chronic lyme disease with a taste of nut
I’m reading more about co-infections and the insidious Bartonella comes up frequently. They sometimes call it cat-scratch fever as you can get infected with it from being scratched by a cat (and a common sign is a rash that looks like scratches). Bartonella is more than a ticked-off cat. It comes from the tick, itself, and that tick actually vomits its bacteria into your bloodstream – thus giving you what are none as co-infections. There are many fancy names for these co-infections, but I’ve zeroed in on Bartonella for a few reasons.
Bart, as it’s frequently called, manifests itself in psychological and neurological ways. It is no secret that I have battled with severe depression and anxiety all of my life and have been on psych meds for over half my life. I always thought I was overly medicated and often wondered what my personality would be like if I was never put on psych meds as a teenager. I don’t blame my parents because that was a crazy time and I was making life very difficult. All these years later, however, I wonder – how much is mental illness?
Reading up on Bart, I see that symptoms are identical to many of the well-known mental illnesses we know today: severe depression, panic attacks, severe anxiety, even schizophrenia. Bart can cause hallucinations and it is most well-known for “Bartonella Rage.”
When I read that I had to swallow hard. Last summer, when all the symptoms flared up from that viral infection and the peripheral neuropathy started which led me down the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue road…my mood drastically altered at home. My stepkids and husband will be the first to say that I was snapping for no reason. I was irritable and sarcastic. I cried on a dime and felt like an ant was the boogie man. Everything was in hypercolor and I just felt so angry. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew it was not me.
My husband and I chalked it up to my anger over being sick and my grief over losing so much of my life. I had plenty of reason to be angry, right?
To a point, yes. But I do remember a few occasions where I just blew a gasket and as it was happening I knew it wasn’t me. This was something else. I couldn’t understand it, but I knew something was off.
And now I read about Bartonella.
Many of my loved ones suffer from depression, anxiety, panic, and more. Should I get them checked for Lyme and Bart? If so, how? These tests costs up to $1000.00. I have three kids. Do I get them all checked?
Do you see where this could go?
On the flip side, one could argue that every child who struggles with psychological problems could have just been bitten by a tick and gotten Lyme and Bartonella.
And I guess you could say that those with Bart might really have a mental illness.
It’s the chicken or the egg issue. What do we treat? The chicken that is running around screaming at everybody and sobbing in its cage or the egg that is antisocial and paranoid and hallucinating? And do we treat with psychiatric medication or with medication prescribed for Bart (which, because I’m still so new to this, I don’t even know what that would be)?
I have a vested interest in this as well – not just for me, but for my family.
It could be so easy to take this and run with it, get all hyped up over the injustice.
But before we get hyped up, before we overthink and become emotional and sensitive and start choo-chooin on the panic train…
How do we know what is what?
That’s my big question.
I think back to my younger years – and realize I could have gotten a tick at any time. I went to many camps in the summer. Granted, they were in the suburbs, but they weren’t immune to ticks. And then in the summer of 1999 and 2000 I was thick in the woods of Maine for months. I saw all kinds of bugs there I’d never even heard of!
And, of course, there is Honduras – my trip in 2012 with my husband and then-thirteen year old where we did volunteer work, visited our sponsor child, had grand adventures, had our lives changed by beauty and poverty, and acquired horrible stomach viruses….and possibly parasites to take home. And I think I did. My husband has an immune system of steel and my stepdaughter – well, she has some physical complaints that are frighteningly similar to mine…
One could really turn batty from all this.
I think the only thing to do now is the following, as I use my rational, less-emotional, and common sense brain (not used very often, btw, only brought out for special occasions):
I think that is a good scientific approach to widespread panic and rabbit-hole-falling.
I think I’ll rest there.
Bartonella Resources (more on the Resources page)
Do you know medical and scientific jargon? You’ll enjoy this link:– The Psychoimmunology of Lyme/Tick-Borne Diseases and its Association with Neuropsychiatric Symptoms
– Lymie out…
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