Frequently Asked Questions About Facing Life With Personal Counselor’s Help

I had always been an outdoorsy type of girl. It most likely rooted in the fact that I came from a family of rednecks. Whether it’s the Fourth of July or President’s Day or any holiday, we often found a reason to stay overnight in the woods. In reality, that was not too difficult to do, considering my grandparents’ backyard practically led to the forest.

My first memory of camping was at seven years old, although it was apparently not my first time doing that. Back then, I remembered asking Mom what we would eat in the woods, considering I only saw her packing sleeping bags, water, and cooking materials. She smiled at me and said, “Anything that your Dad and uncles would find there.”

The answer confused me a lot, but it eventually became clear to me that the forest was full of edible plants that could cost hundreds of dollars in the city. Then, there was a river nearby that was filled with fish. When everyone got tired of swimming, the men brought out their fishing equipment and caught our lunch and dinner in no time. It was the coolest day in my life.

Growing Up

The older I became, the more I learned about camping. When I reached 11 years old, I could set up a tent on my own. By the time I reached my sweet 16, it was already easy for me to start a bonfire with whatever stones and twigs I could find on the campsite. While some of my friends bragged about their cellphones and new clothes, I bragged about my camping skills.

My love for nature pushed me to join a hiking group in college. Almost every month, one member of the organization would suggest three hiking locations, and then we would vote on which one to visit. It used to be a day trip, but when they found out that I was practically a camping expert, we started staying outdoors overnight.

In my second year in college, though, I had to back out from another hiking adventure due to fever. It was accompanied by headache and muscle pain, so I thought I had the flu. The symptoms went away after a week, but then they were replaced by rashes all over my body. I kept thinking of what could possibly cause the inflammation, but I was never allergic to anything. Once my lymph nodes began to swell, and my fever returned, I asked my mother to take me to a doctor.

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Receiving A Diagnosis

The family doctor ordered me to get blood tests immediately. I did not initially understand what tests he talked about, but he mentioned Lyme disease to my mother. That’s what got my attention.

“Why are we testing for that, doc?” I asked.

“Well, I know that you spend a lot of time in the woods. Your symptoms may be for a different condition, but it is best to rule out Lyme disease early,” the doctor explained.

After two weeks, my worst fear came true – I got diagnosed with Lyme disease. I could not help but cry because I knew it was an autoimmune disorder and that nothing could cure it. My mother allowed me to be sad for a few days, but she noticed that my mood did not change after that, she suggested personal counseling to me.

What is personal counseling? 

Personal counseling is a type of counseling that occurs when a person has goals that they cannot achieve without a mental health professional’s help.

What are the benefits of individual counseling? 

  • It increases a person’s self-awareness.
  • It encourages people to explore their thoughts and emotions.
  • It helps an individual realize their boundaries.
  • It improves a person’s communication skills.
  • It teaches people how to cope with issues healthily.

What are the types of counseling? 

  • Child pediatric counseling
  • Grief counseling
  • Marriage and family therapy
  • Rehabilitation counseling
  • School counseling

How do I give myself counseling? 

  • You can start self-counseling by deciding on what goals to achieve. Whatever it is, you must think about it clearly and realistically so that you won’t fall face-first later.
  • Use your objective and subjective sides when you think about your problems. The reason is that your emotions most likely rule your subjective part; that’s why you cannot find a viable solution. But when you think objectively, the remedy may come more quickly to you than ever.
  • Try to understand your thoughts, emotions, and behavior more deeply. It may be challenging at first, but the task may ease up when you keep a record of your emotional and behavioral changes and assess what causes them.
  • Catch yourself whenever you talk to yourself negatively. That has a massive impact on your mental health. After that, you may counter such thoughts and say something like, “What if I think like this or that instead?” Over time, you will be able to change your way of thinking for the better.
  • Keep in mind that it’s okay not to get self-counseling correctly overnight. You have never done it before, so cut yourself some slack. But the more you try this form of counseling, the more you may get used to it.
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Can you use CBT on yourself? 

Yes, you can use CBT on yourself. Many licensed therapists have put out self-help books that may teach you how to conduct this form of therapy. However, if you have never experienced it first-hand before, you may want to see how it works in person.

Do therapists care? 

Of course, therapists care about their patients. They cannot be effective at what they do if they don’t.

What should you tell your first visit to a therapist? 

Most individuals talk about their problems during their first visit to a therapist and what they have done to fix them. That is how the therapist can gauge how much help the individual needs and how long therapy will last.

