11 Incredible Proven Benefits of Green Tea

11 Incredible Benefits of Green Tea

It's Tea Time again! We have another follow-up post in our Tea Time series.  Today we are talking about Green Tea and how healthy it is for your mind and body. From decreasing your risk for certain types of cancers to helping you lose unhealthy body fat, green tea is a powerhouse.

Rich in vitamins and nutrients, Green Tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. Green tea is fighting diseases, helping people to reduce fat, boosting your liver, and even preventing cancer. These benefits are related to the catechine content that our bodies need to live healthier. Catechines counter toxins in your body by releasing microbes that fight for us.

boulder blues green tea

Made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, tea comes in several different forms like green, white, black or Oolong tea. But Green tea has the most significant track record for improving human lives.

Green tea is made with freshly harvested leaves that are steamed to prevent fermentation. This steaming also destroys the enzymes that change the color of the tea leaves and retains the beautiful green color in your tea.  It also preserves the polyphenol compounds, also called the catechins, that makes this tea so good for you. Catechins are natural antioxidants that prevent cell damage and other fantastic health benefits.

We aren't saying that drinking tea alone will keep all diseases away. Your health is a combination of your lifestyle, genetics, where you live, your stress levels, and what you consume.  Taking time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea is not only great for your health but a boost to our mental health.

Fighting Diseases

You need a healthy immune system to fight diseases and green tea not only boosts your immune system, but it also prevents bacteria and viruses from attaching themselves to the cell walls and infecting them.

Jasmine Pearls are a high-grade tea from China that is hand-picked in the spring only. Then they are scented with fresh jasmine flowers before being shaped into tiny pearls.  It makes a fragrant smooth tea that you can re-infuse multiple times.  What's cool is the little pearls actually unfurl into long dragon-shaped leaves.

Jasmine Pearls Green Tea

Cancer-Fighting

Esophageal cancer is awful. I recently lost a neighbor to this horrific and extremely painful illness. Drinking tea is widely thought to fight this type of cancer without damaging the healthy tissues around it.

Cancer is caused by rapid uncontrolled cell growth.  Green tea has anti-carcinogenic properties that purge the toxins from your body.

Women who drank green tea daily have a 20-30% lower risk of developing breast cancer.

Heart Disease

The lining of the blood vessels around your heart needs to stay relaxed, so they are better able to withstand changes in blood pressure. Green tea not only boosts the health of these blood vessels but may also protect against deadly blood clots that are the primary cause of heart attacks.

Green Tea reduces bad cholesterol that many people over 40 fight and it improves your good cholesterol levels

Fat Buster

Green tea has been shown to boost your metabolism and intensify the levels of fat oxidation.  The means that along with a healthy diet, you can start to burn fat and increase your metabolism. Because this tea has caffeine, it increases energy and mobilizes fatty acids so they become usable by the body.

Diabetes

In addition to lowering your body fat, Green tea helps to regulate your glucose levels so that your blood sugar after you eat doesn't spike your insulin.

Brain Health

Studies in mice have shown that green tea protects brain cells from dying and can even regenerate damaged brain cells. This is exciting news for people concerned about Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Mental Health

Depression is not only terrible for the person suffering but heartbreaking for friends and family. But Green tea is rich in Theanine, an amino acid that sends calming and relaxing messages to the brain.

Arthritis

Green tea contains quercetin, which reduces inflammation and it is an antioxidant.  According to the Iowa Women's Health Study, women were studied who drank 3 or more cups of tea every day; the study showed that women who drank the eat were less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than non-tea drinkers.  But the tea's polyphenols are also proven to reduce inflammation and improve arthritis-related immune responses that are painful and limiting.

Fighting UTI's with Green Tea

Drinking 2-3 cups of green tea every day can prevent and clear up painful Urinary Tract infections because it reduces inflammation in the bladder and urinary tract.  The antibacterial properties also keep the germs away.

Allergy sufferers there is hope!

I have terrible allergies, and I hate having to take medications that I know are damaging to my liver. But green tea is full of flavonoids that suppress allergy reactions and reduce swelling in the sinuses.

Still feeling yucky?  Try making a compress of tea to calm the puffiness and reduce the swelling around the eyes.

Beautiful skin

Drinking more tea leads to my hydrated skin and a healthy glow. Tea boosts your skin's natural ability to fight off sun damage and issues related to pollution. Still need a pick-me-up?  Try applying cool tea bags to your skin and feeling the healing soak in.  Acne and inflammation wash away!

Love these tips? Share one of your own in the comments.  And we would love if you would share this post with your followers!

 

5 Astonishing Facts About White Tea

Making time for tea is not only improving our mindfulness and relationships, but it is also working to bring our bodies into a better state of health. White tea has so many excellent health benefits that it's our first focus tea in our Tea Time series.

What is White Tea?

The least oxidized of all tea types, White tea comes from the same Camellia Sinensis plant, but white tea has more medicinal elements than black tea.

One of the freshest teas,  White tea is a potent anti-oxidant and anti-microbial super tea.

White tea is rare and a bit more expensive than the more common black teas. That is because it is picked from immature tea leaves, chosen before the buds have opened. White tea gets the name from the fine white hairs still layered on the leaves.

It is the least processed of the teas, so it keeps more of its medicinal properties.

The taste is lighter and slightly sweet.  It also has less caffeine than black or green teas. So if you are cutting out caffeine, this is an excellent tea for you.

Watching your weight? White tea may help to boost your metabolism and help you to burn calories.

The Flu Fighter!

White tea is the best tea to fight the flu and to prevent it. Antioxidants that are rich in white tea strengthen the immune system and guards the body against the common cold and flu.

Antioxidants protect your body's cells from damage caused by free radicals that cause damage like chronic inflammation, weak immune systems, and toxin buildups.

Heart Healthy

Studies all over the world have shown that white tea can thin the blood and help to improve and relax the blood vessels.  White tea has healthy catechins that reduce cholesterol. It also increases the good cholesterol and works to prevent hardening of the arteries that block blood flow.

Green tea also inhibits the increase in blood pressure.

If you are working hard to improve your heart health like I am, White tea should be part of your health routine. Researchers have found that people who drink 2 or more cups of tea a day are almost 50% less likely to die of cardiac arrest. And drinking 3 or more cups of tea a day lowers your risk of heart disease.

Healthy Mouth?

White tea has trace amounts of natural fluoride that helps to keep the teeth healthy. And it kills the harmful bacteria in your mouth that leads to tooth decay.

Fluoride, catechins, and natural tannins can strengthen the teas by fighting sugar and plague, making them more resistant to acid attacks by bacteria that cause cavities and plaque buildup.

Firefly Special Offer: Get Free Shipping on Orders Over $50 From The Tea Spot

Better skin

Did you know that applied topically, white tea can improve your skin and fight acne? The powerful anti-oxidants and anti-bacterial agents in white tea work to clear your skin by purging the toxins that build up in the skin and the bacteria hiding in your pores.

By reducing free radicals and fighting sun damage, tea clears your skin and keeps it looking younger.  It is widely used in beauty and cosmetic products.

Natural Glow White Tea

Double the benefits: you can brew a cup of tea, like Natural Glow, which has organic osmanthus flowers, and tastes great and once you are done seeping your tea, gently wipe the tea sachel over your clean face.  The sweet fragrant tea boosts your skin, and you also have a powerful tea to sip and boost your insides!

Healthy Brains & Reducing Anxiety

The amino acid L-theanine in white tea calms the brain and helps you to relax.  It also alters the attention networks in your brain so you can keep focused better.

We love Meditative Mind to calm anxiety and for our mindfulness practice.

white tea health benefits

Polyphenol EGCG, found in tea may reduce your risks of developing Alzheimer's disease. Reducing inflammation in the brain and preventing proteins from clumping together that damage the nerves in the brain, white tea improves brain health.

There are also studies that link drinking tea daily reduced your risk of getting Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.

Tea Time for health

Taking time to think about how you are mentally and physically working to improve your heath is the most loving thing you can do for yourself and those you love. Make this special time part of your life routine and see how much better you feel.

What's your favorite tea?

Not anymore – Stoping Domestic Abuse


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When the attacks start you try to tell yourself lies, something to make it feel better. ” They are only words, I know it's not true.” But you hate yourself for taking it, wish you could say something that would make the words stop.  There's nothing you can say, everything you try just makes it worse. If you fight back, it just gets uglier. Sadly, you can't walk away because the rage will follow behind you and mock you for trying to get away. You can't scream back, things will escalate and it will get violent.

You should be used to it, right? I mean it's always been like this. Tomorrow it will be different and everything can go back to nice if you can just behave now. He/She loves me and I am all he/she has.

” I hate the way I look.  I am such a fat ass. ” Now we start telling ourselves these lies, these stones of hate that were thrown at us by careless mouths. ” Nobody will ever want me, I am lazy and stupid.” That was the goal all along, and now we feed the hurt and pain by starting to agree with it.

Maybe I was an “ungrateful heartless bitch” but you know what? I am not EVER EVER going to be abused again.

Lie all you want and say it didn't happen. It did.  Everyone knows.  Someone told me recently that I had a secret that everyone knew, and they were all here for me. I felt sick, afraid that everyone saw right through my veil. I wanted to run or to lie.  Instead, I smiled my “It's okay” smile and made a joke. Jokes are funny, not like my secret.

Sticks and Stones hurt my bones, but your words won't hurt me anymore, I'm numb from all of the scars. I am all grown up and I still cry like a little baby. Sometimes I just want it all to end. That scares me more than the nightmares and PTSD.

Abuse Facts:

  • Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy. 5
  • Abused teens are less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs. 5
  • 14% of all men in prison in the USA were abused as children. 7
  • 36% of all women in prison were abused as children. 7
  • Children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit a violent crime. 5
  • Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. 5
  • About 80% of 21-year-olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder. 5
  • The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2008 is $124 billion. 6

LINKS

  • Recovery Village – an organization dedicated to helping those struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Domestic violence and substance abuse are often intimately linked and occur simultaneously. In fact, According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, substance abuse is involved in approximately half of all intimate partner violence.
  •  The Gift From Within – This group is dedicated to helping people who have been wounded by others and who are seeking recovery, especially from post-traumatic stress. At least 20,000,000 Americans have experienced some form of PTSD. Gift From Within was founded to help provide this support.
  • AARDVARC is An Abuse, Rape    & Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection. This site is for victims of violence, their families and friends and the agencies and programs which serve them, both public and private. Issues addressed here currently include: domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    http://www.ndvh.org/
  • The Family Violence Prevention Fund
    http://www.fvpf.org/
  • W. V. Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    http://www.wvcadv.org/
  • The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
    http://www.ncadv.org/

 

Mindful Monday:Being Uncomfortable

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It's bitter cold. I just moved back to an old place and I'm trying to find my place. Today, I am anxious about building a new house. And I have this stupid heart monitor that I have to wear for the next 25 days. This is uncomfortable!!!

Life is made up of millions of moments. Each day we are filled with so many opportunities to have both good and bad days.  But often it is heavy sided depending on where your mind is directing these moments. Life without contrast is bland. You can not appreciate the light without the dark,  you can't appreciate being warm and cozy without knowing cold and uncomfortable. Mindfulness allows you to examine the contrasts.

Rainbows

When you take time to to practice being mindful, you are not looking for the rainbows.  You are looking at the whole, seeing the world right now, pondering the existance, and moving on.  So yes, it might be raining, your skin damp now begins to chill, your breathing increases and you see the skies have a change in color and there is the rainbow. So many things exist.

Being mindful isn't about just feeling good.  It is about seeing things in life differently, including being uncomfortable.

Practice even when it's hard

When you become stronger in your mindful practice you will see that you are able experience things in a more connected way. Even when you are angry, sad,  experincing anxiety, you have an opportunity to push deeper into mindfulness.

We all like being comfortable. We don't want to exerience hard or frustrating moments because we want to be happy and comfortable all the time. Most of us dream of being wealthier, healthier, and smarter.  So we work harder, take care of our bodies and go to frustrating doctor appointments ( and wear stupid heart monitors ) and study things that we don't understand.  We do things that are sometimes hard and frustrating so that we can appreciate the contrast of being better.

It is so important to take time to take notice of what makes you uncomfortable.  This is how you identify and learn how to adapt and resolve these uncomfortable situations.

Your Mindfulness Homework

Today take time to pause and notice when you are uncomfortable. How do you feel, what does your body like and dislike? When you let your mind drift through your meditation today, did it linger on something that made you feel uncomfortable? It's okay, you don't have to judge yourself for those thoughts, but address them and move on.

Poet Neil Hilborn “OCD”

Love and pain, beautiful and heartbreaking. Truth. These are dancing words.

Poet Neil Hilborn shared his emotional dance with the world. Now around the world people are nodding their heads with tears and cheers for his piece about living and loving with OCD. Neil Hilborn performed ‘OCD' in June during the individual finals at the 2013 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam.

I haven't been a fan of poetry, but this piece makes me want more.  I want to know what happened! I want to know if she comes back, if he finds someone better.  I laughed and nodded as I thought of those I know with OCD and sighed as I understood the frustration of having to wait as the one you love has to go back to the parking garage to the car parked at the top after you have gotten to the bottom to make sure it is locked.. again. Today I loved a little more and danced with words with this amazing man's song.

Hilborn explains that the poem was written in 2011. The tics in the performance are intentional, he says, “but they are also .. actual tics. Sometimes in performance they become real.”

If you want to see more of his work, Like him on Facebook like I did.

Want to learn more about OCD? Check outDopa.  Most of the largest sites on the Internet aren’t accessibility compliant.  51 million Americans have visual, cognitive and other challenges that make it difficult or impossible to access websites you and I take for granted every day.  Websites can't be accessibility compliant without sacrificing design, interactivity and general user experience for visitors without disabilities (paying 50% more for designers and coders might help but would still fall short).  Think of Dopa as the alternative to Wikipedia for important topics related to psychological and learning disabilities.

5 Essential Oils That Fight Anxiety

 

affiliate links included in this postfive essential oils for anxiety

Have you ever walked into a florist and instantly felt happier? Perhaps you find the soothing scent of lavender the best way to lift your mood? What if you could sniff an essential oil and fight off anxiety or block a panic attack? Do you know what essenital oils to use for anxiety?

People have been using essential oils for hundreds of years around the world. The oils of plants, flowers, leaves, and even the bark of trees has been used to heal the body from head to toe. Now science and aromatherapists are using essential oils to fight anxiety.

 Science is proving that aromatherapy and essential oils can help you take back your life from anxiety.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender is one of the most common of essential oils because it is calming and has a soothing scent. However, it also has the ability to work with the nervous system to reduce general nervous tension and panic attacks.

There have been clinical trials on the use of lavender to reduce stress and anxiety. One study used lavender in capsules to induce anxiolytic effects (An anxiolytic is a medication or other intervention that inhibits anxiety).

Use: Simply smelling lavender oil is effective.  You can also apply it topically with just a few drops to the skin.

lavender essential oils for anxiety

Rose (Rosa damascena)

Rose oil is calming. It has been used to help people in shock and grief.  Rose oil comes from the petals, and retain the beautiful floral scent that promotes relaxation. Rose oils have been used for women in labor as well as beneficial for people suffering from depression.

Just a few drops on the skin help promote a sense of peace of mind.

Use: You can merely smell rose essential oil, by dabbing it in the palms of your hand with one or two drops. It can also be applied one drop behind each ear. You can also use an oil diffuser.  2-4 drops in the diffuser will make your room a calming place.

rose essential oils for anxietyYlang Ylang (Cananga odorata)

 Ylang ylang helps with cheerfulness, courage, optimism and soothes anxiety because of its uplifting scent. One of the more unusual traits is that it may calm heart palpitations and slow your heart rate because it is a moderately strong sedative.  For that middle of the night anxiety, this is the one to turn to. But I would suggest taking it easy during the day as it may make you sleepy.

Buddha Groove

People with low blood pressure should avoid using ylang ylang. Used topically, you might see a reduction in inflammation and diminish the appearance of scars.  Delightfully, Ylang ylang can also enhance libido.

Geochang Provincial College in Korea conducted a study using ylang ylang oil once a day for four weeks  and showed that it reduced “psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension.”

Use: You must use a carrier oil – almond or olive oil work nicely. Ylang ylang can be irritating to the skin without it.

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

If you have ever reached for a cup of Earl Gray tea and found that it is the perfect calming tea, then you have tasted the effects of Bergamot.

Medically, Bergamot essential oil is an anti-bacterial agent. It is often used in making soaps because it effectively kills off harmful bacteria.

essential oils help anxiety

Bergamot oil can treat anxiety and depression because it induces relaxation by reducing corticosterone levels.The mix of lavender and bergamot can reduce blood pressure and pulse rates as it produces a calming feeling. However, when used topically, you might see an increased risk of sunburn.

Use: For anxiety inhale directly from a diffuser or breathe in the scent slowly from the bottle. You can also apply several drops to the upper abdomen. 

