For the past 16 years - more than 50% of my life - I have been hanging out with chronic Lyme disease, and the co-infections that (almost always) come with it. This ‘thing’ altered life’s trajectory, threw seemingly insurmountable obstacles at me head on, and inflicted inexplicable pain to my whole being. For perspective: I labored drug-free for 16 hours with my daughter, and that experience didn’t come close to the inflammation, brain fog, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, (etc., etc., etc.) of chronic Lyme.
When I first started to get ‘sick’, it swept over my life essentially overnight. No traumatic life event, no identified tick or the stereotypical ‘bullseye rash’ most doctor’s ask about prior to ruling out LD - leaving me to wonder ‘what in the actual F is wrong with me’. This mysterious, invisible illness flipped me upside down.
I saw countless doctors and specialists, all with a different diagnosis yet the same solution. Depression? Prescription. Anxiety? Prescription. Rheumatoid Arthritis? Prescription. Fibromyalgia? Prescription. ADHD? Prescription. And so it went. But here’s the irony: I was happy! I was an athlete-honors student. I had a healthy social calendar and an amazing family. I just did not feel well.
When I was finally diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease (more than 3 years after initial symptoms began), the pursuit to find the best, most effective, and natural solutions commenced.
Naturopaths. IV treatments. Vegan diet. Alcohol-free. Detox cleanses. An arsenal of supplements. Feeling good enough became a full-time job. And, this was in addition to college, building a career, having a baby, nurturing friendships and relationships…life. It was too much. I would disrupt my wellness routine by simply living like a 20-something year old, launching me back to square one.
Next step: Discover CBD. Although I was already an advocate for the medical use of marijuana, I was a late adopter to using CBD as a holistic wellness solution. Knowledgeable industry professionals gave me a crash course in CBD and the expansive health effects it can yield. I had tried just about everything else, so why not this?
CBD flipped me right side up again. It has become an integral part of my day, and the impacts have been unparalleled —>
- Mental clarity: Between the Lyme-induced brain fog, a sleepless toddler, and an endless to-do list, CBD has been crucial in leading me to self-optimization through a clear mind and improved focus.
- Increased energy: For me, chronic fatigue is a leading symptom of LD. Since embedding CBD into my lifestyle, I am naturally more relaxed, resulting in uninterrupted sleep and waking up actually feeling rested. I’ve decreased artificial caffeine consumption throughout the day and can now successfully bypass that late afternoon crash.
- Streamlined wellness routine: Prior to CBD, I was taking upwards of 30 supplements throughout the day. I still have my ‘favorite’s list’ of natural supplements I won’t give up, but CBD has wiped out the need for most of my long-standing pill queue. This saves me time, removes stress of planning around a supplement schedule, and genuinely makes me feel better about what I’m putting into my body.
- (Almost) Pain-free: Extreme joint and muscle inflammation was the status quo for me for a long time with LD. Since CBD, I don’t have anywhere near the levels of inflammation and pain that I previously experienced…24/7. Effects: happiness, patience, calmness, motivation…so many good things.
- More chill: Stress is always the dominant trigger of a Lyme flare up for me. CBD keeps me at a pretty chill - and wildly productive - baseline, meaning significantly decreased days of feeling ‘sick’, and it has successfully reverse engineered anxiety-about-anything into excitement-for-everything.
- Feeling me again: *See list of tried practices above. I no longer regularly see a doctor for Lyme. My last IV treatment was almost two years ago. I do prefer a plant-based diet but can now mindfully eat what I want (burger and wings, please) without major adverse effects. I socially drink alcohol again – and have a lot of fun doing so. I still love my detox cleanses, but they are now a choice, not a necessity. Notable credit for these transformations? CBD.
- Value alignment: This whole ‘chronic illness experience’ has made me hyper self-aware and conscious to the impacts of lifestyle, consumption, and decisions on my whole being. Knowing that this is a natural, quality choice for holistic wellness keeps me authentic to and in alignment with a set of personal values I won’t sway from.
Lyme disease will continue to be my longest relationship, but I intend to make it an extremely magical one and for me, that is keeping CBD in my starting lineup every day.