I live with OCD, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. These are some of my symptoms from Lyme disease. Luckily I have never thought I was crazy, like some other patients. I do know that I can’t tell doctors about these symptoms. Unfortunately, most would think I have mental illnesses. I don’t, but it can seem like I do. For example, they may thing I have Schizophrenia, because of my hallucinations and paranoia. I know that other Lyme patients have been put in mental hospitals and even jail. We have to be careful on what we say and who we say it to.
What it’s like to live with these symptoms…
I used to love the outdoors. I loved sitting outside in the grass with bees everywhere. I would sit by a beehive and let the bees surround me. It was peaceful and relaxing. Now I’m anxious when I go outside. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because of the dirt and germs. I don’t like touching anything without gloves or something covering my hand when I’m outside of my house. It freaks me out. I also don’t like sitting on dirty places. Everything has to be clean around me. I can’t walk around bare foot in the house. I always have to wear slippers or at least socks. I don’t like sitting on the couch or chairs in the same clothes I wear in bed. To me the clothes are contaminated and I don’t want to get my bed dirty. I’m getting better with this one though. I dislike when people sit or lay on my bed. It makes me anxious, because I think it makes my bed filled with germs. I don’t like touching other people sometimes, because it makes me feel very nervous. I think I’ll get germs. I also pick at my skin and scalp until I bleed. I feel an uncontrollable need to always pick, that I do it without thinking. These are my OCD symptoms.
My paranoia and hallucinations kind of go together. I have paranoia all the time. I always think that people are out to get me, to attack and murder me. Even though I know that I am safe, I can’t help thinking these things. I can’t sleep with the lights off, because of the hallucinations. It scares me not being able to see anything. I picture and hear people. Not good ones… ones that are scary and evil. They look scary… dripping with blood and mangled. I can’t watch anything scary on TV, because it makes my hallucinations and nightmares really bad. I can’t even watch Harry Potter or Psych without getting scared. Sometimes I have insomnia due to my hallucinations. Some rooms or places freak me out. I hate the bathroom. Maybe it’s, because there’s always bad things happing to people in them in movies. I can’t take a relaxing bath. I have to watch TV and my mom usually sits with me. I also hate showers. I picture people dead in them or that I’ll be stabbed. I have to pull the shower curtain, so that only the clear part is showing. I have to be able to see out. When I wash my face in the sink I get uneasy. I think that someone is going to attack me, since I can’t see anything. I also can’t sleep with someone in the same bed. I think they are dead or that they look scary.
Maybe these are just my Lyme symptoms or maybe they are triggered from my past. I used to get hit and kicked from a bully. She also forced me to make out with her. I don’t know if my past combined with my symptoms made me so fearful. I do know that lots of other Lyme patients also have these symptoms though, so who knows.
My anxiety comes from all of these things. They all mix together for me. Luckily I can still go outside with my family. I know some people who can’t leave their rooms. I don’t go out at night, because it scares me. Even in the day I don’t like being by myself. When I first got really sick, I was terrified about being alone. I had to learn to get used to it, because I’m often alone. Now I’m a bit better. I can handle these things. I don’t have panic attacks anymore, at least I haven’t in a while. I know that I have these symptoms and that it’s not real. Hopefully they get better and I can live more normally soon.