Things are not always as they first seem with Lyme and Autoimmune disease. That’s one of the most important things I’ve learned as a Lyme Literate Counselor. Over time, you learn to dig deeper, investigate causes, and connect the dots. Here are a few ‘Aha’ moments I’ve had:
Trauma and Lyme/Autoimmune is very much connected
On the road to getting effective counseling, emotional or traumatic experiences sometimes pop up. Many times patients are unaware of the toll that trauma or other stressors take on their physical health. This allows the Lyme/Autoimmune infection to gain ground when the body’s immune system is in a constant state of fight or flight.
Stress hormones have been found to inhibit the production of cytokines, the agents of the immune system that respond to danger. This causes these cells to overreact and create an inflammatory response that is exaggerated, creating a larger problem than the original perceived danger. Unresolved emotional issues and negative emotional patterns can put a huge stress on the immune system. The body maintains this fight or flight mode by pumping the body with adrenaline and other stress hormones. While short term exposure to adrenaline allows the body to do tremendous things, long term exposure is detrimental to your health. Clearing these emotional issues can release the immune system from suppression.
Clients often come in for emotional counseling, unaware it stems from physical illness
I often see clients seek therapy for their depression, anxiety, or lack of sleep, unaware that their mental health symptoms stem from an autoimmune illness. To become well, the body must be rid of the bacteria. Counseling alone won’t resolve the bacterial infection. A clinician who understands the difference and realizes their client is not mentally ill can be the best advocate to help them obtain proper treatment.
Antibiotics need a wing man
Antibiotics are an important tool in the fight against Lyme/autoimmune disease. But it works best alongside an advocate who understands the patient and is educated on potential hindrances. One example is MTHFR, a genetic mutation. People with Lyme/autoimmune often have this genetic abnormality, which complicates their body’s ability to detox. This is why long term antibiotics alone are not effective. Patients with this issue usually have accumulated heavy metals into their system, which makes eradicating the disease more difficult.
Therapies traditionally used for emotional problems can do wonders for Lyme/Autoimmune:
EMDR—Eye movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a proven therapy for trauma, anxiety, phobias, illness, panic attacks, PTSD and many other emotional problems. EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation, which repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are “trapped” in the nervous system. This detoxes the neuro-physiological system, lets it free itself of blockages, and reconnect.