41 am

      I completely understand what you are saying. There are so many ups and downs with Lyme. You really have no idea what you are going to get until you are right in the middle of it!

      Thankfully I have an incredible husband who understands that some days my skin just hurts and he has to give me some space and other times I feel perfectly fine.

      Really consider taking a good Adrenal Support supplement, it helps with sleep as well as the moods.

      Good luck!


  3. Alex
    April 30, 2014 at 12:32 am

    My mom is suffering from chronic lyme. Every night she cries herself to sleep and says she doesn’t want to be alive anymore. This is really hard for me because I wish I could do something to help but I can’t. She says the doctors don’t help but she is now In a wheel chair, lost most of her friends and doesn’t leave the house. This breaks my heart because I know what she used to be like, social, fun, active, organized and had lots of friends but my younger siblings don’t know the real her. I don’t want them to grow up remembering her like this.. I am a senior girl in highschool and my youngest sister is in 5th grade. Do you have any advice or anything? Please


    • April 30, 2014 at 9:06 am

      I wish I could hug you tight. I am so sorry that you are going through this. She is scared and frustrated, there is a lot to deal with.

      It sounds like your Mom needs to start taking her health into her own hands. I would strongly suggest she goes to see a neuro chiropractor or a holistic doctor and ask them to test her Adrenal system. It sounds like her hormones are way out of wack and most Lyme patients do not take prescription pills well.

      I take a daily does of an Adrenal Support vitamin and one called Sepherous. Both really really helped steady my moods and help with anxiety. I have 4 kids who also had to try to learn how to figure out what was happening with me when I was first diagnosed 12 years ago.

      Lyme can be treated. You can live with it and you can even get better. You need a lyme specialist, you need to experiment to find out what is working and what isn’t. You need to fight for the quality of life that you want for yourself and your family.

      I have chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia as side effects of having Lyme. Some days it is hard to move and other days I am on top of my care and I barely notice.

      You are a wonderful daughter and I know your Mom is thankful to have you.


      • June 12, 2015 at 4:21 pm

        She definitely needs to find a lyme specialist in her area if she isn’t already seeing one. can help. Or google “How to find a lyme specialist”. They can be hard to find…


    • December 15, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      Alex, I know you wrote this back in April but it struck such a chord with me I wanted to try and reach out. I was diagnosed when my son was in 5th grade, he is now in college and it has always been my deepest regret that he couldn’t possibly remember me as me. I obviously didn’t know it but the truth is I have probably had Lyme since before he was born but the more disabled I have become the less active…the less like the person I wish I could be. How lucky your mom is to have you and that you are so compassionate and understanding, how lucky your siblings are too. While my son knows and recognize how much I and our family have been effected by my illness he never really had the opportunity to know that other side. I think he sort of knows this and can imagine but doesn’t have quite the memories you do to hang on too. So really he falls somewhere in between you and your youngest sibling, funny. I imagine it’s a bit like divorce and the different effect’s and perspectives that has on each of the children partly based on their age at the time… I’m not sure where I’m going with this, I don’t have answers but I’m happy to chat any time and it seems to me that perhaps a circle of Children of Lyme patients (or even chronic illness) might be helpful to each of those children… What do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sandy
      January 5, 2016 at 6:24 am

      I was om 25 pills a day just tp survive , recently due to other illness I began taking something called sovereign silver Within less than a week the depression totally lifted. I have many other symptoms And I’m getting better everyday. I am not saying for your mom to just start taking what I am taking But I can give the info to you guys you can contact the company And speak with a doctor And do your research as I did and then decide what to do. Please contact me For more info I would love to share with you to help your mom my heart goes out to her You and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

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    May 10, 2014 at 11:18 pm

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  5. Sue
    June 12, 2014 at 6:53 am

    This was very helpful for me.i was just diagnoses 7 weeks ago with chronic lyme’s … I have had it 20 years and I also have MS ( or so my Neuro says ) I am currently herxing and raising my 2 boys without my husband. He left almost 3 years ago…we had had enough of each other. I am a mess….mostly the pain and psychological that I suffer with. My poor kids is all I can say! This is one horrific disease! I had no clue it could advance to a stage 3 and be lethal. This article helps me understand that I am not alone….Thank You!!


    • June 12, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      What a plate full you have!

      I would say the biggest thing you should take in is this. YOU can control your Lyme, it does NOT control YOU.

      If you were diagnosed with Lyme, I would seriously get a second opinion if you actually have MS. Since Lyme and MS are very similar it is hard to know how to move forward with your treatments.

      Clean thoughts, clean living, and reducing your stress helps to fight Lyme like nothing else.

      You are not alone! ~ C. ~


      • July 15, 2014 at 5:02 pm

        Hi – I just read an article that was so against Lyme disease or CLD and it’s good to know that there are other out there who believe it at least exists. I went through so many very real symptoms and am in recovery now. It’s crazy they think it doesn’t exist. I went from doctor to doctor for years trying to get diagnosed with the “right” mental illness. None of them fit, and after taking medication for different things, I finally said, that’s enough, and stopped it all in order to find out not only what was wrong but what was wrong with my body and health too, which I could tell were affected. I wish you well in your recovery, and thanks for the support.