Do therapists get attached to their clients? 

Not all therapists get attached to their clients, but it can happen to anyone at any time. Despite that, professional therapists do not act on it and just process their feelings outside of the workplace.

What happens in a Counselling session? 

Upon initial contact, the counselor may create an outline of how long a counseling session takes place, how they will communicate with you, and what happens if you go to sessions regularly or miss it. They may also remind you of their confidentiality rule, as well as their promise to listen to you without judgment. More importantly, they will help you realize that counseling does not provide instantaneous results – something good will only come out of it if you make an effort to heed the counselor’s advice.

How do I prepare for my first counseling session? 

The first thing you must do is accept that you are already doing the right thing by setting an appointment with a counselor. Many people cannot take that first step, and for that, you should be proud of yourself.

Once you see the counselor and get past the initial pleasantries, you may start asking them about their process. This is okay even if you have not decided to get their services – most counselors will explain how they conduct counseling, and that will inform you if you should go forward or step backward.

You also need to realize that a professional counseling session is and will always be confidential. They will not post about your social media issues; they will not gossip about you with other patients. Everything that you talk about will only be confined to the four walls of the counselor’s office.

When your comfortability level has stabilized, you may try to figure out your goals for seeking counseling. Is it to find clarity regarding your thoughts and feelings? Is it to get over a painful experience that you have just gone through? There is no wrong goal; the counselor will not make you leave if you cannot develop a plan to achieve them. Despite that, you need to be honest about where you’re at so that the counselor can meet you there and help you from there.

Considering you are scheduled for another counseling session, it may be best to allocate an entire day or at least half a day to it. The reason is that you may want to collect your thoughts and emotions before the session begins. Post-counseling, you may be an emotional wreck. Thus, you need some time to process everything you have learned or discussed during the session.

Furthermore, you must check your expectations. The counselor wants to help you, but they cannot help if you don’t do your part and help yourself. Counseling may not also work after one or two sessions, and that’s okay – healing does not come easily. If it doesn’t, you won’t be seeking mental help.

How do you end a counseling session? 

From the get-go, you need to see the end of every counseling session as a healing experience. You have talked about your problem and gained information on how to deal with it possibly.

You may also end the session by reflecting and summarizing what you have discussed. That is an excellent way to figure out what your next step should be.

Moreover, you need to show some flexibility when the session is about to end. Sometimes, it may seem like a ritual; other times, it may be meditative. The key is to do what feels natural for you and the counselor.

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Is it normal to cry at therapy? 

Yes, it is normal to cry at therapy. After all, you are letting yourself become vulnerable as you open up about your problems. You are bound to shed tears out of frustration, grief, sadness, and even joy in the end.

What questions will a therapist ask me? 

  • Why are you seeking therapy?
  • What coping mechanisms have you tried while dealing with your problems?
  • Is it your first time receiving therapy? If not, how did you fare in your previous sessions with other therapists?
  • How would you describe your childhood?
  • How is your relationship with the people in your life?
  • What are your expectations for this therapy?
  • Have you thought of self-harm or suicide?

What questions do psychiatrists ask you? 

Try not to be surprised if psychiatrists ask open-ended questions, such as, “How have you been?”, “Why are you here today?” or “How can I be of service to you?” This is their way of figuring out how they can help you or how much assistance you need. Just answer them truthfully – it’s okay even if you admit not to be okay.

What can I expect at my first psychiatric appointment?

  • Your first psychiatric appointment may be the most tedious session, considering you need to answer any questions, either verbally or non-verbally. The psychiatrist may also check your medical records and ask you to fill out various forms to determine how best to help you. This process may take up to two hours, so you should allocate a lot of time for it.
  • Psychiatrists are technically medical doctors who focus on mental health, so it should not be shocking to do a quick physical examination. Aside from the necessary procedures like checking your temperature, pulse rate, and blood pressure, they may also have your blood tested and require a physical scanning.
  • Although mental health professionals promise to keep your details confidential, it does not mean that you cannot bring a friend or family member to your first psychiatric appointment. As long as you are cool with them being in the same room when the psychiatrist talks to you, that will be fine.
  • The psychiatrist’s primary goal is to know why you seek their services. In case you go to your first appointment with a cluttered mind, you should write down your reason when you feel calm and bring it to the meeting to avoid forgetting about it. Then, you can also keep a pen and paper with you during the session so that you can jot down whatever tips they give to you.
  • Keep in mind that psychiatrists welcome questions about their process or credibility. That is understandable for patients to be curious about, given that you are about to put your mental health in their hands.
  • After the first or second appointment, you can expect the psychiatrist to provide a treatment plan for you.

