Non-toxic environment

Clearing Out Your Toxic Environment To Overcome Lyme Disease

You've taken the prescribed medications, followed the herbal protocols, been religious with your diet, but you’re still not feeling great.

Maybe you’ve spoken to your Lyme-literate doctor or healthcare team about further testing and maybe something just keeps getting missed.

However, the answer may be simpler than you think. Lyme and other coinfections are multifaceted and complex persistent infections that can wreak havoc on your body. And part of that havoc is how it affects your immune system, hormone system and sleep pattern.

This is why I tell my patients to listen to their bodies and pay attention to those cues when something isn’t working well for you, so you can make the necessary changes.

But one of my big lessons from having Lyme disease was that it was not really about my diagnosis. It’s been about healing from within.

At the time of my relapse, I was not sleeping well, eating well and was stressed out. It was my reminder to look at my environment and pay attention to the things that were helping me heal or breaking me down.

Whether it’s Lyme disease or another chronic illness, it is important to examine your environment and ask what it is you need in order to heal.

 

Clean Environment

Focus on Your Environment to Promote Healing

How can I get my body to work with me and not against me? Because another part of overcoming any chronic illness is giving your body a safe place to heal.

This is when your environment comes in. It includes everything from the home you live in to the people you surround yourself with. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a clean, safe environment to help you on your journey toward wellness.

Toxic building and toxic people undermine your immune system and make it more difficult to get well.

I am a big fan of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up, where she focuses on helping people clear out their clutter. For the sake of your health, here are some steps you can take to help clean up the toxic clutter in your life:

 

Toxic Perfume Products

Remove Toxic Products

Get rid of toxic products around your home, such as air fresheners, perfumes, bathroom cleaners, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that might be harmful to your health.

Many of these chemicals contain ingredients that damage your immune system, nervous system and are endocrine disruptors that make it more difficult to get well.

 

EMF Radiation

Reduce Your EMF Exposure

Turn off the WiFi when not needed and reduce your EMF exposure.

While we live in a technological world and its almost impossible to function without our smart devices, but the added EMF’s may be too much for some sensitive individuals.

Try to avoid using wireless devices, like cordless phones, Bluetooth earpieces and cell phones (holding up to your ear).

Try using corded products instead that have less EMF’s.

 

Healthy Relationships

Focus on Healthy Relationships

Distance yourself from friends or family who are in disbelief of your illness.

Lyme is a complicated illness and for those who have not been in our shoes, is hard for them to understand our invisible illness.

Having healthy relationships with people who are supportive is more beneficial than hanging on to toxic relationships that only make you more stressed and feel worse than you already do.

 

Support Network

Build a Support Network

Find a positive support network that makes you feel welcome and help reduce your feelings of anxiety or depression.

Depending on the way you process your feelings, a support network could be one that is a bit more serious, while others may be better for those to choose to integrate humor as therapy.

This can include online support networks, a private therapist or even a close friend. Find what works for you.

In Conclusion

Lyme Disease thrives when the immune system is dysfunctional. Take these small steps to start a better path to healing. Lyme Disease is not just about the diagnosis. Lifestyle changes, both physical and mental help improve your quality of life. The key is listening to your body, believing what you are experiencing and building an environment of hope and wellness. Give yourself permission to heal.


Couple holding hands

When Lyme Takes A Toll On Relationships: How To Find Love & Happiness When You're Chronically Ill

It is no surprise that stress and poor health go hand in hand as one tends to precede the other. Physical, mental and emotional stress can wear on a person’s physical body and feeling terrible everyday can be equally stressful and lead to its own set of problems. When you are living with chronic Lyme disease or other persistent illness, you do your best to put on a happy face, go about your day and try to function in the world. We’ve been trained to pull up our boot straps and “toughen up” and being vulnerable is a sign of weakness. But this is the reality many of us have faced or continue to deal with every day.

What the world often does not see is the pain we experience, the numbness in our limbs, the fogginess in our brain and the tears we hide from our loved ones. Despite our best efforts to feel well, progress can be slow or sometime even worse with certain treatments. We often rely on others to lean on in times of need for various degrees of assistance. But perhaps no one feels this more than our spouse, partner, boyfriend or girlfriend who share our lives together daily.

I have seen many people with Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses over the years have difficulty maintaining a long-term relationship or developing a new one. The stress of caring for someone with Lyme disease can leave them feeling angry, resentful, helpless and sometime hopeless. “Why don't you just get better?”. “You need to get over it”. “You look fine. I don’t see anything wrong with you”. “Why are you always so tired? Can’t you just get more sleep?”, “Just snap out of it!” Any of this sound familiar? The expectations can be shattered when you don’t fit the image of what your loved one thinks you should be capable of and this often leads to disappointment, anger and blame.

So how do you keep your current relationship healthy, despite your health issues or how do you cultivate a new relationship while working on getting well? I wish I could say it’s easy, but it’s not. It takes a lot of work from both sides to make it work. But here are my tips to working toward a healthy, happy relationship with your significant other.

1. Be honest. Tell your partner how you are feeling and have ongoing communication about what you can do and take on. I think many of us feel the need to shield our partner from how we feel to protect them or to make us appear stronger than we are. This doesn’t help either person and can lead to an unrealistic expectation of your abilities. Best to have that honest conversation so that they know how you’re doing and feeling and can understand you better.

2. Stand in their shoes. As much as they need to empathize with you, you need to have the same understanding for them. They will never fully understand what you feel daily, so don't expect them to. I can tell you from experience that watching someone you love suffer is miserable and extremely stressful. Your partner suffers in their own way, whether they share those feelings with you or not. This is hard on both of you and acknowledging their suffering can go a long way in developing a deeper understanding of one another.
3. Get outside help. I see this being the problem most often in couples that are more isolated and have a small to nonexistent support network. As much as your partner loves you, they probably didn't anticipate being your ongoing doctor, therapist, psychiatrist, etc. I have seen the most supportive, loving partners reach their breaking point where they can no longer handle being the sole supporter during your recovery. Having a good professional on your team can help take the stress off your partner’s shoulders.

4. Find a local support group. There is strength in numbers and being able to share your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment with others who have similar struggles can be a relief and encouraging. You have a place where you meet regularly to help others and be helped. If you don’t have a local group that meets on an ongoing basis, there are several online groups available as well. I prefer the face to face meetings and the human connection can be more powerful, but I talk with so many people who are isolated that an online group can be a fantastic way to connect with others. Find what works for you and gives you that space to connect with others.

5. Have fun together. When you are feeling unwell, it’s easy to forget that you and your partner probably used to do things together that was fun. Find those things that bring you both joy, whether it is watching a funny movie, enjoying a meal out, riding bicycles, hiking or even playing a board game together. The important thing is you connect with one another emotionally and bring enjoyment into your lives.

Lyme disease creates so many physical and emotional challenges for us and it’s important that our partners walk with us during our road to recovery. I’ve seen marriages and long term relationships fall apart in the face of chronic illness and sometimes we have to let go of relationships that no longer meet our needs or might even be toxic. Underneath the veil of Lyme disease is a loving, caring person who has so much to offer to the right person. Take these steps so you and your partner understand each other well and enjoy a fulfilling life together!