Updated: 4 days ago
Experiencing low energy, burnout approaching, headaches or brain fog? Then read on.
From the winter of 2016, for the next 1.5 years, I spent a lot of time in bed, fighting a combination of late untreated Lyme disease, burnout and depression. A typical day was to wake up, go to shower, with that energy was over, and go back to bed. No energy, headaches and migraines, brain fog, brain ticks, spreading neurological disorders starting from some partially paralyzed fingers and joint pains, bowel problems, etc.
When it all started, I tried neurological hospitals and various pills and treatments. Nothing helped; doctors were shaking heads and sending me to psychiatrists. I quickly dropped psychiatric pills as I was sure it was not "just something in the head". I tried acupuncture - it helped only while doing it. Tried some herbal supplements - in vain.
Gradually the feeling of giving up started to creep in. If nothing helps, what can help? Some days, when with particularly heavy headaches, I thought - maybe suicide. Now, when I recently saw this in the news https://nypost.com/2022/09/26/woman-dies-by-suicide-after-battle-with-lyme-disease/ it did not surprise me, I can understand how suicide seems like the way out of the suffering.
Yet here I am, alive and almost fully recovered my wellbeing. I can't claim to be 100% with the same health level as before the experience of 2016-2018, but I feel well to live an overall good life. I wake up energized and uplifted and go into my days with joy and energy. e
I want to share how I got back on track - to give hope to those who are on the verge of giving up and to give guidance. Most of my journey applies to people experiencing burnout, so-called autoimmune diseases, vegetative dystonia and late Lyme disease.
When I look at it - it's quite a list and can feel too intense/extreme. So you don't need to take it as it is. Do your research and choose what works for you the best. The main point - recovery is possible.
Belief. The first and most critical step for me was to regain hope and belief that I can find the way out. I got it through reading two books which I will later share here. I can't stress this enough. Believe you can - and you will!
Attitude. While following the path to recovery, your attitude will determine your progress. The mind can say - "I can't, I don't have the energy to move out of bed". Your attitude will need to step in and say, "Yes, it feels like I can't, but I will do it anyway". Your attitude needs to shift to that of the survivor.
For the mindset, what helped me was to read "Man's search for meaning" by Viktor Frankl.
Get your thinking to get your life in order. What helped me:
Men's support group in the Catholic church,
Getting a mentor through .Cocoon program.
Unfortunately or fortunately, with chronic health problems, we can't rely on doctors. Modern medicine is designed to treat an isolated problem, not a whole body collapse. That's why "autoimmune diseases" or "burnout" are almost like vague umbrella terms for "we don't know what it actually is" types of health problems.
You will need to become your healer. For that, I suggest reading those two books:
"Become healthy" or extinct by Darryl D'Souza
In this book, depending on your belief system, 5-50% of content will feel unbelievable to you, which is ok. Take the other 50%, and that is enough.
"Unlocking Lyme" by William Rawls
Let the title not misguide you - even if you haven't been diagnosed with lyme disease, this book will give you plenty of guidance on restoring your health and a better understanding of neurological and autoimmune health problems. You will also learn why most cheap bacterial tests can be falsely negative and misguide you.
Start with diagnosing your health:
Level of D vitamin
Borrelia, Mycoplasma, Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Rickettsia, Chlamydia
Depending on the infection results, you might or might not benefit from using certain herbal supplements, and I will mark which I used for infections and which for general health. More on that later.
This is the fundamental part. In the beginning, I went radical with the shift to healthy foods. Later, when I started to feel good again, then shifted to a combination of healthy and unhealthy foods.
Rule of thumb - increase alkaline-forming foods and decrease acid-forming foods, aiming for even 80:20 proportion between alkaline:acid.
Some specific suggestions are below.
sugar (in all its forms, including juices, sauces, soft drinks, cakes, etc.),
gluten foods (bread, pasta, pastry, sauces, also most porridges),
practically, remove all grain products, except buckwheat and quinoa
vegetables with high oxalate, including beets, carrots, celery, kale, spinach, batatas, parsley, mangold, etc. (ignore this part if you don't have infections. add back once health is back to good)
also berries and fruits with high oxalate, including dates, strawberries,
beans, corn, soy products
(except grass-fed bio) beef, pork, chicken
all fabricated meat like sausages, bacon
all milk products, except fermented ones like kefir, sour cream, airan
almost all foods that are produced instead of grown, e.g., prefabricated soups and all types of frozen/canned ready-to-heat foods. Rule of thumb - if it has grown, you might eat it. If it has been produced - in most cases, you should not eat it.
If you also have stomach problems (I had), then for a while, also stop/reduce:
tropical fruits - banana, pineapple, mango,
sesame and raps oil,
green and black tea.
organically grown food,
alkaline forming food https://www.total-wellness.co.uk/media/pdf/Alkalising-Food-Chart.pdf
Warning: I am not a doctor, please consult with your doctor and do your research. (How I did research - I looked up scientific research and arguments pro and against certain supplements). I'm only sharing what I found helpful. I have no connection with the producers; hence, I am not adding any links to the list, only titles.
I've added * to the ones I still use regularly or occasionally, even though I've recovered.
Getting stomach in order
Symptoms of stomach problems include bloating, gas, diarrhoea, constipation, and pain.
*Day start (after cleaning the teeth) with a glass of warm lemon water (half lemon + spring water),
*Probiotics (I used VSL3),
*Clay (food grade) with water.
I used them as I had Lyme disease. This might not be applicable if your tests are clean.
*Cistus Incanus tea,
Later I found and used a combo product called "Tick immune support" by Samsara herbs.
Help the body to respond to stress and fatigue and improve general wellbeing.
For brain fog and headaches
Fish or Krill oil,
Good sleep is essential.
While recovering, I slept 9-10 hours. Now 7-8 is enough.
Back then, the norm was to wake up at 4 am and then spend the remaining 4 hours in a semi-zombie state - can't wake up, can't fall asleep.
What helped? It's a holistic process - for me, all the above mentioned taken together. However, I used some tactics specifically for improving sleep.
A brisk walk in the park in the evening.
No screens at least an hour before going to sleep. (I switched back to paper books).
For a short term (up to a few months), you can use a Melatonin supplement 30 minutes before going to sleep (not advisable to use long-term - only initially to give a kick into better sleep).
Mobile phone on aeroplane mode. Wifi off.
Magnesium L-threonate (more affects the brain) and Magnesium citrate (more affects muscles and the central nervous system) or one of those.
CBD oil (don't mix with Melatonin).
Tea made of meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) + peppermint (for peppermint to have a calming effect, take it out from the water in 3 minutes).
Switch to spring water.
Switch to fluoride-free toothpaste (more on this here https://scottjeffrey.com/decalcify-your-pineal-gland/)
Window blinds, well-ventilated room.
Although I thought I physically couldn't, I started doing daily sports routine 1-2 times a day, 15-30 minutes every day. I bought several fitness gadgets to do it at home so I wouldn't have the additional friction of thinking of going to a gym.
I can't stress enough how important this is. I've developed a routine of stretching, cardio, strength training and yoga exercises, which I start every day, and I also go running or squash several times a week.
What also helped me - a daily 30 min walk in a park, and weekly multi-hour hiking in nature (in forests or near the sea).
In warm weather, walking barefoot.
There were several other nuances, but here I've shared the backbone of my recovery strategy that worked for me. If you are experiencing a similar struggle - reach out to me, and I'll be glad to talk and support
Ansis is the CEO of .Cocoon.