Final Thoughts

I would be lying if I said that my mood transformed overnight after talking to a counselor. In truth, it took months before I accepted my autoimmune disorder. But when I did, it was like a lightbulb lit up in my head, and I managed to find ways to keep my symptoms from flaring up and still live my life.

 

Emotional And Mental Health Issues Due To Lyme Disease

When I was first diagnosed with Lyme disease, I thought it would be like flu or a health condition that is something temporary. I have no idea that it will come up to this long and exhausting health journey. At times, a lot of people tell me that it will soon go away. Honestly, I keep repeating that assurance in my head to focus less on the negative things. However, even if I try reminding myself that I will get better soon, I know things will never be the same again. And that what makes it more depressing. It just shows that a lot of people are insensitive enough to others’ feelings and uneducated on what Lyme disease is entirely is all about.

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How’s Living With Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a chronic illness that often gets undiagnosed. It makes life a living hell. It feels like it comes up out of nowhere and is determined to stay forever. People without the disease might recognize some of the technicalities of the condition. But the struggle in the physical, emotional, and mental health is something no one can truly understand. There are instances that Lyme disease causes blurry visions. Sometimes, it can make you stay up all night. Then it goes to hurt your muscle and joint, which makes it hard to even stand up. You experience swollen lymph nodes, and God knows how painful that is. Of course, you can never crash out experiencing fatigue, where you feel like thousands of rocks are always on top of you. There is also this awful headache where you feel like something inside your head is trying so hard to rip your brains out. With Lyme disease, the body is constantly fighting an illness without an assurance of winning. Sometimes, you just can’t find the right way to feel normal again. There is this constant difficulty in doing everything. In unfortunate instances, even critical thinking seems out of the picture.

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How’s The Emotional And Mental Health Going?

The truth is, the disease is not limited to only affecting the human body but also causes damage to mental health. Thus, the thought of people seeing it as some sort of laziness is beyond hurtful. It adds to the undying emotional restlessness because they do not know how exhausting everything is for such people with Lyme disease. There are still some individuals with Lyme disease that manages to stay positive about life, though. However, with those people who happen to experience a different level of anxiety, the way they see things are way out of line. Lyme disease can cause paranoia where there is suffering from an intense fear of being alone. That is because somehow, it pushes the negative thought of burden and unworthiness. With that, the feeling of isolation emerges. From there, the buildup of mental illness, particularly depression, crawls up in a fast-paced motion.

Having Lyme disease is a complicated struggle, and people often recognize it as an invisible chronic condition. Many times, you don’t often see its impact in your life because you get to think that everything that revolves around it is pretty much normal. You do not look sick, and all so people will never care to ask you if you are okay. Honestly, the pain and suffering from Lyme disease are indescribable. At times, you genuinely do not know why it is happening. There is no chance of knowing if the condition is really bad or that if you can shrug it off for the moment. All there is to think about is when something will jump out because there is this feeling that any time, there is something that is going to happen. It is always a constant struggle to physically adjust, emotionally relate, and mentally excuse yourself from anxiety and depression.

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How To Manage A Day With Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease requires a lot of lifestyle changes. You go from taking prescription pills to therapy, avoiding certain food and places, and determining the dos and don’ts of a particular task. All of these require specific goals. Most of the time, managing it can cause an entirety of physical, mental, and emotional stress. With that said, you need to encourage yourself to live life better, even if you are struggling with a chronic condition. Find the right reasons why you want to live. Surround yourself with individuals that truly care, love, and support you all the way your health journey.

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Insight

Everyone has something in their life that they deal with. It could be issues ranging from financial instability, family matters, work and school associated, and health-related problems. Thus, there is no point in overthinking about being alone for a second. It is essential to take care of the emotional and mental health because those are the most important aspects that can help someone get through Lyme disease.

Our Family’s Journey With Lyme Disease

It was seven years ago when I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. It was not that shocking for me because I never really thought it could change our lives forever. That time, I was not even scared at all. I am confident that, like any other mild fever and flue, I will soon get better. My family was genuinely worried about my health, but I was mind-boggled why they treated the news as a big deal. Currently, I am a grown-up teenager already. And now, I can say that it’s already clear why my family made a fuss over a disease I got seven years ago.

