My Story

Heather Levine - Ladderbridges.comMy true passion is to spread awareness to people with anxiety, depersonalization and derealization that their conditions may be Lyme-related. Since my high school days, I have suffered on and off from chronic anxiety and depersonalization, but never knew these were symptoms of Neurological Lyme disease. Unfortunately this is the case for many people.

When I was a little girl I played in the woods all of the time. I loved the outdoors. When I was 10 years old, I was bitten by a tick in Connecticut, but never thought anything about it. In fact, 50 percent of people with Lyme disease never remember being bitten. I do remember a red rash, but otherwise I didn’t seem to have any other physical symptoms.

When I was 12, we moved back into New York City. During my teen years I suffered from anxiety. Everyone around me felt that it was abnormal for a girl of 15 to be so anxious all of the time. I later developed an onset of depersonalization disorder for about a year and then it went away. Depersonalization is really scary. It’s when you feel completely detached from the world emotionally and feel as if you are in another dimension. The strange thing is that all of a sudden it went away.

My life really took a turn for the worst when I started law school. Doctors were baffled by my symptoms. I remember getting really bad migraines. I once passed out in a car dealership holding my head asking to be rushed to a hospital. The tests came out fine (as they had for years).

Neurologists put me on all sorts of medicine for my headaches and depression, but not one neurologist or psychiatrist ever thought my symptoms might be Lyme disease.

Later, towards the end of law school, my symptoms got really bad. I remember the severe depression turning into immense anxiety overnight. It was horrendous. I walked into my law firm and knew something was wrong. I was scared of people; sounds became too loud; and knew I had to take some time off from work.

That time off from work was horrible. My anxiety was getting worse and worse. I started staying in my house for weeks on end. Weeks then later turned into months. I ordered several tapes from the Midwest Center for Anxiety and did positive affirmations saying to myself, “I am fine.” “I am good.” “I am special.” But that didn’t work.

I tried to take the bar exam that summer, but at that point I was so anxiety ridden that I couldn’t even leave the house. I soon became addicted to anti-anxiety pills my doctor had prescribed for me. I’ll be honest … my doctor was prescribing the pills like it was candy.

Day by day I felt farther and farther away from reality.

Later that summer, my anxiety turned into depersonalization again. I wasn’t sure whether the depersonalization was a way for my body to protect itself from my immense anxiety, but I knew that I needed help.

I had many experiences where my heart would race, and I would get shooting pains in my heart, but still the doctors kept saying it was purely anxiety and it would go away. Many nights I would excuse myself from the dinner table and lie on the bathroom floor and cry. I just could not stop the depersonalization. I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t see, feel, or taste anything. I felt like the walking dead.

Things progressively got worse. My memory was slowly going and I started having cognitive problems. By this point I couldn’t really leave the house or walk because my legs would give out. Frankly, I think the medications were making everything worse.

After telling doctors that the use of the anxiety medication was getting worse, I hit a bottom one night. I found myself huddled at the end of the bed and shaking. I stood there looking at all the things in my room. All of the sudden everything felt completely unmanageable. Even lifting up a book was unmanageable. I crawled to the phone and asked my sister for help.

When my sister came into the apartment and saw me, she started crying. She and her friend lifted me up from the carpet. Tears were running down my face as I kept saying, “Please help me. I am confused. I don’t know how to function.”

What was going on? I was always a happy kid? Why did this start? How did this all begin? Doesn’t anyone, any doctor have answers? The medical bills were piling up to nearly $30,000 but still there were no answers.

After many more months of agony, confusion, doctor’s visits, doctor’s bills, and personal debilitation (which you can read about in my e-book, “The Full Story”), a dear friend told me to see a LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor). When I walked into the office and saw the fees, I saw that the appointment would cost me $1,000. I didn’t have the money, and there were actually too many patients. The doctor couldn’t see me for 6 months!

A few months later it was my birthday. I was broke. I mean really broke. But I knew it would take a lot of money to get me out of my situation. I sat in my room alone on my birthday with no friends — just me and a candle. At that time, my family had really given up on me. I sat there holding the candle praying to God to give me money for treatments, praying for hope, and praying that there would be a way for me through all of this.

That day I knew I had no choice but to seek help and get on the right track. I started talking to Perry Fields who is a track athlete who overcame Lyme disease, and I started to see alternative healers. Going off antibiotics was scary for me. I won’t lie. It wasn’t an easy task, but I just said to myself, “I’m dying anyway what difference does it make. Let me try this for six months.”

During this time, I prayed to God a lot. One day, I stood still for a minute silently in my room asking God for advice. “God, please help me. I need to get better. I need to start making money. Please God help.” My inner voice then said to me: “Do whatever it takes no matter how crazy it is.”

We all have the power to heal ourselves and given the right conditions the body can heal. I currently have no more symptoms and I am so happy to be living again. I have dreamed of this for so long. Lyme has manifested itself in me in some pretty strange ways, but I know everything happens for a reason.

I’m so grateful today and hope my story will bring hope to people when life to them seems so hopeless. Please! Please don’t give up hope. This life is a life of lessons to learn who you are. Don’t throw in the towel. I am honored to share my story, my experience, and the valuable information that I discovered on a daily basis throughout my recovery.

Please remember no matter how bad it gets that there IS HOPE. I attribute my success to God or that small still voice that all of us have within, my friends in the Lyme community, Perry Fields, my family for being there by my side through all the hard times and all the people I loved that God brought into my life during that time. I thank you so much for teaching me to take back my power from medical community, encouraging me to keep going spiritually and how to love myself. I am so grateful that people come into our lives for a season, months or a lifetime. These people are meant to help you on a spiritual journey. If I am just one of them for you–then I feel honored and blessed. Take anything that I say that might help you and leave the rest. Remember, you have God inside you and a guiding force. All the answers are within.

I am so happy to share and encourage as many Lymies as possible.

With blessings for your recovery,

Heather

*Download my eBook, “The Full Story” – here.

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