The Importance of Reaching Out If Lyme Disease Has Left You Feeling Suicidal
By Annie Perkins-Rosenberg
Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
The important message of this article is to help those out there who deal with the psychiatric manifestations, the judgments and the daily struggle of living life with a complex disease like Lyme. It can be heavy some days, and anyone can have dark questioning moments pass through their minds. When those moments do arise, it can be complicated to find someone to trust and to talk to. Quite often, Lyme patients are paying for treatments out of pocket and this does not leave much money left for proper psychiatric help. With the limited time in office visits with our doctors, there is not much time left to talk about how we are feeling emotionally, and our doctors are generally not trained psychiatrists, as much as we wish they were. With Lyme disease being largely unknown, others close to you may judge you and you may feel like there is no one left to talk to. Even if there is, the psychiatric disturbances the disease can cause can make you feel like there is no one out there who can understand you, no one who can listen to you and no one to reach out to, but there is. There always is.
One of the techniques the author used was Googling the suicide prevention hotline so she had a plan if things got dark. She also removed anything bothersome and overwhelming to her, set boundaries, learned to speak up, and found a small group of people on the same journey as her for comfort. She also reminded herself that each day she was getting better, that she was healthy and could beat this. When the dark thoughts came, she sought out help.
All, great advice.
The following abstract by Dr. Bransfield is telling:
LAD contributed to suicidality, and sometimes homicidality, in individuals who were not suicidal before infection. A higher level of risk to self and others is associated with multiple symptoms developing after acquiring LAD, in particular, explosive anger, intrusive images, sudden mood swings, paranoia, dissociative episodes, hallucinations, disinhibition, panic disorder, rapid cycling bipolar, depersonalization, social anxiety disorder, substance abuse, hypervigilance, generalized anxiety disorder, genital–urinary symptoms, chronic pain, anhedonia, depression, low frustration tolerance, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Negative attitudes about LAD from family, friends, doctors, and the health care system may also contribute to suicide risk.
By indirect calculations, it is estimated there are possibly over 1,200 LAD suicides in the US per year.
http:// Approx 1 Min
Robert Bransfield, MD, DLFAPA, private practice, Psychiatry, in Red Bank, New Jersey, discusses direct methods that can be used to acquire statistics related to suicides that are a result of Lyme and associated diseases
One of the best pieces of advice I got on the journey from another patient was, “don’t get depressed about being depressed.” In other words, accept the fact there will be dark days with dark thoughts. Don’t beat up on yourself over this. Accept it and look forward to tomorrow which will be better.
While the topics regarding Lyme/MSIDS are endless, dealing with pain and insomnia are two issues that can really help with mental health.
I would be amiss if I didn’t mention detoxing at this point as well as not detoxing properly can also lead to pain: