Guided Imagery Helped Her Tame Lyme Disease and Win
We got this personal story on our Health Journeys Facebook page from Donna Falcone, who describes her challenging but successful battle with Lyme Disease. We’ll just let her speak for herself. Here she is:
My first experience with Guided Imagery came as I moved deeper into treatment for Lyme Disease, Bartonella, Babesiosis, and Ehrlichia.
Let’s not talk about the physical pain that was mysteriously growing and changing. What had started months earlier as anxiety and unexplainable panic attacks, (prompting me to find a good therapist long before the Lyme diagnosis), evolved into a very difficult period of depression during early treatment.
My husband urged me to ask for anti-depressants. I was feeling very fragile, but very wary of adding one more medication to my already huge regimen of medicines and supplements. Things were getting darker by the day, and it was obvious to me that every good thing that would ever happen in my life had already happened.
A few people in an online support group suggested Belleruth’s Health Journeys audio programs to me. I thought guided imagery sounded silly, at first. Affirmations sounded even sillier. How could listening to some lady through my headphones actually make any difference at all?
Right around the same time, my therapist suggested them too, which really got my attention. I decided to give it a serious look and that was one of the best decisions I could have made in all this.
After a little research online I selected Guided Imagery and Affirmations to Relieve Depression. I remember listening to the introduction and thinking “What? Every day? at least once or twice a day?” That seemed a little extreme, but imagine my surprise when I really liked it!
It was pretty relaxing to stretch out in a comfy spot, plug into my device, and listen to a kind voice lead me through the imagery. I can’t even remember what was on it, but I do remember that you offered positioning suggestions during the intro, and you were very careful to say “if that’s comfortable for you,” and I was all in after that. Did I mention that I might be described as a control freak?
I’d listen to the imagery before bed every night, at least, and the affirmations were wonderful company as I drove a long commute to work. Sometimes I would hear “I know that I am held in the hands of God, and I am perfectly, utterly safe” just as I pulled into my parking space. Perfect.
I saw there were a lot of audios for many different diseases and conditions, but none for Lyme. One by one, I’d try something new. You might say over time I created my own Chronic Lyme Bundle to help me with Ease Pain, Panic Attacks, Sleep, Trauma, and (why didn’t I see this one sooner?) Healthy Immune System.
I was having trouble managing my overwhelming rage at the medical community for their handling of this health crisis. I felt utterly betrayed by my doctor for refusing to consider that my symptoms were related to Tick-Borne Infections or to admit that the tests were as bad as everyone else seems to know they are.
I tried Guided Imagery for Anger and Forgiveness and that was perfect. Other imagery helped me face other personal challenges I’d been neatly dismissing over time.
I’m not sure if this will make sense, but one thing that a lot of patients with neurological Lyme talk about is cyclic thoughts – perseveration – going round and round and round inside their heads with thoughts that come from out of nowhere, it seems, and escalate anxieties, fears and sadness. Maybe these audios were perfect for me because they helped me focus away from all that head spinning stuff.
At my will I could plug in and there was the voice – steady and true, and always saying that same thing that mattered the day before, and the day before that, and so on. I guess that’s the positive side of perseverance? There is a sense of constancy in the work that is very comforting and grounding.
I cannot even express how invaluable my counselor was to me through all of this, and I cannot stress enough how important it is to be patient with treatment because it can take a long time to see daylight.
But you know what? When I’m outside in the sunshine and I notice the way light falls around the trees leaving lacy shadow patterns on the sidewalk, or when I feel the way water swirls around my feet at the edge of the water, it’s that voice that pops into my head and I remember a time when such simple beauty was lost to me.
The imagery helped me by calling these things to mind again and again – the touch of a leaf, or the feeling of warm sunshine on my skin, and so much more. I didn’t even realize how far away I had slid from the beauty in the world.
I still live with Lyme etc., but it doesn’t drive the bus. And… I’ve also learned to paint! HA! Now, there’s a wonderful surprise I certainly never saw coming. Who knew?
Thank you, Belleruth and Health Journeys, for all you do to help the people of the world live happier, healthier, more peaceful lives. I hope to use my one, precious life to help people live happier, too, Lyme or no Lyme.
My website, blogs, and art gallery are here: www.DonnaZFalcone.com
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