Let's talk Lyme and Anxiety Disorder for just a minute. I have struggled with severe and debilitating anxiety pretty much all my life, I just didn't truly understand it until I was diagnosed with Lyme. Since then, I've learned that Lyme and anxiety go hand in hand. It's often common for people to experience severe anxiety when they are battling Lyme, and the more you know about Lyme, the more that makes sense.
Lyme spirochetes are spiral shaped bacteria that can drill into any part of your body and infect any organ system, including your nervous system. When Lyme infects the nervous system this can be known as a neurological disorder that can cause many symptoms such as anxiety, depression, nerve pain, unpredictable rage, etc. Since we're all biologically individual and different, this infection of the nerves can affect each person differently. For me I experience intense anxiety, and although it has improved greatly since I was first diagnosed with Lyme, it is still a struggle and I have been on a long journey to find things to help remedy my pain.
With that said, here are the top five things that I have done to remedy my severe anxiety!
These are remedies. Not cures. These are not things that have cured my anxiety, but they sincerely help in taking the edge off and giving me clarity of mind. With Lyme you must have LOTS of tools in your toolbox to experience healing, and it doesn't occur in one moment, it's a long journey. So, if you're like me and you're looking for some things that could help along the way, here's what I do!
1. Pressure Points
A lot of you have probably heard of acupuncture. Acupressure is a similar concept except less evasive, and you can do it yourself. Simply apply light pressure with your pointer and middle finger to the pressure point and hold until you feel a pulse. Once you feel a pulse, hold for about a minute and that's it!
Here's the points you need to know for anxiety!
1. Point 1 is know as the third eye and is located between the eyebrows.
2. Point 2 are your temples and you can apply light pressure with your thumb and pointer finger with one hand, or you can apply pressure with your pointer fingers with both hands.
3. Point 3 is right underneath your nose and above your upper lip.
When you press these pressure points in your head, you're pulling blood back up into your head that your brain needs to be in balance and to function properly. It also is relieving built up pressure in your head that's brought on from stress and toxins in the body. This helps with calming the mind and the nervous system.
2. Chamomile Tea!
I love chamomile tea! It's super easy to make and whenever I drink chamomile tea it's almost like I can feel my whole body taking a breathe of fresh air and releasing some of the tension in my nerves! It's a wonderful way to take the edge off of anxiety!
*If you prefer a sweeter tea you can add more honey.
3. Essential Oil Inhalers
These are something I've been using that have been helping me A TON lately! The blend I use is something that I call "Calm My Nerves" and it really helps me to relax when I'm in the middle of an anxiety attack.
For this oil blend you will use:
6 drops lavender
6 drops geranium
3 drops roman chamomile
3 drops clary sage
3 drops of ylang ylang
For each inhaler you're just going to drop the oils into a small bowl (you can drop straight from the bottle, or if it's easier you can use the dropper that they come with) and then you role the wick in the oils long enough for it to absorb the oil. (Each wick can hold about 20 drops of oil) and then you put the wick inside the glass part of the inhaler, and then insert the glass holder into the colored part of the inhaler and your done! I always label mine to know which blend is which.
You can buy essential oil inhalers on Amazon, and they are AMAZING! This blend is especially helpful for social events and places with lots of people if you have social anxiety because they can just be slipped into your purse or pocket and then used discretely when needed. I also keep one of mine on my night stand next to my bed to help me sleep if I'm struggling with night panics or painsomnia.
4. Lay Off The Sugar!
This is less like a remedy, and more like an overall suggestion. I was an absolute sugaraholic when I was a teenager! Chocolate, candy, dessert, and anything rich was my favorite thing, and little did I know that my severe anxiety in high school had a direct correlation to all the sugar that I was consuming!