        • July 15, 2014 at 5:11 pm

          No problem. Thanks for reading!


  6. Faye
    January 6, 2016 at 11:11 am

    This was a great blog. I am a verbally/emotionally abused parent of a lyme victim. I think part of it is the fault of 6 brain infections (2 which are chronic). I have been called ugly names, accused of things I did not think or say, even while financially supporting the person and helping all I could. The problem with the mental issues caused by lyme, the victim having a hard head and not cooperating with parent suggesting or trying to help make critical decisions, but turning on the parent making an impossible situation to get along or to try to help work out problems. It leaves no alternative but to cut off relationships -period. It’s almost a situation where the sick person needs to be declared incompetent and a parent step in to handle business matters, but the sick still has enough function to prevent any such action and continue on their own to be irresponsible, create messes and chaos out of financial and critical matters. When the sick one is an adult but can’t seem to function as one there isn’t much success in attempted efforts to help. It creates more friction and animosity. How can a parent aid and support the sick person when they persist in having everything done their way, whether it’s detrimental to their health or not.
    Who or where can an abused parent get support in this type of situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:31 am

      I am so sorry to hear of your troubles.

      This might not be the help you are looking for, but just my thoughts. You can’t save everyone, not even your own children. At some point we have to let them fly, trust their wings, and let go.

      Abuse in any form is not acceptable. Not physical or mental. You know you are in an abusive relationship, you know that you need to step back. But it is so freaking hard. Your child is an adult, even with Lyme, we know what we need to do. At some point we have to own our disease, seek help, and follow through. Nobody else can do it for us.

      I have been in phases of denial, frustration, and rejection of my disease. I’ve avoided treatment, made excuses for it, and avoided getting help because the treatments are horrible, scary, and make you feel like you are going to die. I’ve screamed at my husband that he both couldn’t understand what I was going through or he hated me and wanted to see me suffer. Neither are true. But my disease was in a place where I either needed to take control of it or die.

      You gave all you could. Now let your bird fly. Either your child will take flight and navigate towards helping themselves or they will hit the ground, and then try to figure out what they are doing. This isn’t your battle.

      You need to seek out support for yourself, therapy for the abuse and for learning how to let go.

      I am so sorry. I wish I was more help.


  7. January 22, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Crysta! Thanks for following my blog.
    I also have chronic Lyme disease, but reading some of these comments made me realise how lucky I am. I have chronic fatigue and a dropped foot, but I’m controlling it at the moment with the help of a great German doctor who I found by chance through my gynecologist who’s a German married to a Greek. (I live in Greece). I’m not taking any antibiotics (I took a lot when first diagnosed) but am on a course of NUTRAMEDIX, which are plants from the Amazonian forest with strong antibacterial properties. Apparently the new research says that most people with Lyme also get coinfections of other bacteria as well as viruses (and for viruses you must not take antibiotics).
    The other thing that’s helped me, which I realise is not for everyone, is horses. I’m a rider, and I continued riding even when I was sick as a dog and could only manage walking slowly for 20′. Horses give you positive energy, and calm, they are better than therapy. It’s what kept me human through the worst of it. Even if you don’t ride, you can do equine guided therapy. Just an idea.
    Anyway, if anyone wants any info I’ll be more than glad to help. My email is
    Good luck with everything. Marina

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 23, 2016 at 9:25 am

      I fully agree. Some seem to suffer much more than others. I have tremors, a dropped foot, liver and heart issues, and a few other fun things. I have a service dog and a great support system. I also only take antibiotics for extreme measures, I get chronic pneumonia. I use turmeric, red light therapy, massage, and became a vegetarian.

      I love the equine therapy idea!

      Thanks for reading. I don’t write too much about Lyme because I don’t like giving it too much power in my life. But I know I have a story to share. So from time to time I try to spend a little time talking about it.


  8. Rachael G
    May 16, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I’m a 35 year old mother, wife, and sufferer of chronic Lyme disease for the past 3 years or more. My symptoms became full blown and cycling 3 years ago after getting chicken pox and then mono. My Lyme was inconclusive but considered by CDC to be negative on multiple occasions. My frustration currently center around the 10th time of being told I need a psychiatrist because no one knows why you just woke up one day with these symptoms. Sooo, I said back “so I use my mind to make my face go completely numb along with the permanent muscle and nerve loss in my left arm and hand? So I use my mind to make physical signs of joint swelling along with peripheral signs you can see?” Needless to say this bozo md did not have anything to reply back with but “it’s not unheard of and if you don’t like what I said then you are in denial.” My last comment to him was, “no, you are in denial of real symptoms and that this exists. I’m not in denial, I’m fighting to survive”
    Why is it that the send off to a psychiatrist is constantly being thrown at chronic Lyme sufferers, majority are women?


    • May 16, 2016 at 10:11 am

      I wish I knew the answer. Sadly, I went to therapist after therapist and the only thing that came out of it was a better understanding of myself, my fears of being sick examined, and the training to trust my instincts.

      Some of us need therapists even after we are diagnosed. It is a helpful tool in our combat to fight Lyme, to know for sure what is mental and what is physical. Many of us have anxiety related to having an illness.

      Hold strong, be your own advocate!

      Good luck my friend!


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