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8 Things Only People Fighting With Lyme Disease Understand

8 Things Only People Fighting With Lyme Disease Understand

Lyme disease is the most common vector-born illness in the United States — and those who contract it can have a huge struggle to get back to health. Here are some important things to remember if someone you love is fighting this disease.

1. They Can Be In A Lot Of Pain

Pain in the muscles and joints — which is sometimes pretty severe — is a very common symptom of Lyme disease, and keeping that pain under control can be a real challenge.

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This chronic pain can make it hard to go to work, clean the house, or do other basic activities of everyday life. And pain relievers, whether over-the-counter or by prescription, all have side effects ranging from stomach irritation to liver impairment to becoming dependent.

2. They Can Also Suffer From Severe Fatigue

Some patients with this condition report that during the middle of a flare-up, they can often be so tired that it is all they can do to get out of bed in the morning. Many have to rest throughout the day and this can make it difficult for work, school, and other important aspects of living.

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3. They May Suffer From Anxiety and Depression

It is very common for those with Lyme disease to suffer from problems with anxiety and depression. This is not just because of the pain and fatigue this disease brings. It is also because the kind of bacteria that causes Lyme disease, known as a spirochete, can settle in the brain and cause these mental problems.

4. They Have Ups And Downs

One of the difficult aspects of Lyme disease is that it can flare up then settle into a period of remission. In other words, people will get better and actually feel good for months or weeks on end and think they have finally gotten over the disease, only to be hit with another bout of pain and fatigue. For many people, this is one of the most frustrating aspects of this disease.

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5. They Can Feel Isolated Or Lonely

Because of the nature of this disease, people who have it can have a hard time explaining their symptoms to others. And, because they do not always look sick, they find that sometimes other people think they are faking it or are not as ill as they really are. This can lead those with Lyme disease to feel lonely or to withdraw from others. This feeling of isolation is another difficult thing to cope with — and it can make the depression and other emotional issues worse.

6. They Are Often Misdiagnosed

Lyme disease can carry with it over 100 different signs and symptoms, some of which can easily be mistaken for other illnesses or conditions — and many doctors simply do not know enough about this disease to diagnose it easily. This is why many people often get a wrong diagnosis, which can delay the treatment that they need so badly. This can also cause their health to deteriorate, since they are not being treated for the disease itself.

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7. They Must Go Through A Long Treatment Process

Even once Lyme disease is diagnosed, that is only the beginning. The treatment process can take months and months of antibiotic therapy to complete, and that is not the only aspect of the treatment.

Those fighting this condition must also eat healthy, try to stay active, rest, and take supplements in order to work their way back to being healthy. And if this disease does go untreated, people who have it can feel its affects for a lifetime.

8. They Run The Risk Of Fatal Complications

Although this fortunately is rare, Lyme disease can sometimes be fatal if the spirochete invades the heart and causes a heart block. It is not a common complication, but one which can cause a great deal of anxiety nonetheless.

In short, although Lyme disease is only rarely fatal, it can cause significant emotional and physical problems and have a significant (and negative) impact on the lives of those who have it. Good emotional support from family and friends is important to get through this difficult condition.

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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