When I quit all refined sugar at age 18 my panic attacks went from 3-4 a day to 3-4 a week. It's sounds awful, but given the terrible state that I was in, it was quite the improvement! Then as I continued detox and other changes to my diet I am now at the point where I generally only have a couple of panic attacks a month, and my anxiety is still a problem, but it's bearable. One thing is for sure, if you struggle with an anxiety disorder of any kind, processed sugar is your enemy! Quitting sugar was one of the best things I ever did for myself, and I'm never going back! Trust me, when you give up sugar, your nerves will love you for it because sugar feeds the bacteria that's causing the anxiety in the first place.
For sugar substitutes I use:
5. Just Breathe!
One thing that I tend to do when I'm having an anxiety attack is to stop breathing, or breathing only when absolutely necessary. It's important to always remember to breathe deeply when you're feeling anxious because your brain and nerves need oxygen in order to function properly.
One of the breathing techniques that I use for anxiety is Alternate Nostril Breathing. This form of breathing helps to balance the two sides of your brain, calms the nervous system, and relieves tension brought on by stress and toxins. It's also a great way to help the body prepare for meditation!
This is how you practice alternate nostril breathing:
For this post Chronically Beautiful teamed up with the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago Illinois to bring you information on chronic forms of headaches, migraines, and abdominal migraines. We also hope to give you information on diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. The following story is my personal experience with migraines, and abdominal migraines, and I have high hopes that we can openly spread some light on the subject and spread the message of hope for healing!
I was born with Chronic Lyme disease, but I didn't know until I was about eighteen years old. The Lyme spirochetes settled in my stomach, to begin with, and I suffered from what I believe to be abdominal migraines for about three years of my childhood. I recall many days of school missed, lots of doctor and hospital visits, and an entire summer where all I could manage to do was stay on a couch watching TV, playing video games, or reading a book. Those years of my childhood were my first taste of what Lyme disease had to offer me. Little did I know the long battle that I had ahead of me. I personally believe that abdominal migraines can be a symptom of Lyme disease, therefore making the root cause of my pain the bacteria slowly eating away at my digestive system. After some dietary changes and a lot of suffering later, I believed for a while that I had simply "grown out" of my severe and consistent stomach pain and I was ready, as a pre-teen, to face the world head-on. Unfortunately, you never really grow out of Lyme disease. You simply build your immune system enough so your body can handle the high amount of toxins in your system. I guess for awhile, my immune system kicked into full gear, and I was okay.
As a young teenager, I recall many moments when I would be sitting in a church meeting, and all of sudden the speaker standing at the podium in front of me would appear to be fuzzy and blurry. I recall large black dots forming on their face, on the walls, and everywhere around me. I recall going home with the feeling of knives shooting through my brain. I'd come home to puke, and then sleep until the pain eased up. I did this a lot as a young teenager. Unfortunately for me at the time, there wasn't a doctor that I went to that had an answer to my mysterious and seemingly random health problems. I simply had to endure the pain. And when the medication didn't work or made me worse, there didn't seem to be relief. There didn't seem to be an answer. My first tastes of Lyme disease were very bitter. And at the time I had no idea what I was actually tasting.
The good news is that I've discovered now that there are things we can do to help symptoms and illnesses such as migraines and chronic headaches. Suffering from any form of a chronic migraine I know from experience is very real and very painful. Today we have alternative forms of help and lifestyle change that can improve our quality of life through chronic conditions like this. For more information on migraines and headaches, please view the following presentation provided for us by the Diamond Headache Clinic. We appreciate their help and commend them for striving to help people who suffer from painful conditions such as abdominal migraines and chronic headaches. May we ever keep trying to find hope for healing and healing methods that help to heal the mind, heart, and body as a whole.
"What's Lyme disease?"
"Are you contagious?"
"So what do you eat?"
"That's super sad that you don't eat sugar!"
"Does your disease come from limes?"
"So I googled your disease...."
"You actually drink that?"
"Why are you on a diet?"
"Well at least it's not cancer!"
"I think you should see a counselor!"
"So are you on any medications for your problems?"
