By now, we are all too aware that chronic Lyme disease can be found in 80 countries worldwide, affecting tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions around the globe. We know that chronic Lyme disease is the New Great Imitator, imitating 350+ conditions from Alzheimers, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis to Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, just to name a few. We also know that around the globe, mainstream medicine has essentially turned its back on the chronically sick and infirm — especially those with chronic Lyme. The story is the same everywhere––for everyone you meet in every country, state, province, city, and town.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking with a gentleman in Iceland. He has been extremely ill with myalgic encephalomyelitis––the medical term for chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Like chronic Lyme, those who suffer with this disease have a whole host of chronic symptoms that are very similar to Lyme, symptoms that interfere with day-to-day functioning, wearing the sufferer down over time. Like chronic Lyme, there is no cure. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment. There is only symptom management at best.
He told me that his life has been hell for years. That he feels like he is a prisoner in his own body. And that the jailer has thrown away the key. This is also how it feels to have chronic Lyme.
What he also told me is that the very first outbreak of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome took place in 1948 and was called Akureyri Disease, also known as Iceland Disease. The predominant symptoms were tiredness and exhaustion, pain and burning sensations. Since the first outbreak, medical professionals determined that what these sufferers really had was a psychiatric disorder such as hysteria. In other words, they determined that this was really ‘all in their heads’. Sound familiar?
I find it curious that this outbreak occurred just after the war — when chemical warfare continued to rear its ugly head (See Operation Paperclip). I find it curious that for several decades, these diseases, all with similar symptoms and underlying biological mechanisms are being dismissed by mainstream medicine as psychosomatic and psychiatric in nature. I find it curious that tens of millions––perhaps hundreds of millions if you take all of the ‘imitation’ diseases into account––are provided few answers and are all but abandoned by mainstream medicine, with chronic Lyme being the most widely dismissed and negated of all.
Lori Dennis is a Registered Psychotherapist and author of the upcoming book LYME MADNESS––available on Amazon very, very soon.