Never ingest any essential oils ,read the directions carefully and skin test the area,  proceeding with caution as they may react differently to different individuals, especially children and pregnant women.

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri or boswella sacra)

Frankincense is one of the oldest essential oils and has been known to treat anxiety and nervousness. This is why it has been associated with meditation and spiritual grounding. It has a soothing scent that promotes tranquil energy.

When used medicinally, frankincense is a powerful antiseptic. It can be allied on wounds without side effects to prevent infections.

For anxiety use, Frankincense may make you feel more introspective. Lowering anxiety and anger, it can be especially useful. A study in the Journal of Men’s Health suggests using Frankincense during stressful times.

Use:  add 3-4 drops of frankincense oil to a diffuser and take five deep breaths. This will open your breathing passages and reduce blood pressure.

Pure Essential Frankincense Oilfrankincense oil for anxiety

Do you use aromatherapy?  Tell us your favorite blend and how you use it!


Want to surprise someone with a special gift?  Check out this lavender wrap. 



Purple Paisley Aromatherapy Lavender Collection, USA

from: Buddha Groove

Healthy Ways Of Coping With Grief During The Holidays

affiliate links included in this postCope With Grief

The news for the last month has been heartbreaking. From the mass shootings taking the lives of innocent people completely unaware that their lives were in jeopardy, the terrible deadly wildfires in California, and so much more, I feel like we are all in a state of grief this year as we approach the holidays.

So how do we move on? How are we supposed to celebrate and be happy, when we also feel so sad?  If you have lost someone, or like myself, reminded of your grief because of all that has been happening. We have some tips that I truly hope will give you some comfort and help you get through.

Healthy Ways Of Coping With Grief During The Holidays

Grief can be one of the toughest emotions to handle. When grieving, you may experience a range of emotions, from anger to sadness and from depression to numbness. You may not know where to turn or what you should be doing.

There are many reasons why you may be grieving. It may feel like nothing is going to help. Unfortunately, some people who are grieving may start binge drinking during the holidays. If you have tried using alcohol as a coping mechanism, you probably know that it doesn’t work. In fact, it only makes things worse. But, there are healthy ways of coping with grief during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year.

Acknowledge That Things Are Tough

One of the healthiest ways to cope with grief during the holidays is to acknowledge what's happening. Recognize that there is a lot going on around the holidays. You may realize that you are having a tough time grieving and with the busy times around the holidays, things may become even more difficult.

The sooner you can acknowledge this, the sooner you can quit fighting your feelings It's okay to have a rough time with grieving. It's normal. On the other hand, if you don’t acknowledge that the holidays may be tough for you, you may end up doing something you regret, because you aren’t handling grief very well.

your choice. your pupjoy.

 

Let Go of Some Traditions

If you are like other people, you may celebrate many traditions surrounding the holidays. These traditions may include going Black Friday shopping, hanging out with friends, hosting holiday parties, and other traditions.

If you are dealing with grief and are struggling to maintain several traditions, you can easily become overwhelmed. It may be time to end one or more of these traditions, at least temporarily. While doing so may be tough, it can help you take the time you need to grieve. You could even replace a tradition with one that honors the loved one you have lost.

Make Plans and Stick to Them

Another way to cope with grief around the holidays is to make plans and stick to them. If you are facing the holidays without any plans or organization, the stress of your uncertain plans can add to your grief and emotional distress.

You may feel like you can’t find stability and everything seems chaotic. To remedy this, try planning your schedule and organizing your life. Such organization can help you prevent feelings of panic during the holidays. A schedule can help you to create a balance between the time you spend with others and the time you take for yourself, giving you time to grieve and address other emotional needs.

Make Honesty Your Best Friend Not Grief

If you are dealing with grief, especially around the holidays, make sure you are honest with everyone. There may be some people who ask you to go out. Some people may want you to be just as busy as they are. However, if you can’t deal with the activity, just be honest with them.

Let people know that you need time to grieve and that you need some downtime. If they don’t understand, that isn’t your problem. You must take care of yourself and cope in ways that are healthy for you. Others don’t get to decide how you do that. You don’t have to be rude, but honesty can help others understand what you are experiencing.

Remember That Not Everyone Grieves the Same Way

If you let your family members know what you need around the holidays, don’t expect them to handle things the same way. Maybe everyone in your family is grieving. Even if you need to end traditions or schedule more alone time, that doesn’t mean everyone else will. Be understanding of everyone’s own personal choices and grieving processes.

The holidays can be tough on anyone who is grieving, especially if it is the anniversary of a loved one’s death. The busy times around the holidays can create stress and that can cause the grieving process to be even more difficult. There are healthy ways you can learn to cope with grief around the holidays.

Adopting the above tips can help you with the grieving process. If you don’t find healthy ways to grieve, you may end up spiraling. That won’t be good for you or anyone in your life. Remember, everyone grieves in their own ways. Finding the best and healthiest ways to grieve around the holidays and throughout the rest of the year will ultimately help you live a healthier, happier life.


BIO:  Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Email:  baileypatrick780@gmail.com

Website:patrickbaileys.com

Twitter: twitter.com/Pat_Bailey80

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-bailey-writer

Google+: https://plus.google.com/112748498348796236865

Perhaps today will snow

I knew something was different that day.  I wasn’t sure what it was, perhaps the weather was about to change again, perhaps there would be snow. Yes, that would be a welcome change from this hot and sticky air. All day I went to the window and looked out and waited for the dark skies to come and bring the fantastic feathers of cold down and soon the green sticky grass would be covered in heavenly frozen snow.  I would certainly prefer this to the uncertainty of the day, even napping didn’t seem to make any difference.  Something wasn’t right.

When I looked at my Mother she seemed far away in her eyes. She looked as if she too knew something was in the air and kept moving from place to place. When I came to sit next to her, her hands would softly stroke down my neck and she would look at me.  I wonder now if I should have tried harder to distract her from the things she was doing.  But everything seemed to frustrate her and it was usually better to give her some space when she was like this.  I wouldn’t be far, close if she needed.

Bedtime came early and I was thankful that we would end this day and start a new one that must be better, perhaps when we woke the snow would have come and we would spend the day exploring and playing. My brother doesn’t like the snow as much as I. Though he will venture out for a bit if I ask and wait for him to get ready, I know he doesn’t enjoy it.  I curled up in my bed and sleep came quickly.  I barely noticed when the phone rang and my Mother’s voice broke the quiet of the night.

Her voice was quiet at first, but it changed. Fear ran down my spine as I got up and went to her.  I reached out to calm her and understand what was going on. At first, she was only talking quietly and calm, then it was as her emotions burst and everything came pouring out all at once. I was so confused and looked at my Father who was up and at her side trying to calm her.  She was so upset and I worried she couldn’t catch her breath.

That night I stayed with her and did all I could to keep the tears away. But they came in waves just like at the sea, some soft and quiet and others harsh and washing up over us both. When the morning light came I hoped that at least she would be comforted by the cold soothing air and beauty of the sparkling snowy morning.  I went to the window and looked out, excited still for that moment I loved the most when I would see the yard covered in newness and waiting to be explored.

I sat down and looked out, the snow had not come.  There was nothing out there but the same as it had been every day for so long. Still, I would go out and take some time for myself to try getting a fresh thought about what to do next. The answers were always easier when I could just get outside and think.

After a bit, I came back in and found my Mother and Father were getting themselves ready to leave.  She was still upset and said she needed to go for a bit.  I knew she didn’t want to leave and I wanted to go with her.  I didn’t, I had to stay with the others and wait for them to tell us what we could do to help.

I didn't mention to her that she'd forgotten to give me my breakfast. I'd have to go discover what I'd have on my own.  Perhaps leftovers, I didn't care for leftovers. But today wasn't about me.

When they returned I let my Mother know that I would be there for her, whatever she needed I wanted to help… I needed to help.  She seemed so sad as she explained that she had lost someone close to her and she was so upset at this. I tried to help take away her pain, make her see that not everyone in the world was gone.  I kissed her tears, curled around her and waited out the storm.  Each day was different.  Some days I thought that she was better; she smiled more and looked as if she had finished with her tears. Then I would find her sitting alone and again she looked so lost and cold.

One day she surprised me with an adventure just for us. We went out into the woods and explored the running creek and watched for a long time as the tiny fish swam so wild and free. They were beautiful as they swished through the clear water and I wished I were down there swimming with them. I stayed close to my Mother however, she seemed happier than I had seen her in a few days.  She was telling me about when she was a kid and the life she had before I came into it. I loved the sound of her voice and listened to each word carefully.  Even when I wanted to keep exploring, I was still listening.  She cried a little and I realized that it was ok for this to happen because it didn’t feel so terrible anymore… it was just as if she needed to wash away the sadness.

The days are starting to feel more like they were before.  I’m still watching her to see if she needs anything and now she smiles back at me and tells me I am doing a great job.  A great job…  I wasn’t sure that was ever going to be true. I knew coming into this family that I was going to have a lot to prove before I was going to be doing a “great job” and even more I was sure my Mother wasn’t going to be as sure about trusting me with her secrets as she did the one who crossed over before I came Home.

Wyn-sleep I couldn’t believe it when she told me that I had actually made her feel better and I felt my whole body laugh with delight.  I wanted to lick her face, show her that was all I ever wanted.  But we don’t do that… that is for puppies and the uncivilized breeds… or my brother who does it just because it makes people scream.

Today I’ve let her put her things away and given her some space.  She doesn’t seem to need me as close as she did last week.  I am still waiting for her to reach out her hand. I’ll be there to comfort her.  Little by little I know I am teaching her that she is strong and everything will be ok. She is a good mother and I am her “Best Girl” and when she needs me she sits on the floor and holds my head against hers… and I never want to move from that place.  I know now that not every day can be what you wished for, some days are better.  I look out the window and sigh a heavy sigh as my eyes close and I think…

The snow will come, just not today.

( These are the actual photos taken from that day. Wynter was not only my best friend, my Good Girl, but my lifesaver as I wandered through the worst grief I have ever had.  She continues to be my best friend and since that day we have grown closer and more in sync with each other. Wynter continued her training, went into serious task work, and went on to become my service dog for my late stage Lyme Disease. She is my lifesaver in so many ways.  And I am blessed to have her in my life. – Crysta )

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First Written September 2012

The Lyme Monsters vs Who I am

When I was younger, before I was diagnosed with Lyme disease I was losing a battle with the Lyme Monster in a war I had no idea I was fighting.  Lyme is evil, there is no other word for it but evil. Because it's not just a disease of one area, you never know what's actually happening to you or why.

Crazy or Infected?

When I was in my 20's, I was losing the battle. Lyme comes with a range of psychiatric reactions because of the toxins that affect your brain. Some people experience mental issues including paranoia, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, major depression, anorexia nervosa, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are common with Lyme disease.

My issue was a short temper because I was always exhausted.

Studies have 26% to 66% of Chronic Lyme patients suffering from depression. Suicide is the leading cause of death in Lyme Disease patients.

Life and Lyme weren't easy

As my body grew weaker with the disease, my heart and soul did as well. When I was going through a tough time in my personal life, trying to be a single mother and grow up at the same time. I didn't have any friends to turn to, and I felt like there were times I really just wanted to give up and sleep forever.

I look back now and just want to hug 23-year-old Me and tell her what was wrong and how someday soon it would get better, and she would have answers.

Attacking my Adrenal System

One of the favorite attacks the Lyme Monster used against me was attacking my adrenal system and hormones. Not only was I having a hard time moving around, remembering things, keeping my emotions in check, and staying awake. But my body began to put on weight as well.

My self-esteem just took a massive blow. After the birth of my third child, I watched in horror as weight gathered in places and refused to budge no matter how much I watched my diet and tried to work out.

The pain of working my muscles at the gym would last for days and ache deep and hot. Exhaustion after going to the gym was mind-numbing, and all I wanted was to sleep, so I didn't hurt anymore.  And like anyone else, after putting myself through so much pain daily and feeling so run down, I pulled away from the gym too.

Emotional war

Lyme is a sick bastard, it tears at your self-esteem, your personality, and your body. I had to learn how to fight on a different level, I am always fighting it. It is emotional and you have to take control of them.  I know that when I give in, even for a day, I will feel worse for much longer.

I know I am not alone in my fight against Lyme. Robert C. Bransfield, MD found in his study of Lyme disease that depression is the most common psychiatric syndrome associated with late-stage Lyme dis­ease like I have. Although depression is common with any chronic illness, it is more preva­lent with Lyme patients. There appear to be multiple causes, including a num­ber of psychological and physical fac­tors.

From a psychological standpoint, many Lyme patients are psychologically overwhelmed by the large multitude of symptoms associated with this disease. Most medical conditions primarily affect only one part of the body or only one organ system. As a result, patients singularly afflicted can do activities which allow them to take a vacation from their dis­ease. In contrast, multi-system diseases such as Lyme, depression, chronic Lyme disease can penetrate into multiple as­pects of a person’s life. It is difficult to escape for periodic recovery. In many cases, this results in a vi­cious cycle of disappointment, grief; chronic stress, and demoralization.

It should be noted that depression is not only caused by psychological factors. Physical dysfunction can directly cause depression. Endo­crine disorders such as hypothyroidism, which causes depression, are sometimes associated with Lyme disease and further strengthen the link be­tween Lyme disease and depression.

Suicide is the weapon that Lyme uses to finish us off. Sadly suicidal tendencies occur in approxi­mately 1/3 of Lyme encephalopathy patients. Few of us are ever free of the thought of helping out the disease and sleeping forever.

Herxing

The Jarish-Herxheimer reaction is hell. It's a hell we will go through for the rest of our lives. When in treatment, the Lyme fights back, and it wants you to think you are dying and even worse.. it wants you to help it take you down. 

Some patients have described becoming suddenly aggressive without warning. For me, antibiotic doses have to be increased very gradually or else suicidal thoughts and depression swim in my head continuously.

I've felt as if the antibiotics were actually killing me with each dose and would beg my husband not to make me take another dose. In reality I was having an adverse reaction to the meds and should have been taken off it immediately. When I told my doctor about the thoughts, he said it was rare but dangerously real.

Lyme doesn't have to win

But please, don't think that Lyme will always win.  Medications are out there to help with this part of your disease as they helped with mine. After suffering from terrible tremors and body vibrations, my doctor suggested a low dose of Sertraline  for a few weeks to help settle the nerves in my body and keep my system from going into a hormonal panic attack. It worked to settle things down. 

 
Waxing Poetic Celebrate the Journey Necklace

Now I have a low dose of CBD oil that I take nightly for the tremors and pain that I also can take when the anxiety kicks up a bit. I don’t do well on pharmaceuticals because of a bad liver. But the cannabis doesn’t affect my liver function and settles my nerves easier.

Lyme doesn't have to win.   I am not going to let it take me down, nor help it win because I know to ask for help. You have to keep that in your head.

I am not my disease!

I am not my Lyme.  It only has the power that you give to it. I am a beautiful, strong artistic woman who loves her children and husband dearly, enough to keep fighting through the pain.

Please, if you have these thoughts and need someone to talk to.  I am here, and there are others who are waiting to help you too.

 

 

Why I took a blogging break

I’ve been taking a blog break. It was all about me; I needed to slow down and put some things in perspective. I struggle with writing when my head is clouded with emotions. As a writer, most of what I put into my blog is somehow connected to who I am personally. From food cravings to holidays, I write about what I know. And what I knew was that I needed a break.

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2017 sucked!

This year has been a tough one. I was faced with lessons that I thought I’d mastered, but when tested, I failed over and over. I've cried ugly tears and spent too much time thinking tornmented thoughts.

I’m tired. This year just made me feel like I kept tripping over obstacles one at a time.
I started off this year with so much hope and excitement. I was ready for a fresh start and hopeful about the future of not only my blog but my side business ( my embroidery shop), and now I sit here looking at the last few weeks of my blog and the closure of my shop after 5 years, and I’m frustrated.

Treat each other with kindness, asshole!

One of the biggest lessons I faced this year was about how people choose to treat each other.

No, I am no saint. I don’t beat around the bush, and I don’t do well with small talk. I like to get right to the point. Sometimes things just are black and white to me, when maybe they could have been other shades.  Maybe I am just tired of shallow conversations and tip toeing around real conversations. Maybe I am just surrounded by people afraid to be real and aching for depth.

But without question, I will do everything I can to be a good friend. This year I learned what it felt like to have someone you trusted twist your words around and make fun of your weaknesses. Even when I refused to fight back the waves just kept coming. I learned not to trust a friendly face, wolves hide in pretty faces and fake laughter.

I forgive you for being a bitch. But go away!

I also learned that not everyone is supposed to be in your life for a lifetime, sometimes they are just there to lead you to the next step.

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I met someone I thought was going to be a good friend, someone I could relax around and be myself. However what I couldn’t see was that everything I thought was just fake and when it came down to actually being a real friend, this person couldn’t handle it. And I was left standing there doubting everything I once knew about friendships.

Hey, remember me?

