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the feeling that you're floating through life
with chronic lyme disease
The ever present feeling of immunity or disconnect from all of
life's meaning, purpose, reason, values and experiences,
while maintaining normal life functions and activities
Imagine yourself all alone on a train traveling at a constant speed and in an unknown direction. While you're sitting in your seat, you look out the window and notice another train completely identical in appearance running parallel to yours. It appears to be traveling at the same constant speed and in the same direction as your train. After examining the parallel train's exterior, you peer through its windows and take note of what resides within its cabins. Your life. Everything that you've ever known, felt, and yearned for is seen on the train running parallel to yours. One train consists of your estranged self perceiving from a distance a train containing the constituents of your life. You can't interact with it. There is a complete disconnect and feeling of estrangement from the train but it forever travels by your side. All you can do is watch as the events of your life unfold and yearn deeply to exist within its realm. Somehow you wish the two trains could once more become a single entity.
The imagined scenario you just read is a metaphor for a psychological symptom of Lyme Disease Tired of Lyme has coined as "floating". An exact definition would be difficult to conjure and relate with which is why an analogy would serve as a better means of understanding and relation for the human mind.
Floating or "floating through life" can be defined as the ever present feeling of immunity or disconnect from all of life's meaning, purpose, reason, values and experiences while maintaining normal life functions and activities. When a person with Lyme Disease stops and reflects on this feeling, feelings of isolation, worthlessness, self pity, failure, estrangement tend to overwhelm a person's thought process. The reality in which they exist in appears to be surreal or dream like. They start to question reason, purpose, existence and even their own sanity. Truth appears to blend in with fiction, making it extremely difficult to distinguish between the two . It may appear through the lens of the person that the entire world feels the same as they do and can't consciously accept this illusion. They may feel the need or wish to "get out of their head" and stand a distance from this state of cognitive distortion.
The feelings may become so strong at times that a person may even imagine their own death occurring in their current environment and how the scenario would immediately unfold after the tragedy right before their eyes. This vision unfolds in the mind as almost an out of body experience; as if the person was watching their own death unfold from a distance. A person doesn't have to be suicidal to have such tragic visions but being in a such a severe state of floating can sometimes become unbearable for those who can't ride out its temporary stay. They run imaginative scenarios through their mind in an attempt to find a possible means of ridding the dark feeling that accompanies floating.
You're a human being. You hurt.
Sometimes the Lyme Disease gets the best of you
and it's okay.
Here are some examples as how a constant but mild case of floating can affect the lives of those enduring this torturous and numb psychological symptom of Lyme Disease:
- Family and friend's birthdays and holiday literally mean nothing to a person with Lyme Disease. These events used to instill great excitement, passion, and meaning but now possess the same worth as any ordinary day on the calendar.
- Music is no longer a melodic composition. It becomes just a sound or noise. There exists no emotional manifestation within us when listening to a song from either the lyrics nor the actual music itself.
- You would feel that if a person your cared for greatly died, there would exist no sorrow or sadness within you. The need for mourning just wouldn't exist despite yearning badly to do so. Feelings of guilt for not honoring a person's death in the expected manner as a normal human would flood the mind.
- Seasons change without instilling excitement or feelings of loss for the next or recently past season. Fall may have recently arrived but you feel that you have yet to officially accept and experience summer. A season may even give the illusion that it stayed for an extremely short period of time.
Floating appears to be the most ever present symptom of Lyme Disease. What this means basically is that unlike shortness of breath or buzzing sensations, the symptom rarely goes away. A good portion of the time it either dissipates or intensifies. The symptom does dissipate greatly once in a while but as treatment continues, so does the floating. There appears to be a direct correlation between the effectiveness of treatment and the strength of floating. It's almost as if the amount of endotoxins the bacteria release when its killed are directly responsible for the degree of floating. When the floating dissipates enough, a person will feel alive again; that they're real; that they have reason and purpose; that they don't feel so estranged from reality and may even go so far as to say they're normal once more. A feeling of extreme gratitude to be alive or for life in general may overwhelm a person who has recently come out a state of floating.
The ability to overcome floating while its occurring is feasible but it's going to require some serious brain power. When the feeling occurs, you must not let its dark oppression get the best of your ability to reason. You need to consciously tell yourself and accept that the oppressive and torturous state is only temporary and will dissipate shortly. Tell yourself by a means of logic that you have a bacterial infection within your body and that its malicious intent is the cause. Remind yourself that you're healing and logically determine that floating is just a symptom that will fade much like the rest of them through the course of treatment.
You're a human being. You hurt and its ok. Sometimes the Lyme Disease gets the best of you and its ok. You won't be able to shake off every influence it has on your mind, body and soul but you can change how you react to it. It's no secret that those who have been battling Lyme Disease for longer than they've imagined just want to feel normal again. They want to feel alive. They want to lead a life on their own terms without the presence of a bacterial infection and here is the reality; it can be done.