How I Got The Disease

The whole Lyme disease situation seemingly came out of nowhere. I was an active kid at school. I was a dancer and a baseball player. But one day, all of a sudden, my legs went numb. I began experiencing chills inside my body. There’s the exhaustion, joint pain, and even hair loss. That time I didn’t entirely understand what is going on. I thought maybe my body is failing me because of too many physical activities I do every day. That is for both at home and school. When my parents took me back to our house, I made sure to rest and be healthy as I can be. But resting on those days is the worse. I got bored and eventually became emotionally and mentally unstable.

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After a couple of days, my parents noticed that my condition is not getting any better. That is why they have decided to take me to the hospital. However, most doctors were unable to figure out what is wrong with me. And although some of them already suspected Lyme disease, they dismissed it due to the negative results on my blood tests. It was a sad moment for my family and me because experts couldn’t explain my situation. Some doctors even called it a psychological condition, and that maybe I was only trying to fake it. Honestly, it was so devastating when one of them tried to convince me that I should tell the truth that I was only making things up.

But fortunately, there was this one expert that sticks with me through my Lyme disease battle. It was then I tested positive for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. And on the first few weeks of treatment, I managed to move half of my body. And then a couple of days, I was able to feel my toes again. But as soon as I started to feel better, the treatment ended because my family can no longer afford it. That was the worst moment of my life because I thought I was going to stay hopeless forever.

 

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With all the emotional frustrations I have that day, I posted it on my social media account. It was a story of hopelessness and feelings of defeat. I was about to accept my faith that I will no longer experience the life I have always wanted. But a miracle happened. People from across the country offered some help. Some individuals even created a fund-raising that will gather enough money for me to continue my medication. I was so overwhelmed and happy that my darker days turn into light. My family didn’t waste any moment and scheduled me for another consultation and treatment. The process was so emotionally and mentally exhausting. But I was glad to get back to it.

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In My Family’s Busy Lives

It has become my family’s ritual to assemble and divide medications in our dining table. Although I had to take almost 70 pills a day, it doesn’t matter. These are pills and supplements prescribed by my doctor. These are necessary because my Lyme disease and other infections caused by it are severely damaging my body. My condition is worst that it crippled me. For the past years, I was often lying in my bed or sitting on a wheeled chair. My dad would carry me around the house if ever I intended to change locations from time to time. But that is okay. Yes, some of my lower body’s nerves are severely affected by the diseases, and I understand that it will take a while or even a couple of years for the nerves to regrow. But I am more than willing to wait for that to happen. Maybe not in a couple of years, but soon I will be able to move my lower extremities.

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For the past couple of years that I was hopeless, I now have the reason to fight. With proper physical therapy, continued medication, and my family’s support, I will soon be able to walk again. As I envisioned myself standing, it already makes me happy, excited, and motivated to get better. I wholeheartedly thank all those people who supported family and me throughout this Lyme disease battle.

Knowing The Difference Between Lyme Disease And COVID-19

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Summer season is here, yet we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this is also the season for Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness in the United States. This disease spreads through bites of infected ticks, and it could lead to permanent disability on our bodies if left untreated.

While these two diseases are different, some people mistook Lyme disease for COVID-19 and the other way around.

Here are some reasons why the symptoms of Lyme Disease and COVID-19 are confusing and the key features to distinguish between these two diseases easily.

What Makes COVID-19 And Lyme Disease Confusing

According to Jory Brinkerhoff, Ph. D, “Lyme, like other tick-borne diseases, is associated with general flu-like symptoms, [such as] fever, head and body ache fatigue. These are also symptoms of COVID-19.”

He added that “tick-borne diseases are not likely to cause respiratory symptoms like those seen in COVID-19, but there are certainly symptoms in common.”

Lyme disease’s early signs and symptoms include fever and chills, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. If left untreated, the last symptoms are severe headaches and stiffness, heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, etc.

On the other hand, some early signs of COVID-19 are dizziness, shortness of breath, fever and chills, nausea, muscle or body aches, fatigue, congestion, diarrhea, sore throat, etc.

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You can observe that some of Lyme disease symptoms look familiar because they overlap with the symptoms of COVID-19. But despite the similarities in the symptoms, doctors and scientists say that there are key symptoms that easily distinguish Lyme disease from COVID-19. 

