Ablemarle County, VA
Infected: August 2009
Diagnosed: September 2009
Current health: “Still sick, still having symptoms, but coping.”

I have hope for the future. I hope one day we can find a cure to this terrible disease.Brandon W.

I got Lyme disease right after I graduated high school. The way I had found out I was sick was going to the hospital after having Bell’s Paulsy (half of the muscles in my face not working properly). I went to the hospital freaking out, thinking I was having a stroke or something… and that is when they informed me [about the Lyme].

I took antibiotics for a while but ended up stopping. The symptoms I have are mostly neurological. I was bitten right on the top back part of my head. The symptoms I struggle most with are chronic headaches and anxiety I had never even knew existed — before then I had no clue what a panic/anxiety disorder was. Another symptom is that it feels like there are rubber bands wrapped tightly around my head, like a constant pressure. I get shortness of breath, some chest pain (probably from muscle tension from the anxiety), racing thoughts, etc..

I had my first panic attack around the time that I was diagnosed, and I thought I was having a heart attack so I had someone call an ambulance for me. When the [medics] showed up, the anxiety was unbearable. My pulse was 195 because I was so scared and had no idea what a panic attack was, so I thought I was dying. After realizing it was something called anxiety/panic disorder, I felt a little better just knowing what was going on with me. I was hyperventilating, and so scared, my limbs started to tingle and go numb. And it took over my entire body, until the tip of the top of my head was tingling, and my tongue was too numb to communicate with the EMT’s who were helping me. My hands were curled into balls and it felt like every muscle in my body was strained.

Ever since that day I have never had a full blown panic attack, just because now I have comfort in knowing what is wrong with me and different ways to cope with it. Now I have changed my diet, and have hope for the future.

I hope one day we can find a cure to this terrible disease.

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