- At her worst, Angela’s weight plummeted to five-and-a-half stone
- She attempted suicide in hospital because she was so sick of being ill
- Doctors said her reactions to the pain was a mental illness
A woman says she was detained under the Mental Health Act for months after the NHS failed to spot she has Lyme disease.
Angela Bean says she’s spent 20 years of her life suffering so severely with the tick-borne illness it forced her to lose her home, husband and job.
The 53-year-old says NHS doctors told her her symptoms were imagined. She says feeling so ill and not being believed for so long caused her to attempt suicide while in hospital.
She was then sectioned and diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder (SSD), a mental illness when people show excessive distress about their health.
Angela’s weight had plummeted to five-and-a-half stone – and hospital staff held her hands down and force-fed her milk, which she’s allergic too, she claims.
It took decades before Angela – who has spent £200,000 seeking answers – tested positive for Lyme through a clinic abroad.
Campaigners say that many times the bacterial infection – which can mimic many illnesses – isn’t diagnosed until it is in its late stages. At this point, left untreated it can spread and lead to inflammatory arthritis, meningitis and even heart failure.
“I was told from the beginning that my symptoms were all in my head,” she told i. “I feel like there’s just no understanding about Lyme in the UK and I was just left to die.”