Coping With the Mood Swings That Come With Lyme Disease


Mood shifts are known symptoms of Lyme disease and co-infections. Depression, anxiety and breakdowns can be part of the mix of emotional experiences of this illness. Change in the structure of my life, season, medicine or job or routines can really throw me out of whack and make me susceptible to anxiety, depression and bad habits.

I know some people love variety in their life. I actually really enjoy learning new things which is a specific type of variety, but I struggle with change. Depression opens the door to bad habits. Bad habits are an invitation to increased symptoms for a person with chronic Lyme disease.

Because I understand this about myself, I try to stay on the lookout around change and transitions. But things still catch me by surprise. I was really busy this winter into spring and now I need to address mood changes that are pulling me off course.

Expanding My Boundaries Post Lyme

First I signed up for and finished a training. This was the first big challenge I faced since I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I drove six hours by myself and realized I could. I ate the food they had and sat still for hours. So I cleared a bunch of space so I could focus completing the work involved. I made this my top priority after me, my family and job and sometimes I compromised on me. Calls every week, scheduled study time working in a group and regular travel were factors in shaping my life for a year.

I did really well, finished all the work, then it all stopped. No more calls and trips. It felt like stepping off a cliff. Part of me was truly looking forward to
finishing, but I wasn’t prepared for the space.

Right on top of this is the anniversary of my mom’s death. She died two years ago and I feel it more now than at the time. I have a month of funk in April.  My mom was a hugely successful person helping many people despite her fight with MS until she died. She always encouraged me to grow in helping others and use the skills God gave me.

I got a little depressed about my lack of progress on using my skills to help myself and others.

I guess I had too much space to think about things, and fear about my next steps. My self-care habits slipped, giving Lyme the opening to raise some havoc. Lyme symptoms made me more anxious and a downward spiral was underway.

Watching myself sink deeper into depression was not pretty. My sleep deteriorated and my eating and pain escalated. Derailment was just around the corner, and I really needed to fill the space with things that matter and give me joy.

“Unfortunately, some of our poor choices are irreversible, but many are not. Often, we can change course and get back on the right track.” – James E. Faust

Get Back on Track

So what do you do when you fall down? Well I pick myself up, dust off, treat my bruised body and ego and come back into alignment with what I know is true. Taking good care of myself is the best way I know to feel my best. So I started really small – yes, I can go to a movie I really want to see – then started to address the bigger issues.

  • Stop guilting myself about falling off the wagon
  • Put fun on my agenda
  • Plug into resetting my bedtime routines, so I get quality sleep
  • Clean up my eating in a steady gentle way
  • Get back in motion on a consistent basis
  • Reach out to family and friends

Is It Working?

Well, yes, I feel like a cruise ship making a slow turn, but I am changing things for the better. I still have a way to go, weight to lose and joy to find. I was talking with a client about using difficulties to create shift. This applies in my life as well. The effects of Lyme disease may be with me for the rest of my life. I appreciate and know I need community support. I am reaching out, trying to use it to bolster my will to take really good care, so I can go and enjoy more.

Image Credits: Mary Sullivan

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