My Battle With Chronic Lyme Disease Part Two
Mental Health, Diet, and Self Love
My Lyme Disease journey has been a bit of a roller coaster, but I am lucky and excited to have a platform to share it on and hopefully help and inspire others. Part two of this blog series is to give you an insight into what saved me, both physically and mentally and what others can do, with or without Lymes, to benefit their overall health.
I started to take antibiotics for almost 6 months when I was first diagnosed. I was back and forth on so many different types, many that would make me so sick to my stomach I would be laying in bed for hours waiting for it to pass. The medicine wasn’t making all of my symptoms go away and every time I got the test re-done, it was still coming back positive. So I decided it was time to try something else. That something else ended up changing my entire life.
I never knew how much your mental stability and health could affect your physical health until I started to go to a doctor who introduced me to the idea that these go hand in hand. After 2 rounds of shingles, and the second rounds pain lasting me months and months, my attitude and drive were very low. I was very hard on myself mentally and tried to push my body past its breaking point. I began to follow a routine that helped me realize how much organization, journaling, keeping track of how you feel, and practicing habit tracking can help your overall mental health.
I had to create a plan that worked for me and this included all of these things. However, it was very scattered. I had several journals with health tracking and journaling and a work/life planner that I brought with me everywhere. For any friends reading this, you probably didn’t notice these, but I was very consistent with keeping track and writing everything down. Why? Because I started to see patterns of what was working and what wasn’t. I started to see that if I wrote things down that I was feeling or doing, I was realizing things I didn’t need to be holding in. It wasn’t until about two months ago that I finally found a product that held everything I use to do for my mental health in one. Silk and Sonder, a monthly planner, journaling, and so much more subscription, was exactly what I needed during my worst Lyme days. Luckily I can still use it now to stay on track and make sure I am keeping up with the routines that I built that helped bring my mental and physical health back to normal.
Alright this was the hardest part for me. I love a good pizza, ice cream, and wine night just as much as the next person and realizing how much food can impact my health really hit me hard. The same doctor who taught me a lot about mental health and self love with a disease like this, also taught me what putting certain foods in my body could do to me.
Lyme Disease can feed off of sugars. Sugar can suppress your immune system. Sugar can reduce the body’s ability to defend against bacterial infection. And so on and so on. I always knew sugar was bad for you, but until I started to research more and more after my doctor told me I needed to cut sugar out of my diet, I didn’t know the horrifying affects it was having on my already weak body.
My official diet for over 5 months:
Limited to no sugars
Limited to no carbs
Limited to no dairy
Limited to no alcohol -- This was hard for a 20 something wanting to live a normal life
Limited to no processed foods -- This was hard for a 20 something who never use to cook…
Cowden Protocol -- This is what I was taking from an alternative medicine perspective during this period of diet change
I decided the best route for me to follow was a paleo diet, as this fit well with the limitations I was suggested to follow. The Cowden Protocol had me taking several drops of tinctures in my water 4-8 times a day, depending on the stage I was in throughout the 5 months. I ended up doing this protocol for 7 months and eating to the best of my ability after the first 5 months. I still try to eat paleo as much as I can as I know it not only makes me feel healthier in general, if I start to have certain symptoms again, it will be easier to jump back into the protocol and following this diet.
Wanting some of my favorite paleo recipes? A blog post will be coming soon!
This goes hand in hand with mental health, but there were practices I started to follow that assisted with my mental health through self love.
Self Love Practices: (My doctor gave me this very list and told me to focus on these daily and my self love and mental health would affect my overall physical health. She was right)
Laughter (2 points per hearty laugh each day, up to 6 points total) -- LOL yes you can laugh at this but when you are going through a tough spot in life this is good to try to remember to go out and do something that will make you laugh and help boost your positive vibes
Positive attitude/gratefulness/giving spirit (7 points)
Daily prayer or meditation (7 points) -- I wasn’t the best at this, but I tried. Mel has been doing more meditation and using an app for this!
Daily exposure to sunlight for 10 more minutes (5 Points) -- This is huge for me! I really worked to make this happen and I swear the sunshine can do amazing things for you.
Daily exposure to fresh air/deep breathing exercise (4 Points) -- More or less get outside ladies!
Healthy relationship and social network (5 Points) -- YES. Toxic relationships/friendships are not good for anyone. It can take a toll on your body and I learned that letting go of some people didn’t make me a bad person it let me focus on what was good and healthy for my life. Nothing wrong with self love!
Daily giving and receiving hugs (2 points per hug)
Total Positive Score: XXX
All in all I learned a lot about how food and mental health can affect your overall health. While I am healthy and feeling great these days, I still practice this all, making sure my body is ready in case I do start to have symptoms pop up again.
I actually have a little booklet of food ranking points along with the self love point system above. If anyone is interested in a copy of it, I can send it along, just ask! It’s called The Lyme Diet, but again a lot of these practices are across the board for a healthy body and mind. I now use my Silk and Sonder monthly planner to help track these habits and keep my life in order without obsessing over them and worrying if I reached my goal for the day.
Once again, thank you for following along and I am excited to keep up with Lyme related and health blogs as we progress!
Good Vibes and Self Love, Del