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How My Husband and I Cope With Lyme Disease Through 'Loving Kindness'

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The practice of loving kindness has new meaning for me since Lyme disease. No surprise that the pain and burden of Lyme disease pushed me to my limit. Loving kindness is good place to go for help.

It is funny, recently a friend of mine remarked that my hubby and I treat each other with love and kindness in a way that is visible. Different from the way long-term couples often interact. She said that she and her ex never managed to get there, to treat each other with respect and kindness even in difficult times. I was so grateful to hear her observation and know it is true. We practice loving kindness with each other in my family.

“Loving Kindness” Helps With Lyme

I said we made a conscious decision to be kind in our treatment of each other. We really try to be consistently respectful of where we are. Don’t say things in spite or frustration that tear each other down. Give each other the space and support to heal and live.

This became so important after our Lyme diagnoses. I was diagnosed first, and as unexplainable pain and brain fog really started to affect me, I could feel my husband’s impatience and lack of understanding. I didn’t know what was wrong or how to communicate what I needed.

We were driving an old car with unbalanced tires. I would ride with vibration suppression gloves on and my hands crossed across my chest to dampen the pain. On certain bumpy roads I would just withdraw and weep in pain. It was hard for him to connect to my experience, but he was still concerned, kind, respectful and tried to help.

I had no energy. I had to say no to most social events. He was feeling lonely and I was very isolated. The pain in my hands and extreme vibration sensitivity got worse. My symptom load increased. At that point I couldn’t push a supermarket carriage. By the time I had a diagnosis, it hurt me just to touch or be touched. My world was shrinking, and that affected him. My pain was shouting in my body, but he couldn’t hear it.

Lyme Support From a Place of Love

Love and kindness motivated his help rather than understanding initially. He wanted to help me however he could. So my hub was the designated driver, taking me to doctors and tests. Love and kindness helped me not to take my pain out on him, at least somewhat. It gave me the will to own my experience without lashing out too much. Love and kindness gave him the will to stay the course and help me rather than cut and run.

Later after his diagnosis he got Lyme-induced gout and was in terrible pain. I had to drive him around. He said to me, I really had no idea vibration could cause so much pain. I am so sorry you were so uncomfortable for months. Now I understand. We both understand about chronic pain and how to help each other treat each other kindly.

That was a real turning point for us. We both recognized how defaulting to kindness save tons of unnecessary arguments and stress. It kept both of us in a place that helped us heal more easily.

How do you get to loving kindness?

Remember “loving kindness” as a default way to treat people in general and loved ones in particular. It can be such a powerful motivator. When I am frustrated with myself or someone else, I try to bring to my mind a loving thing I or they have done in the past. Remember I am lovable and worth loving and they are too.

One way to connect into the feeling is metta meditation. Metta meditation can have some wonderful benefits. Studies have shown it can reduce stress and increase compassion in those who practice regularly. Metta can help how you relate to others, but also decrease pain and support healthy self-esteem.

My meditation practice includes the mantra. I start with myself and use these words.

“May I be filled with loving kindness, may I be peaceful and at ease, may I be well.” (times three)

“May we (me and my husband) be filled with loving kindness, may we be peaceful and at ease, may we be well” times as many times as it takes to feel.

I repeat this, expanding the “we” to include more and more people. For an example practice of loving kindness meditation, click this link.

“Loving kindness” is a solid place for me to go to support healing. Try the practice in your life, I know it helped mine.

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Thinkstock photo by lkoimages

Originally published: April 17, 2017
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