Lyme Trauma Vortex
Healing from chronic Lyme disease is an often complex and difficult journey. Many of my patients have seen countless doctors and healers and spent thousands of dollars. Antibiotics, herbs, energy healing techniques, clearing the body of heavy metals, toxins, and parasites have helped some in one way or another. But for others, the improvements sometimes stall and patients feel stuck, hopeless, and helpless. The general trend among those of us on the front lines who are dealing with these challenging issues is to dig deeper, looking for other infectious/inflammatory processes. These include looking for and treating co-infections (Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, etc.), mold biotoxin illness, or Epstein Barr Virus, to name a few.
While I do all of the above, something else that I have noted over the years is that Tick Borne Illnesses often either trigger or reactivate trauma in the body. I believe that people who have had significant trauma in their lives are more likely to be devastated by Lyme and co-infections. I call it the Lyme Trauma Vortex (LTV). In my experience, the trauma can pre-date the Lyme or stem from the “treatment” itself; the process of diagnosis and treatment in a medical system that victimizes and shames the sick can be so traumatizing that a person develops Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from that experience. It also can be a bit of both. In either case, part of the healing process includes recognizing the significance of trauma and its impact on our immune system and our overall health.
Trauma has direct impact on the brain and causes significant changes in brain chemistry and neural pathways. These changes in neurotransmitters can have a direct impact on the immune system (Psychoneuroimmunology is the field that studies this relationship). Finding a technique to process trauma can be very effective in helping the brain re-wire. Psychotherapy on its own is often not particularly effective in this situation. Some tools for trauma that I have found to be helpful include: Eye Movement Desensitization and Re-Processing (EMDR), Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) based on the work of Stephen Porges, and Somatic Experiencing based upon the work of Peter Levine. Another process for trauma that has great promise is MDMA assisted therapy, which is in Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of PTSD through MAPS.org. The common denominator of all of these techniques is that they release the grip of trauma on the nervous system and allow for more spaciousness in the psycho-neuro-energetic field.
In short, it is important to look at chronic illness in its entirety. It is easy for an illness to become part of one’s identity, especially if trauma is part of the picture. Healing the trauma is an essential part of re-establishing well-being.