Here’s the thing though, as much as this year taught me about the lifetime of friends. It also renewed old friendships and healed over some rough edges. I needed to take a blogging break when I realized that everything I wanted to write about was about pain and depression.

Depression and Anxiety, the two friends you wish would hook up and move far far away.

Like many people, I struggle with anxiety and depression. It’s something that has run in my family for generations. I lost an uncle to suicide after years of fighting his depression and multiple suicide attempts from other family members through the years. So when I saw that I was grieving and deeply sad, I needed to switch lanes and do something different.

Things had to change, and I needed a break.

I took a new job, something different than I’d ever done before. I accepted a role as a social media manager/ communications director. It’s hard, it’s frustrating. And I love it.
But it also gave me something different to call my own, and I’m learning how to accept it.
For so many years I struggled with an identity label.

From teacher, housewife, Nanny, Embroidery Artist, Writer, Blogger, to “retired.” I have struggled with my introduction. Hi, I’m Crysta, and I am a… was always difficult. But Social Media Director actually works for me, and I enjoy the job.

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So the new job has kept me busy. Taking some time to slow down and try to wrap my thoughts up in a pretty bow has been good.

To be honest, I’m still struggling a little. The holidays are always hard for me. From thinking about the people that I’ve lost this time of year and miss so much to the holiday rush. I always fight to stay above water.

What I’m doing to fight depression

Here in Seattle, the days are shorter, the darkness lasts longer, and the cold and rain has settled in for the winter. The dark season is here. It's cold and dreary, fighting sad thoughts is hard.  More B12 is needed and I've upped my Vit. D too.  It's a constant effort, but well worth it.


I’ve pulled out my daylight lights, helpful for those of you like myself who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’m making more coffeetime chats out of the house with friends for quick catch-ups. And I’ve made a new playlist of music that gets me up and moving.
There’s no secret to fighting depression or shitty days; you just have to commit to keep fighting through it.

Sometimes you just need to take a break and try something new.

So I’m back to writing. I have some new ideas for 2018, and I’ll keep on exploring and bringing you my adventures of traveling with Lyme disease.

Thanks for sticking with me,
Crysta

So long guilt!

I had a very complicated relationship with family growing up. Guilt was a weapon used for everything from eating your peas to hugging people who made me feel uncomfortable.

I worked hard.  Made good choices. And did everything I could to better myself and it paid off. But guilt was still there. It is one of those weapons that lingers over and over in the back of your mind.150650_411032448975699_639079066_n I felt guilty and unworthy of the life I had been living.

I felt like I shouldn’t spend money on myself or my family because of the shame I felt because others weren’t doing as well.

Every time I bought a new sweater, went on vacation, or any other time that normally you should be excited and happy to share with friends and family. In my head I could hear the nasty comments “Oh yeah, she can buy a new TV but she can’t be bothered with helping out the homeless!”
Even when I was doing something for others I would feel the chill of jealous eyes watching and judging me. “Sure she can do for everyone else, but when it comes to us we aren’t good enough!”

And it wasn't just self talk. I actually had real humans think it was alright to troll me both online and in real life. It was ridiculous.  It took me a long time to let go of toxic people out of my life.

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After a while I just broke.  I wanted to scream “No more! I am sorry you haven’t done anything with your life and now you sit there with your begging hands out looking for attention and breadcrumbs. That isn’t my fault!  You want to be angry about YOUR past, go for it. I'm not responsible for your baggage.”

It took me a while before I could say out loud that I am done feeling guilty.  It's hard, really hard to face the fact that some people want to see you miserable because they are so childish and awful. But even harder to accept that just because you once loved them, you have to let them go because you deserve to be happy.

I work hard, I give to charity and spend my time working with those charities to help them and my community. I talk to strangers and listen when they speak. I don’t treat other people poorly and in return they are kind back. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If you chose to walk down the wrong path even though everyone else tried to tell you not to go that way, that’s not my fault.  Good luck with that.

So good-bye Guilt, you no longer have a room in my house. And I don't miss you!

Love, Crysta - Dancing With Fireflies

Nudwear Lingerie

Crazy or Just The Lyme Disease

Abstract-Reflections

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.

I lived my whole life tired, in pain, and knowing something wasn't right. I worried night and day, I counted heartbeats and planned my funeral. Nobody, even my doctors believed me. I was encouraged to seek psychiatric therapy because my body was telling my brain something that medical doctors couldn't see.

It started with a tick.

After 15 years of struggle and fear, by accident, the answer was Lyme Disease.

I think sometimes that I had to wait for science to catch up to my disease or maybe I had to learn how to forgive my body for not living up to my expectations.

Photo Credit : unsplash.com/@b3njamin

Now,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.

Flare Ups change the way you think.

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.

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Pain is terrifying. Living in pain and fear takes a toll on your mental health. I've been in and out of therapy for many years. Sometimes I just need reassurance and other times I need assistance bringing myself to a calm place.

I know that I can be forgetful, misplace words and insert new ones, and I am terrible with names and faces. But I am NOT crazy.

Cast Iron Resting Jizo Statue, Made in Japan
from: Buddha Groove

The Lyme and Mental Illness Link

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.

Some days actually ARE worse than others

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.

But there are things that you can do to help yourself. When my body hurts, I turn to essential oils and aroma therapy.  Lavender and eucalyptus really seem to help soothe and relieve pain. I have heated wraps that I can put in the microwave that are heavy and help put pressure that calms and warms.

Eucalyptus Aromatherapy Collection With Lavender, USA
from: Buddha Groove

Mental Health and Physical Health

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.

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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. “Patients are less able to think things through, and tend to act impulsively”

People with Lyme disease aren't crazy.

I know that I personally have a problem with how they react to certain stressful situations. My hands get so cold, I lose circulation, and I just shut down.

I deal with panic attacks now that I've turned 40+ and I work with anxiety over my health issues. The most beneficial thing that I've discovered is the use of CBD oil to treat my inflammation and anxiety without any side effects and NO it doesn't get you high. CBD is a cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. And you can take the oil orally or topically. I've done bone and it is wonderful for pain and for anxiety.

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. Suicide is one of the top reasons for Lyme related deaths.

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Medications can make you feel worse and mentally challenge you.

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 does change the way you react and think.

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

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 www.ilads.org. Other helpful sources include the Lyme Disease Association (www.lymediseaseassociation.org) and the Lyme Disease Network (www.Lymenet.org)

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

 

Happily Not Sad

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I didn't think the day would ever come when my tears would dry and when I thought of him, I wouldn't beg for one more day… one more laugh… one more “I love you.”

The rain hasn't really stopped since September here in Seattle. 3 days of sunlight, more snow than anyone can remember, and the saddest skies in  years.  But I haven't cried for him.  Not this year.

I smiled today through the raindrops when I realized that the sadness of losing someone I loved didn't make me feel like I might possibly drown in my own night tears.  The tears that well up in the dark and make your eyes feel like they are in pools of sorrow, that soon pour over your face and make you realized how deeply you have fallen into that depression.

He left us, he died. He isn't coming to the party and no matter how broken my heart felt my pain wasn't going to bring him back.  I actually found myself curled up on the floors sobbing more times than I want to remember.  Thinking “I don't think I will know how to find my way back after this.”

There were fights about my grief.  Ugly ones with mean words that carved deeper into my depression.

There were moments I really questioned if I needed to be checked into a hospital.

It took time, years even. I can finally say his name out loud without that lump in my throat.  He died and I survived.

Today I smiled knowing that even though I didn't think I'd every get over it, I made it through.  I know he would be proud of me.

Even better… I'm proud of myself.

Love, Crysta - Dancing With Fireflies

Fidget Cube

Thinking At 2am About Dying

dream.jpgImage: Kein Do

I have panic attacks. Real heart thumping, cold sweats, body shaking, panic attacks. And it's not because I'm crazy.

A few times a year I'll have a bad one. For no good reason, in the middle of the night, I'll wake up to a feeling of dread and fear.

It started a couple of years before I turned 40. The first one was absolutely the most terrifying experience that left me both sure I was going to die, scared to tell anyone, embarrassed when I didn't die, and concerned that this meant I was going to end up freaking out like this all the time.

However I've seen my doctors, told them about it. And I've been assured many times that my heart is fine and I'll be okay. It is still terrifying when it happens.

I have tried anxiety meds. But they left me exhausted and lifeless.  So now I'm logical.  It is a chemical reaction, something wonky in my code, I won't die. Though when it happens it is hard to be logical.

Last night after a great weekend filled with Seattle's Comicon and going to see the new Wolverine movie “Logan” I went to bed happy and ready to get some sleep.

