TW: mental health, Lyme disease, autoimmune disease
This year has not been very productive which has been frustrating for me and confusing for those who were expecting me to release new music this year. I apologize for the confusion and I wasn't really sure how much I should share. I don't blame anyone for losing patience. I've been there as well. And I'm very grateful to those who have reached out to ask why. Your concern means a lot to me.
The diagnosis was up in the air for a while and I didn’t really know how to talk about it publicly and wasn’t in a state of mind to do so, so that’s why, if you follow me on social media, I’ve been so vague about it. Over the years I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid disorder, PTSD, and OCD. I’ve been pretty open about struggling with anxiety and depression as well and all these things factor in so that’s why I mention them now.
Early in the year I started not feeling well both physically and mentally. I had gut issues, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, oxygen hunger, spasms in my throat, joint pain, vision problems, unexpected weight loss, severe panic attacks, rage, and paranoia. I had a mini black out on stage at the end of a gig and almost fainted a couple of times so I got really freaked out about performing, especially if Pete (my husband) was unable to go with me.
I had a number of tests done and some indicated that I might have Lyme disease so I was referred to infectious disease and put on antibiotics. While I was waiting for my referral, I started a program under the care of a functional medicine doc to reduce inflammation in my body. My antibodies had been high and the program really helped. I also started working with a therapist who specializes in trauma therapy for women and began EMDR treatments with her which worked wonders on my panic attacks and my overall state of mind.
I am very fortunate to work with some amazing practitioners and did all the things: acupuncture, biofeedback therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy specific to OCD, meditation, sauna, autoimmune protocol diet, fitness training, breathing exercises, somatic exercise. Some of these things were little to no cost, some had higher price tags. I wish all of them were accessible to everyone because they all helped.
Progress was one step forward, two steps back for a while. I was on more than one course of antibiotics and that took a toll on my body as well. At this point, after conferring with all the doctors including infectious disease, the consensus is that I may have had Lyme markers from a previous tick bite and may have been suffering from another tick borne illness that mimics Lyme but that Lyme is not currently the issue and my autoimmune disorder is.
I know people with Lyme and I know there is controversy about the existence of chronic Lyme. That’s not something I want to debate because I’m still recovering and, though I’m in a good mental space right now, I don’t want to fuel any anxiety for myself or my friends who have been diagnosed with Lyme and are doing their best to stay positive about their future.
My doctors and I have concluded that there was a perfect storm of autoimmune issues, stress from *gestures at the world*, a particularly triggering event that I can’t discuss at this time (sorry to be vague again but legal things take time), hormonal shifts from peri-menopause, and a possible reaction to my thyroid medication and/or hormone supplementation. I was in a really dark spiral for a while but had and have a great support system around me of friends, family, and some really compassionate practitioners.
The good news is that I'm writing again and finishing the book that is to accompany my EP Too Sweet: Songs for Setting Boundaries. I'm incredibly proud of this project. The EP was finished just as I was getting sick but the book was still being written. It's amazing to me how much the process of physical and mental healing enhanced the book. It's a deep dive into how I learned to set healthy boundaries after a lifetime of having little to none, the result of being sexually abused as a child. Of course, if that's a little too deep for anyone, you can always just listen to the songs. They were wonderfully arranged and produced by my friends Jake Owen and Andy Dollerson at DOSounds. I'm getting all the promotional material together now and look forward to releasing the entire project early next year. I posted a preview of the title track on Bandcamp.com for my subscribers.
This has been a process. Thank you for your patience. ♥️ ✌🏼
Hear a sweet guitar part on Instagram.com/lauramariemusic