In light of recent events in the Lyme community I’d like to share some resources for anyone, but especially Lymies, what to do if (when) you feel suicidal. I am always a little hesitant to write about suicide because I think it will stir up worry in those who know me. I hope my thoughts are clearly presented so you can see where my heart is.
“Lyme Disease is such a devastating disease. It is so easy to become isolated and desperate with the never ending symptoms that Lyme Disease causes. Not to mention the abandonment of friends and family, and the rejection of the medical community. If you are feeling this way please reach out. There are lots of groups that can help. It can be hard to reach out, or even embarrassing. But those are NOTHING compared to the loss that your family and friends will feel if they lose you. So please reach out to others. Other Lymies will understand. I’ts okay to feel lonely, depressed, angry, or alone. These are real feelings just as happiness, joy, and all those are. But remember this is an infection in your brain making you feel this way. It may be just temporary. Try to hold on. You never know what is around the corner.” -WhatIsLyme.com
One rational that has helped me is knowing I feel helpless and overwhelmed is a huge indicator of being over-toxic. My first go to when the bad thoughts come flooding in is immediately start a coffee enema and use my ETS drops then I watch something funny on my computer, pray for relief and replay a night where my husband really demonstrated his strength to me when I was at the end of my rope…
In a past blog post I wrote about the bad thoughts flooding my mind:
<My husband> saw me come out of the bathroom and was concerned. He sat on the side of my bed holding my hand. He said EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR: “We will get through this. Let’s focus on getting through tonight.” He walked me through some breathing exercises and gave me some medicine (ETS drops and lorazepam) to help with my anxiety. He continued to hold my hand and just started praying for me. He thanked God for this situation, even though we don’t understand it at all. He prayed that the thoughts would leave my brain. He prayed that there would be an end to all of this and that we would be able to manage the treatment until we were done. – Me
If you have followed my blog for a while you know suicide is not a topic I shy away from. I am all about calling it out and talking about it. I have some good experience dealing with depression and suicide both personally and professionally. In middle school I learned statistics about it and lost a few classmates over the years. I served at a bereavement camp a few years working with kids who had lost loved ones to all types of death, including suicide. In college, I took a class to know the signs of a suicidal person and how to talk to someone at a dark place in their life and do a suicide assessment. As I continue to get better, I wonder where God will use this skill set in my life. The class I took in college changed my life. I’ve since had the honor of speaking with a couple people nearing the end of their rope and being with them in those awful moments. I’m not afraid to talk about it. I think that our society puts a big social stamp on suicide that it’s a bad thing to talk about which only worsens the problem with someone who is in a dark spot.
Tonight, I heard a Lymie, we will call Sam, to protect their identity. Sam was having a very difficult time and ready to cut his/her losses after graduating earlier today. There was nothing left for them to live for. He/she reached out to the Lyme community and was showered with support because my fellow Lymies are pretty amazing. I don’t know if it was enough to save Sam’s life or what the following weeks, months and years will bring. But I do know suicide is real and it is even more real for people with Lyme disease who are on crazy amounts of meds killing bugs and processing the medications leaves SO MANY TOXINS that have to come out. When they stay in they wreck havoc, like tonight after graduation with Sam.
Suicide is something I take extremely serious.
Before I was diagnosed, I learned about the crazy statistics of people who are diagnosed with Lyme disease and the high numbers of them who take their own lives (I wish I could remember where I learned it). I couldn’t understand how life could get so hard, but now I can say with all assurance, I get it. But I also know the Lyme community is committed and banded together to fight Lyme and everything that comes with it, including suicidal thoughts, 24/7.
I once read a post recently from a fellow Lymie, they said, “Please tell me I’m not the only one who has the Suicide Prevention line on speed dial.” The comments that followed were supportive and I commend those people who are reaching out.
Here’s what I have come to understand about the connection between Lyme and suicide…Lyme is not recognized by most doctors, many insurance companies, and is extremely controversial in the medical community. There is no clear cure for Lyme. Testing and treatment are expen$ive! Most people with Lyme can not maintain a job. Relationships are tested and many do not survive. Fighting Lyme is a marathon not a sprint. No one knows if the finish line will be four months away or ten years away. What works for one person likely will not work for someone else. It is complicated, frustrating and scary. The disease is painful. Mixing all this up over a period of time and it is a recipe for a person with Lyme disease, who feels awful, to see suicide as the only option.
Crisis Chat: This service is available within the United States and territories from 2pm to 2am seven days a week. If all chat specialists are busy assisting other visitors you will be asked to try the chat again in a half hour. If the chat service is not open we encourage you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255): Suicide hotline, 24/ 7 free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers.
Suicide Hotlines: A list of all suicide hotlines
International Suicide Prevention (ISP): is a worldwide directory of suicide prevention hotlines, online chat, text-lines, and resources.
***Also, you can help friends and loved ones by reporting suicidal content on Facebook. The person who posted the suicidal comment will then immediately receive an e-mail from Facebook encouraging them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or to click on a link to begin a confidential chat session with a crisis worker.
Post Secret: Encourages people to send in their secrets via postcard or electronically through their app. Don’t keep your secrets to yourself. Get it out there. Confidentially. No one has to know it came from you, but please get it off your chest. Send your postcard to:
Save.org: Suicide AWARENESS Voices of Education