Believe it or not, these are all questions and comments that I've received at one point or another along my journey of health and wellness! It never ceases to amaze me how uneducated the human race is about the health crisis in America, all the different conditions that people can suffer from, and how we're completely unaware of how to help these issues.
Yes! I said it! WE HAVE A HEALTH CRISIS IN AMERICA! And the scariest part about it is that most people are completely unaware of how our health is quickly plummeting to a state where obesity, diabetes, cancer, and chronic illness of all kinds are running rampant in our society. Feeling sick is the new norm, and trends of "it's normal to feel sick" are increasing more and more every day.
I will be the first person to say that
It's not normal to be tired all the time!
It's not normal to be hungry right after you just ate!
It's not normal to have frequent occurrences of short-term memory loss!
It's not normal to have frequent headaches and stomach upset!
It's not normal to be riddled with anxiety and depression all the time!
It's not normal to have frequent gas and bloating!
And it's not normal to feel sick on a regular basis!
These are all frequent symptoms that many people suffer from, and they are a result of our bodies crying out for help because of the toxins that we are so heavily saturating our society with. Ultimately, it's heartbreaking, and here at Chronically Beautiful we are dedicated to busting myths about health and illness, educating the public about healthy lifestyle and how to reduce these symptoms, and ultimately opening up the conversation about illness so that we can have enlightening and positive conversation in a way that helps us to see what our bodies are really trying to tell us.
We live in the "no shame" culture where we highly discourage fat shaming, pornography shaming, and anything that can "make people feel bad." But behind closed doors, we shame the things that are for our benefit and well being all the time! As human beings, we use health shaming as a way to make us feel better about our own unhealthy lifestyles, when in the grand scheme of things we're damaging our bodies and minds by speaking and thinking so negatively about healthy whole food, exercise, abundance, vitality, and overall balance and well being. It's time for a paradigm shift! It's time to start talking positively about health and wellness, and it's time to realize that people who choose not to each fast food hamburgers and pizza all the time are not making a personal insult to you for choosing to eat those things.
To the average person, illness and disease is an uncomfortable topic. It's something we stay hush hush about because it's "too personal" or "too private." But the average sick person will tell you differently. The average sick person has to beg for someone, anyone, to ask about our lives. To reach into our hearts! To offer to listen! The heartbreaking epidemic in America isn't just about the illness our bodies house, it's about the breaking of hearts and the lack of connection that is taking place that all comes down to one root cause: The health crisis in America.
So my message to you today is to STOP MAKING HEALTH SO TABOO! We all have human bodies. We all suffer. We all stress. We all have insecurities. We all have good days and bad days. So why can't we take our physical imperfections and our own unique individual experiences and use them to create a movement that can change lives and hearts for the better! Let's make health less taboo. Let's talk about it. Let's ask people how they're feeling, and then answer honestly. Let's get educated! Let's not mock those who are striving for good health by drinking green juice or saying no to Mt. Dew! Let's stand together. And let's make a difference!
Health may be an uncomfortable topic. But we weren't brought to this life to be comfortable all the time. We were brought here to struggle, sting, and hurt at times, so ultimately we can learn and become stronger than we ever imagined! Strength happens when we stand together. Healing happens when we all begin to be on the same page. My hope is to bring hope and healing in all aspects of life in order to feel more deeply and discover a deeper level of pure joy. May we all be striving to find that joy together through health and wellness.
Welcome to the Journey!
Health is not a destination, it is a journey! And for Chronic Illness warriors like myself, it's been one long, painful journey! I've learned so much about health and wellness along the way, and my hope is to share my experience with those who are so desperately seeking for answers to the mystery that is chronic illness. My goal is to raise awareness for debilitating illness all over the world, and then share a worldwide message of hope and healing ahead. I hope to bust some myths about illness, and spread my passion for truth into the hearts of those who need it. Most importantly, I hope to build a community of chronically beautiful people who need to know that they are never alone in their suffering. Together, we can knit hearts together, and fight a good fight knowing that there is a source of rescue and happiness ahead.