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1:25am I woke up to a rabid heartbeat, feeling so cold my teeth were chattering, and that feeling that maybe I might be dying.

No reason. Just because.

Breathe.  Nice and slow.  In and out.  Don't panic… you are panicking..  slow it down.

Everything starts to slow down, no pain.  No arm tingling.  No teeth or jaw pain.  Nope, not a heart attack… just panic.

I stayed in bed, even though I wanted to get up and walk off the feeling.  Even today the dreaded ick feeling lingers.  And I am so tired because I couldn't go back to sleep.

Have I done enough in my life?  Enough?  What's enough and who the hell is keeping track?

Would my family be okay if I died?  Do they know I love them?

I know I am not the only one who has these 2 am moments if Life Pondering. Yet they actually make me feelso thankful that usually I can sleep all night without having to think of updating my will or how 44 years of my life have gone by and yet I am still baffled by how mean and selfish people can be. I would be an awful insomniac.

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So I lay in the bed for what seemed like hours, when it was likely only one, and tried to calm my thoughts and slow my breathing.

It doesn't matter what my critics think, I know I did all I could. And when I couldn't do anymore, I didn't stop being someone my Grandmother would have been proud of.  That is important to me.

I counted my blessings and forgave my sins just like counting sheep until my racing heart could find it's sleepy beat again.

I have a beautiful and complex family who all count on me to be here, not to die from fear in the night. Just keep breathing.

Perhaps it was the change in weather, my Lyme Disease, or a combination of excitement and fatigue.  Whatever it was passed like a ghost in the hall, frightful and then vanished with no explanation.

Well now I'm up and ready for the day, how about a new recipe?  Today's will be something chocolately and maybe a dash of espresso.

Love, Crysta - Dancing With Fireflies

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5 Healthy Habits to Help You Fight Chronic Lyme Disease

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I’ve been fighting Chronic Lyme Disease most of my life.  I went undiagnosed for over 20 years and suffered through the debilitating symptoms that leave many bed-ridden and depressed. But Chronic Lyme Disease doesn’t have to mean the end of the world, it is just a new world and YOU oversee direction you are going to go in.

Positive Attitude

Like many, when I was first diagnosed and told that at that stage of the disease there was no cure, I cried. I was in shock for months that this was really what was happening to me.  My doctors didn’t have a lot of answers and the few they had were bleak.

I got depressed and I stayed there for a long time. The more scared and upset I was about my forecast, the worse I felt physically.  Then began the vicious cycle of medications.  I had meds to combat depression, then meds to combat anxiety.  Then there were conversations about the weight I was gaining because of all the medications.  I cried when I didn’t feel like going to my daughter’s school events.  I cried when I looked in the mirror.  I cried when my husband told me I was beautiful, because I knew he was lying.

Then one day I was lying in bed seriously thinking of ending it all. The pain of moving, of breathing, of knowing what I’d become was too much.  I couldn’t handle the guilt of what I was doing to my family.  I was done.  I had a choice. Either get my ass up out of that “sick bed” and do something about it or give up and die.

Thankfully I am still here.

Every day is a struggle.  Some days are harder than others. But the best medicine for fighting Lyme Disease and the depression that comes with it wasn’t a pill.  It was taking charge of my own mental health, going to a therapist once a week to vent and cry and move forward, and sometimes saying “fuck Lyme Disease” over and over in my head until I could get up and get out of the door.

Better Diet

Before I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease I wasn’t really concerned with how much protein I ate, how many greens in my weekly meals, or if I was consuming enough B12.  We were a normal family with pizza nights, junk food days, and picky eaters.

After I began to take charge of my disease instead of allowing doctors to medicate me to death, I realized how important food was to my battle.  I also came to understand how many things we take for granted deeply affect our health.

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My family and I switched to a Pescatarian diet, a diet much like a vegetarian diet only with fish added in. We started off as only vegetarian until my youngest started having issues and it was recommended we revisit fish.  Now we have a well-stocked pantry and fridge full of healthy snacks, fruits and veggies, and know that it’s all right to have a treat from time to time. But the preservatives, artificial coloring and sugars, as well as ingredients that most can’t even pronounce, they don’t belong in our home.

Recently after struggling with some stomach issues and feeling sluggish, I went to a naturopath for advice. She recommended that I remove gluten and dairy out of my diet for 6 months and see how I felt. 15 pounds lighter and full of energy, I think I’m sticking with the new diet.  I love it and once I learned how to eat differently, the more I realized how much dairy and carbs we consume daily.

Get Up and Move!

I get it, sometimes moving is painful and all you want to do is nap on the couch.  But that kind of thinking did more harm to my body than the Lyme Disease. Your muscles weaken and are easily damaged.

My family and I did the 2016 Seattle Color Run. It was great!
My family and I did the 2016 Seattle Color Run. It was great!

Last year I injured my foot, something as simple as stepping down incorrectly, and I’ve been in pain every time I walk.  After 20 weeks of physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, and numerous doctor visits, I am still in pain.  Why?  The muscles in my feet were not strong enough, now I am working through the issues to correct it.

Every time you pass up the change to get up, move, get stronger.  You pass up the chance to fight your disease.  You pass up the chance to get stronger and even happier.

Maybe running isn’t for you. Fine!  It isn’t for me either. I’ll run the day zombies start clawing at my door! But I will get up every hour during the day and until bedtime and I’ll walk for a few minutes around the house, or outside if I can.

I saw a quote at a cancer center. “Sitting is the new Smoking”

Yeah… it hit home hard. Get up and move, NOW.

I have a reminder on my watch to get up, walk around, and move.  It goes off every hour.  Even when I am in pain, I must stand up and at least stretch.  I will not lie down and die just yet.

Find your Tribe

For a long time, I felt so alone in my disease.  There were no races for the cure for me, no ribbons of support.  My family did their best, but my disease affected them deeply too.

I reached out in the beginning to find others with Lyme Disease, searching message boards and WebMD.  Sadly, I found more nonsense than support.  So, I retreated.

Then a couple of years ago, I started talking about Lyme Disease to others.  Sharing my struggles.  I was surprised to find that not only was I not alone in having Lyme Disease, but just about every person I talked to either knew someone with Lyme or had a story to share.  Lyme is everywhere.

The more I shared my story, the more connected I felt to others also learning how to shine in the darkness of Lyme disease.  Those sparks of light were also dancing to the same song I was hearing, fighting to overcome something that often felt greater than we were.

Through Twitter, Facebook, and my blog, I was able to reach around the world and find others like myself also looking to support each other in our battle.  It isn’t that hard to find your tribe when the world is at your fingertips

Take responsibility for your health

Lyme Disease can be controlled. You can go into stages of remission where life starts to feel normal. But that only comes after you have mastered your health.  You follow up with your doctors, you don’t smoke or do drugs, you make being healthy your priority.

Sometimes I become a bit stressed about overseeing my health, I avoid shaking hands, I do my best to stay clear of sick people, and still I feel like it might not be enough.  Yet that is how I take responsibility for my body and my health.

You must have your own inner dialogue about what you are willing to do to win your fight with Lyme Disease.  Then challenge that dialogue with healthy options.

Love, Crysta - Dancing With Fireflies

 
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Lost

Autism-Speaks-Sign-4When I close my eyes there is a brief second that I can almost feel you.  So I close my eyes often, hoping that if I do it enough there will be a whole minute in the day when I don’t feel this thing that I do now. People walking by might thing I am sleepy and need a moment to rest my eyes, they can’t know that I am not tired but searching.

It’s 3am and I open my eyes and the darkness greets me with silence except for my husband snoring softly, so oblivious to my lack of sleep. I look around the room not even sure what I am looking for in the blackness of night. Again I feel as if I am looking through the veil and hoping to find something that isn’t there, a whisper, a clue.

I see signs in obvious places, pennies on sidewalks, feathers in trees, music where music should be, all hidden messages to where it might be.  I am feel as if I am searching for a treasure that won’t be found.

Time keeps moving faster and pushing me towards this date on the calendar that I don’t want to see.  I ignore the motivational speakers and nod my head like an idiot in hopes that they won’t notice that I am not listening.  I can’t listen if I want to find it!  Why the hell is this so damned hard!

Impatient and annoyed, I take it out on my hands as I clench them tight and twist them back and forth as if trying to push out the rage through my skin.  The damned silence is taunting me as I engage in telepathic conversations that are one sided because you have abandoned me now. I’ll show you, I’ll be so busy that I don’t have time to think.  I’ll play the music so loud that I wouldn’t hear you even if you wanted me to.  I won’t be a part of this… I don’t want to keep looking for signs… waiting for whispers… hopeful that you will just give me one… tiny… word.