How The Illness Enters The Body

One of the first vital differences between Lyme Disease and COVID-19 is its entry into our bodies. Cold viruses and coronavirus enter the body through the nasal passages and tissues, so the most infected parts of the body are those in the respiratory system.

However, tick-borne diseases like Lyme Disease enters the body through the skin and bloodstream; hence the symptoms appear on our skin and other organs inside our bodies.

Testing And Treatment Options

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There are two steps in testing for Lyme Disease, and both of which are blood tests. If both blood tests resulted positive, it is a definite diagnosis that you have Lyme Disease.

For COVID-19, it requires a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to detect if you have the RNA of the virus. The PCR test happens through swab tests or saliva samples. 

To protect yourself from acquiring Lyme Disease, doctors recommend limiting your exposure in grassy or wooded areas, such as forests. Since a bacterial infection causes Lyme Disease, antibiotics such as amoxicillin can fully recover a patient.

On the other hand, doctors suggest to limit close face-to-face contact with people outside, wash your hands immediately once you get home and wear face masks if you are out to prevent transmission of COVID-19. There is no approved treatment or vaccine yet to cure COVID-19.

Erythema Migrans Rash

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Erythema Migrans, also known as bullseye rash, is common among those who have Lyme Disease. 80% of the people suffering from this disease develop a rash around the tick bite, which resembles a bullseye.

This distinctive rash helps doctors to recognize that the person has Lyme Disease. The redness may feel warm to the touch, but it is itchy or painful, and it may appear on any part of the body. This symptom is not present in COVID-19. 

Worsened Symptoms for Lyme Disease 

Severe symptoms will appear if there are no early symptoms present that need treatment or left untreated. Lyme Disease can infect the skin, joints, muscles, nervous system, and heart rapidly. These symptoms may appear one to four months after the infection.

Some of these symptoms include conjunctivitis, swelling of the joints, facial palsy, multiple rashes appearing on the body, poor memory, and numbness in the arms or legs. These symptoms are usually not present in COVID-19 as well.

Know More About Lyme Disease And COVID-19

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we must protect ourselves whenever we go outside. This precautionary measure is crucial, especially to those who have Lyme Disease as they are more prone to the COVID-19 virus.

During this time, it is best to know both diseases to be prepared and be equipped with the necessary protection and medication for speedy recovery. 

How To Protect Yourself From COVID-19 If You Have Lyme Disease

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Countries all over the world are in high alert due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Various establishments and schools closed down, and governments issued stay at home orders to limit the spread of the disease. For people with Lyme disease, this can be an extremely stressful time as they are scrambling ways to protect themselves against the coronavirus.

Lyme disease and its accompanying co-infections can make your immune system more susceptible to catching contagious diseases. If you’re suffering from the devastating effects of Lyme disease, there are ways you can do to keep your health in good condition amidst the ongoing pandemic.

How Lyme Disease Increase People’s Risk On Contracting Coronavirus

Information about the COVID-19 and how it manifests in humans are still under study since it is a brand-new threat. Therefore, there is no definitive link that says people with Lyme disease are more at risk of the pandemic. Health professionals, however, do recognize that people with compromised immune systems are more likely to contract the virus.

Borrelia Burdorferi, the bacteria that generate Lyme disease, can impair certain aspects of your body’s natural resistance. The bacteria can take refuge in your body through the suppression of your antibodies. But, your immune system doesn’t entirely shut down. Your body will launch attacks continually to eradicate both Lyme disease and other “co-infections” microorganisms.

The low-level chronic inflammation burdens your immune system. It will have fewer resources to beat any new threats coming to your body. Your body’s immune response can eventually fail, leading to autoimmunity where your body will falsely attack itself.

This sequence of events can mean that your immune system, once infected, is less prepared to defend itself from the coronavirus. As of now, there are no known treatments and cures for the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, our immune system is our only guard to protect ourselves from it.

Protecting Yourself From COVID-19

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If you have Lyme disease, you must remain alert at all times and follow the necessary precautions. Listed below are some of the things you can practice to protect yourself from catching the disease.

