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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

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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