Damned you for this!  Damned you for giving me this distraction from my life.  You always wanted to be the center of attention and got so pissy when you weren’t.  Now you have my attention and you give me nothing in return.  I gave you my friendship, my attention, my love… you were my friend, my safe place, my brother.  I would have done anything for you, you just had to say it.  But sending me on this ridiculous quest to find all of the pieces that shattered of my heart when you died is bullshit.

But still I close my eyes and let the cool wind blow over my face and let go of the sadness and anger. Peaceful thoughts settle around me and I push myself to be better than I was, a better wife, a better mother, a better me as I think about how you cheered me on.  Even though you were here one day, so loud and full of yourself and gone without warning.  I will keep looking for all of the tiny pieces of my heart and glue them back in place somehow. All the while I’ll be looking for hope that you aren’t gone forever and one day you will let me know that you loved me as much as I did you, as your friend, your safe place, your sister.

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You are NOT your Past

You are NOT your PastI struggle sometime when I feel like I am looking forward so far that I have forgotten my past. I feel pangs of guilt that try to smother my joy. But that is not me following my spark, that is me chasing my past.

Most days I wake up, push my eyes open and look around wondering for a brief moment where I am. Sometimes it is hard to pull myself out of dreams, images so real that I struggle to separate them from reality.  My life is good now, really good.  But sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve it.

When I was homeless, alone and sleeping in borrowed spaces, THAT I felt like I deserved.  Words buried deep in my heart, like bones in a grave, remained cold and haunting.  “Ungrateful bitch!” and “You made the bed, now you can lie in it!”

Every success, every win was carried with both joy and guilt.

What I learned, about myself and about letting go, those lessons took far too long.

You are NOT your past.

You are not your parent’s past, or a mistake they made together.

You do not need to keep wearing the bad breakups, the lost jobs, the struggle with fitting in.

At one point you just have to let go and BE who you know you can be.  Rise above the past and see clearly towards the future.

It’s not easy, and sometimes we all sigh deeply when we think of the past.  Just recently I was standing in my garden, enjoying all that has grown… both physically and mentally in my own growth, and for a moment I almost winced as the thoughts came to my head that I didn’t have the right to be so happy when others were not. Then I let that go and remembered the hard work, the clawing and digging I had to do in order to create this life for myself, and I smiled at all that I had become.

I am NOT my past.

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You can’t hold me down long..

You can not die of grief, though it feels as if you can. A heart does not actually break, though sometimes your chest aches as if it is breaking. Grief dims with time. It is the way of things. There comes a day when you smile again, and you feel like a traitor. How dare I feel happy. How dare I be glad in a world where my father is no more. And then you cry fresh tears, because you do not miss him as much as you once did, and giving up your grief is another kind of death.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton

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A few years ago I would have said I have felt profound grief, but I knew little of it. Death has touched my family, as it does all of ours.

But the grief had settled then and I knew only of the importance of the pain, much like I knew only the importance of the pain of childbirth.  Some deaths were searing scars that are still rough to the touch, like the death of my Gram.  Others still fresh still have the power to well my eyes up with tears at the terrible loss I feel, as I do when I linger on the thoughts of my beloved dog.  Until just recently I would have said that I understood that there were steps and stages of grief, yet I did not have a full understanding of them and how in fact I grieve until the loss of my brother.

The truth is,  we all grieve differently and there is no wrong way to do so. We grieve many things, not just the passing of life.

Some have been known to grieve so terribly the loss of their youth, the best moments of their lives that they have failed to see that they neglected the future until it was too late.

Some have grieved the loss of a job, loss of a home, and many have grieved the loss of a friendship.  There are days when you wanted to crawl back into bed and pull the blankets close, letting the comfort of this safe place take control over the heaviness of your broken heart.  Tend to your heart, your broken soul, but don’t mistake this time of grief for the stage for the rest of your life.

lance16When Lance died I went through phases of grief at first I didn’t understand.

Denial, anger, depression, repair and sometimes I circled back again.  There were moments when I wanted to believe that everything was ok, he was fine, we were all FINE!

I refused to stay in bed and let it soak into me and drown me in sorrow. I got up every morning, got dressed, tended to my children and home, and moved forward even when I had the chances to take advantage of offered help… I NEEDED to keep moving and not stop until I was sure I could get through this.

I started writing just to get the words out of my head.  Even when I felt judged by others who thought that my words remembering my beloved friend were suppressing my feelings for my husband and family, I kept writing because I knew that I needed to resolve this great sadness the only way I knew how to do.  Through that I was able to meet some great new friends who were also going through the same stages of grief I was.   I learned from them and from others that we all deal with our grief differently and there are no wrong ways of doing so.

Since then there have been other days when sadness and grief have come to my life.  I have had to deal with the days one at a time and realize that I can’t control this wheel of life.

One of the hardest things I had to overcome was the critique.  I had someone tell me that I wasn’t giving enough of my thoughts and attention to my husband and family because I was reflecting too much on my blog.

It was a nasty hit and a low blow when it came out of nowhere.  But it made me angrily look at where that was coming from and why it affected me so much.  In the end I had to realize that my husband, friends and family actually understood my process of grief and held no ill about how I was expressing change.  I have always had an easier time with analyzing my feelings when I can read them and share them with others. So when this hit came, I pulled back and didn’t want to write anymore.  I actually felt more depressed once I was suppressed like that but I felt sick and angry about the attack.  It wasn’t until I could address my anger that I realized that I was allowing the petty words of a stranger actually bring me more harm.

Well I am saying today, no more.  Part of my healing process is writing and nobody should ever have the power to take that away from me, even if I was the one taking it away from myself. I have to be kind to myself and move forward.

There is good that has come out of death, I have learned so much about myself and things I can’t control. There are so many things that I wish I could have changed, people I wish I could have one more day with, and guilt that I have to learn to overcome.  I can’t say that I know everything about grief, but I can say that even as much as it hurts there are some things that can come from it that are good.

 

Grief is not neat and orderly – Ann Hood

Take time to hear your body. Listen to what it is telling you. It is okay to slow down. #LymeDisease

“She understood that grief is not neat and orderly; it does not follow any rules. Time does not heal it. Rather time insists on passing and as it does, grief changes but does not go away.”
―     Ann Hood,     The Obituary Writer

DWF Books to heal: 2 Books On Grief And Loss.

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I don't deal with stress well. Physically it lets my disease get the best of me. So in my life I do my best to stay out of the drama, away from the stress, and take extra time to make sure I am not absorbed in the middle of conflict.  This also means that I have to walk away from situations that I know are unhealthy.  That's not always the way other people want you to deal with their drama.

Retreating to a quiet corner to read is my way of dealing with stress. When I was going through some really hard times after the deaths of some family members, I turned to these books to help me find my way back.

 

I wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye by Brook Noel and Pamela Blair PhD is a great book about surviving the sudden death of a loved one.  I have really enjoyed this one and would suggest it to anyone trying to cope with losing someone you love as I am. This one has been a good book to help me sort out some of the things I was feeling and I wish I had read it before the loss of my best friend.  It's also a great book to read if you are a support for someone going through a loss.

I've turned to this book a few times when I just had no idea what to say or how I could help.  The one thing that would drive me nuts is when people would ask that they could do to make me feel better.  I didn't have an answer and they didn't know what else to say.  This book taught me why this is such a common thing to say and how to respond.

Now when someone I know has lost a loved one, I have a list of things that I am happy to do for them so they don't have to think at all about what they need or when.

 

A New Normal: Learning to live with Grief and Loss by Darlene Cross is another book working through the many emotions after a loss. This one is more dealing with how to understand the emotions and move through them in a healthy way. It is very helpful as you are able to see that you are not the only one trying to find more clarity on what you are feeling. This book feel almost like a survival manual for loss.

 

Both of these books were instrumental in helping me overcome the grief and loss I felt as losing 2 special family members a couple of years ago, one to death and one to a needed separation.  I wasn't sure that I would actually get something useful from the books at first but after reading them I realized that I have used the passages in both books regularly in coping with not only grief and loss, but also stress and chance.

I use the concept of needing to find a “New Normal” all the time when life takes a sudden turn, not just dealing with grief, but change in general.

There are so many great books about grief and learning how to cope. But these two brought me a lot of peace and helped me to understand what I was going through

Lyme and Grief make for a painful cocktail

Lyme Disease and Grief make a painful cocktail

 

The last few weeks have been extremely stressful and emotional. There has been so many deaths in my circle, both close family and celebrity deaths that struck home.  It's been a lot to deal with.  My body aches, I have been retreating from physical contact as much as possible.  It's been hard.