  • Practicing social distancing prevents the spread of the disease. Avoid having close contact with people who are sick or who are around with people who are ill. Since people with no shown symptoms may still have the virus, do make sure that you’re six feet away (about two arms’ length) from other people. Social distancing is particularly crucial for people who are at higher risk of getting the virus. 
  • Don’t go outside frequently unless it’s necessary. Avoid joining mass gatherings or visiting crowded places. 
  • Clean your hands often with soap and warm water. Cover all surfaces of your hands and cleanse it for at least 20 seconds. If it’s not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer. Before touching the pathways in your body where the virus can enter, such as your eyes, mouth, nose, and ears, ensure that your hands are clean. 
  • Disinfect the regularly touched objects and surfaces in your home. These objects can be the tables, chairs, doorknobs, remotes, toilets, sinks, or light switches in your household. And of course, the one you’re probably holding the most while in self-isolation, your cell phone or tablet. The coronavirus can stay and live on surfaces for up to three days.

According to Jill Carnahan, MD, one of the best ways to avoid coronavirus for those with Lyme disease is through “Minimizing inflammation that can further tax your immune system.” Some of the effective ways to reduce inflammation are the following:

  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, high-quality protein, and healthy fats. Avoid eating sugar, simple carbs, or processed oils as it can elevate inflammation. The food you consume has a significant impact on the levels of the inflammation.
  • Prioritize high-quality sleep, rest with a minimum of 7-8 hours each day.  Sleeping on a comfortable mattress and pillows and keeping your room dark and cold allow you to have a relaxing nap.
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  • Emotional stress delivers hormones that add to the inflammation. Since stressors in your life can be unavoidable, you have to find healthy ways to cope with the weight you’re feeling. There are ways to manage your stress, such as exercising, meditating, journaling, or communicating with people closest to you. Moving your body can lower the inflammation in your system.

Whether there’s a pandemic or not, practicing these ways and minimizing inflammation can help you in coping with the stressful effects of Lyme disease. You can also support your immune system by taking antioxidants, immune-boosting supplements, and keeping your digestive tract healthy. Supporting your immune system will make you feel more lively and energetic as you go through this pandemic.

How Journaling Helps Lyme Disease Patients

Having Lyme disease entails that there will be a lot of days when you cannot leave the house, much less your bed. That is especially true if you have been diagnosed recently, and you are not used to the symptoms. All you can do is stay in a fetal position in the bedroom, cry over the pain that you feel everywhere, and not even want to eat anything.

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What dealing with days like that means is that you may always be in your head. You cannot talk about how you feel, or at least explain it to your loved ones. Even if you can, you may not have the energy to do so. It is a little fact that not everyone understands about Lyme disease patients.

The saddening result of the latter is that most of the emotions and thoughts remain stuck in the ill person’s mind. If they cannot get rid of them, the ideas may alter their brain function and cause anxiety, depression, and other conditions.

For all the reasons mentioned above, I tend to recommend journaling to people, ill or not. For Lyme disease patients, it is especially helpful as it will allow you to:

Say Everything Fearlessly

“They suggest that at least for fairly minor life problems, something as simple as writing about the problem for 20 minutes can yield important effects not only in terms of physical health and mental health, but also in terms of cognitive abilities,” Adriel Boals, PhD, says.

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The primary advantage of writing your thoughts – albeit privately – is that you can express anything fearlessly. If you want to curse yourself or the tick that has bitten and given you Lyme, you can do it. In case you wish to hate on every doctor who cannot recommend a long-term cure for your illness, no one still disagrees with you.

“There’s a lot of science grounding expressive language writing and journaling as being an extremely helpful piece for maintaining mental wellness,” says Deborah Serani, PsyD.

The journal is an extension of yourself. You have no reason to show it to anyone but yourself, so feel free to write everything on your mind.

Stop Worrying About Anyone’s Reaction

Autoimmune diseases do not pick when or where they will attack. It is always ideal if it happens before you leave the house because it means that other people won’t see you in pain. In case you feel the symptoms at work or in the train, though, you may keep on stressing over how others may react when you cry out loud all of a sudden.

Still, if you have a journal, you can write about what’s happening to you without worrying about anyone’s reaction.

Do Therapy On Yourself

According to Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP, “Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.”

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How difficult can it be to buy a $1 or $2 journaling notebook? You can also use any pen that may be rolling around in your house right now. When you combine such cheap tools with your thoughts, the former will not be noticeable at all. What matters is that you have channeled your deepest secrets from your head to the paper and do not need to carry it everywhere you go.

This alternative treatment may work better than other expensive forms of therapy. Not to mention, you will not feel shy about expressing your thoughts because the journal will be your sounding board, and you are your own therapist.

I don’t expect for you to see the positive change that journaling can do in your life but just wait a little. Clarity, peacefulness, and all those good things will come soon enough.

Happy journaling!

