“Knowledge is power”
-Sir Francis Bacon
This quote is important when trying to understand what a family member or friend is experiencing when suffering from chronic Lyme disease. To understand their condition, you need to be aware that chronic Lyme disease is hard to detect by medical professionals and even more so by a non-medical population. Symptoms can vary among those suffering from the illness.
Be patient when talking to someone who suffers from Lyme disease because sometimes they are operating in a brain fog. Lyme disease attacks the nervous system of an individual and this makes it hard for them to concentrate on the conversation you are having or remembering things that normally they would not have prior issues remembering. Some days can be worse than others so approach each conversation not knowing how they will comprehend what you are talking about.
People with chronic Lyme disease are living with a disease that causes them to feel exhausted mentally and physically. They find it hard to understand what is going on in their body so don’t be surprised that you can’t figure out what they are going through either. Mood swings can be extreme for someone suffering from chronic Lyme disease. One day they can be upbeat and happy then the next day they can be withdrawn and emotional. You must realize that these mood swings are not just due to the emotional stress of being sick but that their body has been biologically altered with toxins from the disease and adverse drug reactions.
Diet is also important to someone suffering from chronic Lyme disease. You must be aware that what they eat makes a huge difference in how they feel. Know what foods a person suffering from this illness should avoid. Be aware that they must stay away from gluten, sugar, dairy and any other foods they feel make their condition worse. Respect their dietary wishes when bringing a meal or suggesting a restaurant.
Your love and support for the person suffering from this illness are the most important but your awareness of what they are experiencing is the first step to being empathetic with their disease. By doing some simple research, one can be more supportive. There are excellent resources through The American Lyme Disease Foundation and bloggers who suffer from the disease themselves. Signing up for Peer Health can also connect you with others who suffer from Lyme disease or are supporters of family members and friends who suffer from the disease.
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