Can’t make it into the office? Too far away to travel? Too sick to make it in? Not a problem. We at Lyme Disease Counseling LLC understand the difficulties that Lyme disease victims face when it comes to attending appointments; therefore we want to make your therapy experience as easy for you as possible. Our Lyme Literate Psychotherapist offers online therapy for individuals that are unable to make it into the office. Don’t let your inability to make it into the office stop you from getting the care that you need.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on solutions, encouraging patients to challenge distorted cognitions and change destructive patterns. Many patients with Lyme disease experience negative thinking such as, “I’m never going to get better.” Together we will rewire your negative thoughts into a more positive outcome. You cannot change your situation, however you can change the way you perceive it to live a more hopeful life.
Grief counseling is another common reaction to chronic illness. A patient may experience grief after recognizing the loss of their life before they were sick. You may experience various stages of grief including denial, bargaining, anger and sadness. As a Lyme Literate psychotherapist, we will work together through each individual step, at your own pace. I will teach you coping mechanisms on how to navigate through the stages of grief and together we will come up with strategies to help you function better when grieving.
How does grief counseling relate to Lyme disease? When we are diagnosed, our life changes. We grieve over the loss of our past life and have to adapt to a new one. Let me help you walk through the stages of grief when coping with this disease.
Stage 1: Denial. Often when we are diagnosed we experience denial, as it’s an easy way to cope with such devastating news. We know that we are experiencing a life-altering diagnosis, which we may not be ready for.
Stage 2: Anger. Next comes anger. We are often angry that we are cursed with this debilitating disease. We become angry that our life is changing drastically and there is nothing that we can do about it. We may be angry at the world, and/or our faith.
Stage 3: Bargaining. This stage is full of “what if” statements. “What if I had been more careful?’ “What if I was diagnosed sooner?” “If only we had done the test sooner, I wouldn’t be as sick.” “What if I never get my old life back?” “What if I stay sick forever?” We question alternate realities. I can help you find comfort in saying “what’s meant to be will be.” We learn to accept that it was meant to happen and that there is nothing we could have done to stop it. Nothing is our fault and we didn’t do anything wrong.
Stage 4: Depression. Physical changes occur within our bodies, along with the environmental variables that play into depression. This disease is life altering; we lose relationships, we feel isolated, we feel that nobody understands. We avoid making plans with others due to the possibility of letting them down in case we fall sick that day. We are filled with sadness that nobody believes that we are sick. We are no longer able to engage in old activities that used to bring us joy before falling ill with this disease. Doctors tell us that our illness isn’t real and that we are just “depressed.” After being told, “it’s all in our head” we start to believe it. Depression can be one of the longest lasting stages of this disease. I can help you transition into the final stage. I use a very unique Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) catered to Lyme disease patients to help transition from depression to acceptance.
Stage 5: Acceptance. Once I help you process the stages of grief, giving you tools and techniques to move past denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, you will move to the acceptance stage. I can help you get to the point of accepting that your life has changed and how to adapt to it. I will help you accept that there are just certain things that you can no longer do, but it’s okay. I will help you accept that you only have a limited amount of energy and that some days you need some extra help. Acceptance is where you will find inner peace with yourself and the disease. This is the stage where you will grow as a person and find contentment and even happiness in your disease. I will help you accept that Lyme disease and the friends it brought along are now a part of your life and that you no longer have to feel resentment towards it.
When diagnosed with this disease, we will always have our good days and our bad days. Your life may be different than what it was before, but not worse. You will still laugh and smile. You may not be able to move through life as quickly as you did before, but once you reach the acceptance stage, you will understand the importance of slowing down and not letting life pass you by. You may not have a lot of physically good days, but you will come to appreciate the good days so much more.
You may feel like you have lost a lot of things in this battle, but I will help you realize that you have gained a lot of things too. I will help you have a new outlook on life. I myself struggled through the stages of grief, but I became a new person after. I am much more humble and appreciative of life, as I used to take everyday for granted before I was sick. I appreciate each and every day that I am now given because I realize life is truly precious and I have gained so much from it. This disease has taken from me, but I’ve also gained. I no longer view this as a negative part of me; I am able to see the positive in what it has brought to my life. This is what acceptance has taught me, which I hope to teach you too.
Mindfulness Therapy goes beyond treating psychological issues related to chronic illness. Brain imaging reveals that mindfulness practice leads to alterations in the brain’s structure, which means the concept of mindfulness “rewiring” the brain isn’t just metaphorical. These include changes in the way people experience their bodies in relation to the outside world, as well as the ways in which they perceive the internal world of the body.
Another area of the brain that mindfulness alters is the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain involved in personality, impulse control, complex planning and, not surprisingly, attention.
It’s so very important for people who have Lyme disease or any other serious illness to be in tune with what they’re experiencing, rather than shut off from it, which so often has been the case. The most essential benefits of mindfulness is attentiveness to what is happening in your body, your mind, and your environment—being present for what’s happening to you, with you, and around you at a particular moment in time. Mindfulness becomes a foundation to help patients make good decisions and navigate all they have to go through.
The Pain Management and Mind Body therapies I utilize include various approaches, including relaxation techniques, meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, and hypnosis. Relaxation techniques can help alleviate discomfort related to chronic pain.
Food is medicine. It sustains us, nourishes us, and can heal us. It should be one of the most important factors in the treatment program of someone with Lyme disease.
Navigating the most appropriate diet for a Lyme disease patient can be difficult, but good nutrition is such a crucial part of any treatment regimen.
- Immune system: Your food has a direct effect on the performance of your immune system, and therefore, your ability to kill infection.
- Metabolism and energy: Your food has a direct and immediate effect on your metabolism and energy levels, and therefore, your ability to function in your daily life.
- Inflammation: Your food has a direct and immediate effect on your inflammation levels, and can increase or reduce your joint and muscle pain.
- Digestion: Your food can damage or strengthen your digestion, which has an effect on how much nutrition you can absorb.
- Mood: Your food can affect your mood as quickly as 20 minutes after consumption, making you depressed, irritable, or happy.
- Supporting the hormone system.
- Supporting detoxification.
- Your food itself can have antibiotic properties, and can help your body kill infections including viral, bacterial and fungal.
SFBT is future-focused, goal-directed, and focuses on solutions, rather than on the problems that brought clients to seek therapy.
SFBT can be briefly defined as an approach which builds upon a client’s inherent competence, with the aim of facilitating goal-directed action. It is common for patients to lose hope when struggling with a chroic illness. The solutions-focused techniques that I utilize help set goals (short and long term) and spark hope in a patient’s future.