Ways To Keep A Breakup From Aggravating Your Chronic Disease

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Getting diagnosed with Lyme disease, an autoimmune condition that affects your entire body, is not a reason to find love. On the contrary, many people recommend being in a romantic relationship, considering it will give the patient a driving force to get past their medical obstacles. They will also have someone to turn to when they are in pain or too shy to ask their parents, friends, and other relatives for help.

The problem is, having Lyme disease does not exempt patients from heartbreaks. No matter how ill you may feel, after all, the hard truth is that some people will still not think twice before breaking your heart. Others may even decide to do it after finding out about your condition, assuming that you will not be a burden to them.

But you know, life must go on despite that. You cannot let a heartbreak destroy your self-confidence, especially now that you have an autoimmune disorder.

Here’s how to keep a breakup from aggravating your Lyme disease.

Avoid Crying For Days

According to Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., “It’s normal for us to need some time to ruminate and go over the break-up in minute detail when we feel like we were the one who was dumped. Break-ups can definitely qualify as traumatic events and telling and re-telling the break-up story is a relatively normal reaction if it was traumatic for you.”

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Crying is supposed to be suitable for cleaning your eyes and letting negative emotions out of your system. You can shed big, ugly tears for a day or two, but try not to cry again after that.

Tina Gilbertson, LPC, BC-TMH, says, “Reflect on the incident in private if you feel it’s unresolved. Don’t stress out if you can’t recapture the pain. Tears are like cats: You can’t lead them on a leash.”

If you are unaware of it, prolonged crying can stress you out so much. That is a typical factor that triggers all kinds of illnesses – Lyme included. The more you bawl your eyes out, therefore, the more the symptoms may bother you.

If you need help controlling your tears and sadness, you can always talk to an online therapist through the BetterHelp app, where your mental health is of utmost priority. Check out some client reviews or visit their official Twitter page to learn more about it. 

Change How You Think About The Situation

Aside from losing a special someone, many individuals cry post-breakup because they think that they will be single forever. That is especially true for people with chronic illnesses. They tend to think, “Who will love me now?” “I should have known that no one wants someone with an autoimmune disease.”

If you don’t want your condition to aggravate, you need to stop thinking of the situation that way. You are loveable – it’s your ex who doesn’t deserve your affection. There is nothing wrong with you – it’s the other person’s fault that they can’t love someone as strong as you are.

Don’t Think That You Can’t Find True Love

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The breakup that you have just experienced is nothing to cry about for many nights. Some may think that it’s insensitive of me to say that, but I believe that you cannot find real love if your ex has not become your ex. In a way, you should be thankful because you have known how shallow their feelings are for you early. Thus, you still have time to look for someone who will not base your worth on your physical condition.

Final Thoughts

Experiencing a heartbreak is a part of growing up. Adults even say that it is essential for everyone to go through with it at least once to prevent being gullible. However, I also know that it brings about the kind of stress that is not beneficial for any Lyme disease patient.

If someone breaks up with you now, therefore, think of the ideas mentioned above to keep the situation from aggravating your illness.

“Each relationship teaches us something about ourselves. It teaches us about what we want or do not want in a partner. With the ending of each wrong relationship, we are getting closer to the right one,” reminds Allison Abrams, LCSW-R.

Good luck!

Why Writing Is An Ideal Job For Lyme Disease Patients

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How is life treating you now that you are aware of your Lyme disease?
I know how difficult it can be. There may be days when you do not know which body part to scratch due to the rashes that have appeared all over you. At times, even breathing in and out may be painful because your muscles and joints seem to be on fire. And as if those symptoms are not enough, you may also experience chills, extreme fatigue, and headache.
The truth about Lyme disease – or any autoimmune disorder for that matter – is that no one knows when the episodes will occur and for how long. Sometimes you can go on for weeks without feeling any symptoms. Other times, however, it would be lucky if you can get a break for a day.
Because of all that, keeping your day job must be a real challenge. Having an understanding boss is great, yes, but they may not always be forgiving. After all, no employee wants to think that they are not getting what they are paying you for.

In case you want to let go of your day job but still need to make a living somehow, you should try writing articles or books.

Here’s why it’s beneficial for you.

It Is Not A Physically Taxing Profession

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Being a writer entails that you will mostly be working on a computer. You will ideally not have to go to different locations to get a story, unlike news reporters. All the information that you need can either come from your client or the internet.