 

I know I've been fighting a touch of depression.  I’ve done my best to try to rest as much as I can whenever possible, but I can feel the Lyme bacteria beginning to crawl back in control and remind me that stress is the single greatest aggregator of Chronic Lyme.  My symptoms will rise up and I will have to pay for not being in full control of my stress levels.

 

Thankfully I know and understand the role stress plays on my fight and how the aches and difficulties my body is having is because I am fighting to stay afloat both mentally and physically.

Stress is like a sleeping giant,” says Dr. Thoring. “It suppresses the immune system and allows any latent or dormant disease to proliferate.” A stressful life situation, he explains, can wake the sleeping giant. He says many people experience their first LD symptoms following a stressful life change.

My pain levels the last few days have been higher than they have been in months.  I’ve had the enjoyment of random tremors jumping through my muscles and lasting for hours at a time, but that’s ok.  I can deal with the pain, I can ignore the tremors.  I know that I need to get a better grasp on my grief and stress because depression is one of the hardest symptoms to overcome with Lyme.  Even the people you believe have the best ability to move through stress and depression have shown, like the amazing Robin Williams, that it can overwhelm.

So today I’ll try to get myself in a better place both mentally and physically.  I know I need to add more Vitamin C and get a B12 shot in order to boost my immune system and fight lyme.  Also I’ll make sure I am taking my daily Multi-Vitamins. Because of the Lyme I  have a weaker immune system and suffer from less energy throughout the day. Lyme disease loves a weak immunity and I will end up getting very sick.

I am so thankful to have such a great support system and I know that I will get through this. But even as I write, my hand just ache and my head is so foggy.  I’ll go heat up in the shower and get my circulation moving as I try to clear out my thoughts and keep the madness of Lyme from taking over.

Lyme is a struggle, but it is not who I am. I am stronger than my body thinks I am.

 

Living with Lyme is a constant balancing act.  You try your best to live a “normal” life, but you are also faced with the task of watching every bite that goes into your mouth, a handful of pills to manage the disease, and all the while knowing that you are fighting for your life.  When grief comes into your life, it is hard not to think about dying and about those you will leave behind.

The fact is, Lymies, like myself are well aware that we have issues that can kill us.  We face our mortality even more when people we love die.

I am guilty of preplanning my death, my tree pod ash container, and thinking a bit too much about the end.

Grief is painful, both mentally and sometimes even physically.

 

So dear Lyme friends, take care of your bodies.  Enjoy as many naps as you can to recharge your energy that you need to keep fighting.  Do what it takes, but understand that it isn't a quick process.

 

 

Taking Time to Grieve

Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.

Tragedy keeps coming upon us over and over, threatening to drown us in our tears. It's overwhelming how much has happened and I feel like I can barely recover some balance before another wave comes to try to knock me down.

I know I am not alone in feeling like we have been hit with so many sad and frustrating moments in the last few months. Most recently the senseless deaths of those innocent people shot in Florida in one of the worst mass shootings here in America.

Many of us turn to music to soothe out pain and even the music world has suffered traumatic losses that left many, like myself, sad and asking how people who seem larger than life can be gone.. dead by something so normal.

Even the strongest of us, the legends of strength like Muhammad Ali, have fallen recently. Now we stand in grief asking how much more can we take?

Maybe you haven't been touched by it personally, but it is hard to miss when you look beyond your doors to see the look of sadness, of grief, of loss that many of us are feeling right now.

Personally, I've lost both of my birth parents within 6 months of each other.  I had to put my beloved kitty, Cleo, down a few weeks ago.  A friend of mine lost her husband last week, a kind man that I had the pleasure of meeting a few times. Pets, parents of my friends, family members, and more have left this earth recently and left me just gasping for air as I try to wrap my head around all of this death.

For the next couple of weeks, here on Dancing With Fireflies, we will feature articles on dealing with grief, finding a new sense of normality after difficult times, and even some recipes for comfort foods that hopefully will bring you some joy if cooking helps.

My heart goes out to those families who have lost someone they loved in Orlando this week.  It also goes out to the thousands of other lives that were lost in tragic ways around the world.  Grief is everywhere and overcoming it takes time.

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Thoughts About The Afterlife

 

 

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I'm not sure if it is because I am a creative person or perhaps growing up religious opens my mind up to the possibilities, but I believe in the Afterlife.

I am a spiritual person.  I always have been.  I believe in spirits, Angels, lives before this one, and Karma.  I have a fondness for the teachings of  Wiccans, Jewish Kabbalah, and even a brief understanding of several other religions.  I can't say that I fully grasp just one brand of teaching, but find value in most of them.

But the afterlife is a mystery that I still struggle with. It wasn't until my brother passed that I really spent a lot of time considering what happens after death and IF there is an afterlife.

When he died I struggled with the concept of simply saying goodbye to the person he was and letting him dissolve into memories. How is it that people can make such a strong bond in LIFE but once that heart stops beating, the connection is severed?  No, that's just not enough.

I know there are times that a loved one is reaches out to comfort us in our time of change. I've seen the little signs that when I am lost, hurt, or sad, I am not going through this alone. Yet accepting these offerings as a positive moment and thanking both our loved ones and ourselves for being able to see and accept these signs for what they are, that's hard.

When Lance died I found pennies everywhere, a wandering feather, and songs on the radio that seemed out of place but very much typical of my relationship with my brother. The ache of his loss has seemed to settle down. Even though I wish very much to be able to sit down with him, face to face and talk more, hug him tight and thank him for the amazing things he has done in my life.

I have come to the understanding that our relationship has just changed.  I don't have to feel the deep sense of loss that I did when I can enjoy expanding my views to the concept of change.

Today I sat out on the patio and closed my eyes and listened to the rush of the waves on the shore and the soothing sounds of the wind.  I felt my body relax as the sun warmed over my body and I drifted in thoughts to the many things I have had to face lately.  A soft pang of missing Lance passed over me but was quickly replaced by the memories of his laughter, his jokes that usually only he found as funny, and songs he used to like.  Warm and comforted by good memories I sat out in the sun and enjoyed the idea that maybe the rejection of change is what was hurting me so much.

What happens if you can seek out to use your other senses to accomplish a connection between you and your loved ones who have gone through the change.  Using your intuitions, couldn't you connect with that altered spirit is something that many for hundreds of years have tried to explain but few accept as truth?

The theory is interesting and I think it might be worth exploring more.  What do you think?

Crazy or just the Lyme Disease?

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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 www.ilads.org. Other helpful sources include the Lyme Disease Association (www.lymediseaseassociation.org) and the Lyme Disease Network (www.Lymenet.org)

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: http://www.igenex.com/psychological_effects.htm

Brave Millennials Speak Up

I love the passion of our younger generation, the Millennials, express when they see each other going against what they believe in. In a letter addressed to another blogger, Angry16, tries to explain the dangers of adopting titles for attention.  The blogger, Non-Binary Girl, has outraged her fellow teens by claiming to be part of not only gender issues, but social minorities, religious minorities, and now having mental illnesses that only she can diagnose.

Angry16 isn't alone, across the internet, teens are standing up and teaching their peers about social issues. Demanding respect for those dealing with mental illnesses, sexuality questions, and more.  They are owning their opinions and being brave enough to speak up against opposing thoughts.

So I share with you this incredible letter. 

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Dear you (I don’t know what to call you because apparently you’re a non-binary “girl” which makes zero sense because non-binary means you don’t identify as either a boy or a girl but okay hun),

I just wanted to let you know that you have no right to be saying most of what you are trying to say about people with mental illnesses. You have no right to be self-proclaimed anything (mental illness wise) because it causes people with REAL problems to not be taken seriously, when they are the ones that actually need help.

You obviously have no idea what you are ever taking about and I find it insulting.

I understand that your puny brain clings onto anything that could possibly bring you some attention, it doesn’t give you the authority to make yourself something you’re not. Such as telling people you are Jewish. Which I know from multiple 1st hand sources, you are not.

How dare you take something that people have struggled in society in the past and make it your muse for attention. You are a white privileged person (notice I didn't say girl because if you are non-binary I respect that) with no diagnosed problems pretending to be something you are not so people who can’t comprehend it give you sympathy.

This has to be the most selfish thing I could possibly imagine. because apparently you are more important, with your fake petty issues, than people who are actually experiencing these things (including prejudice toward Jewish people).

I suspect that u will use this letter to complain about how hard your life is because of “people who don’t accept you” I just thought I would let you know that pretending you are a minority, religiously, mentally, or sexuality wise, for attention will not bring you happiness. But I guess that’s your own problem.

Angry16