What it entails is that you do not have to exert a lot of energy at work every day. That is a good thing because physical exhaustion may trigger the symptoms of Lyme disease and prevent you from finishing your projects.

You Can Share Your Story

Regardless of the genre or topics that get assigned to you, you can still find a way to share your story to the readers. For instance, if you have to write about garden stuff, you can talk about how to avoid ticks in the backyard. In case your task is make an article about autoimmune diseases, then you undoubtedly have something to share, too.

Writing is great because you won’t feel too shy to open up about your experiences. After all, the process may be no different from working on your diary. At some point, you may even manage to voice out your feelings freely.

You May Be Able To Work From Home

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Since you write via computer, your boss may not mind it if you want to work from home. As long as there’s internet connection in the house, you can send documents back and forth.

If we are honest, being able to work from home may be advantageous for you. You can write at your own pace and stop when you feel the symptoms. There’s no traffic for you to worry about as well, so you can focus on content creation.

Writing is probably one of the most underrated jobs out there. Without writers, though, people won’t have books to read or articles to get recipes or tips from. You should try it, especially if you have a condition like Lyme disease that keeps you from being physically active.

Good luck!

Hard Truths That Might Pull You Out Of Depression Post-Diagnosis

I have been a long-time fan of the American Ninja Warrior. Every time I would see the players and hear about their backstory, I would feel inspired to workout and work around my personal issues. Not to mention, it was thrilling to see men and women astound everyone with their strength and determination to climb up a tall wall without ropes or anything to hold on to.

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The thing is, one of the regular players named Elet Hall turned out to have Lyme disease. It was not something that you would expect from such a fit guy. But then he was great at explaining that anyone could have this autoimmune disorder, considering ticks could bite any person. The man was such an inspiration because that condition could put someone in so much pain. For Elet Hall to be able to do extreme workouts, therefore, was genuinely impressive.

Still, I knew that not all Lyme patients had the same attitude as that American Ninja Warrior. Many tend to get depressed post-diagnosis, especially since it’s no secret how difficult it is to live with an incurable disease. They cannot do anything other than wallow in pain or curse the heavens for giving them the disorder. Elvira Aletta, Ph.D. says that “Chronic illness means getting sick and being told it’s not going away, and that stinks. Our bodies have suddenly freaked out on us and we’ve lost control of the one thing we thought we could count on.”

In case you haven’t accepted your condition yet, here are a few hard truths that might pull you out of depression.

The World Won’t Stop Rotating Even If You Sulk Every Day

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Depressed individuals tend to feel anger towards everyone, even to the ones who are trying to care for them. It’s not that they are blaming the illness to those people. It’s just that they can’t seem to control their sulky attitude.

The truth, however, is that moodiness cannot do you any good. You may push your loved ones away instead of getting their sympathy.

Depression Cannot Make The Disease Go Away

Some people tend to act as well as if they cannot do anything through depression post-diagnosis.

Well, it is true that hearing a doctor say that you have an autoimmune disorder can be saddening. You have every right to be unhappy with the news. However, when your tears dry up, you should also realize that depression cannot cure you. If anything, it might make matters worse, so try to rein in your negative thoughts.

You Only Make Your Life Extra Difficult By Moping Around

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Depression makes life extra challenging, in the sense that it aggravates every symptom you experience. You may always be in your head, too, feeling sorry for yourself and thinking of how unlucky you are. Consequently, it also makes it hard for you to appreciate the people around you. Like what Barton Goldsmith, PhD. has illustrated, “It’s very hard to think of other people when you’re wrapped in a prickly blanket of sadness, and all you can think about is your own pain. Be proactive and just a few steps you need to heal. Try reading a book to help you understand what you are going through and how best to deal with it.”

If you want to at least lessen the number of times that you deal with the symptoms, you need to stop moping around. Not tomorrow – now. That way, you can think of ways to distract yourself when you’re in pain and, more importantly, live happily despite the disease.

Aside from this, you may also want to talk to one of the counselors from the online platform, BetterHelp. Here, you will be provided with sound and enlightening advice about caring for your mental health in several ways. Learn more about why the benefits of online therapy

Final Thoughts

Getting diagnosed with Lyme disease is not the end of the world. The diagnosis may shock and sadden you at first, but you should not allow it to depress you. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in that sorry state forever. In any case, always remember these words by Allison Abrams, LCSW: Depression has absolutely nothing to do with the strength of character, any more than cancer or any other disease does. It is brought on by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors that go beyond mood.”