A Bad Mix of Medication and My Experience with Lyme Rage

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(From June 2013) I had been doing pretty well overall managing my Lyme disease.  I had been eating well, taking all the right supplements and getting in a fair amount of exercise considering my low energy and stamina.  I was starting to think I had turned a corner (once again) and that thing were improving.

I then started having a really bad week mentally.  I would have waves of depression that I just couldn’t snap out of.  And then I would be fine and something little would set me off and I would start my downward spiral again.  I even started being borderline paranoid and delusional.  This was all really weird and hard for me to accept because normally I’m a very grounded person.  Normally if I get depressed I can talk myself through it and tell myself it’s only the Lyme and this is not you and you will get through this and be alright.  But this was different.  I kept telling myself to snap out of it but I didn’t want to listen for some reason.

Then my negative thoughts would multiply and grow and turn into new negative thoughts that would build upon one another.  It was a long internal battle in my head and I couldn’t let little things go.  For example my boss is a very direct person.  He made a critical comment about something that I did and I completely internalized it and completely over analyzed it and turned it into something it was not even remotely close to being.  He was then off for a week so I didn’t see him for a while to validate that everything was alright.  I actually started to believe I was going to be fired.  The thing is my boss will say stuff like this and then the next moment praise something else that I did.  It’s just how he is and I like the fact that he’s direct and doesn’t play games.  But this time I was in my crazy Lyme funk and was having a hard time telling reality from the delusional churn in my head.

Later that week my wife and I headed up to NJ to meet my family for a vacation.  I told myself I was going to have a good time and to live in the now.  The day started off great.  First it was a day off from work which is always nice and the weather was beautiful.  We started our drive and got in a petty squabble on the way up and again my mood was in the dumps.  I love my wife very much and we argue just like anyone else.  Again, something that happens in any relationship and normally I wouldn’t skip a beat and everything would be fine.  Not this time.  I just couldn’t let little things go.  It was almost surreal observing myself feed into utter nonsense and make a big deal about nothing.

The Calm Before The Storm

We managed to make it to our destination in NJ without further squabbles and I was feeling normal again.  We had a nice dinner alone from the family, went back to the condo and got a decent nights sleep.  We both got up early and went to the gym and had a nice workout.  It was raining most of that day so we heading to Atlantic City, which was right down the road, and had a nice day of site seeing.  That night we had a nice dinner and I saw my sister, who also has Lyme, and we had an enjoyable time with the family.

We woke early again the next day and had another good workout and I was feeling pretty good.  The weather was beautiful and we were going to spend the day at the beach.  We got back to our room and I wanted to make polenta for breakfast but didn’t have an onion and had to run to the store, which was about 15 minutes away.  Of course it ended up taking longer than expected.

On my way back I got a call from my wife asking how much longer because everyone left for the beach.  I was about 5 minutes away and said I would be right there.  I don’t know what it was but I was completely livid that everyone left before I got back.  Especially because part of the reason it took me longer was because I was buying food for the family to cookout that night for dinner.  Yes, it was inconsiderate that they left me but in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal.  We were driving ourselves to the beach anyway and they told us exactly where to meet up.

But I just snapped when I got back to the condo.  I’m embarrassed to say I started yelling at my wife and she went in to our room to get away from me and I just stood there seething, feeling like I wanted to kill someone.  It took all I had not to destroy the place.  I looked at the table and just wanted to flip the entire thing over plates and all.  And I never do this.  I’m the picture of calm and reserved.  I’m known for being the chill, laid back guy.  People always ask me how I can stay so calm during stressful situations.  And yet there I was on the verge of vandalizing the room and upsetting my wife.

I somehow managed not to destroy anything.  We drove to the beach and I was breathing deeply doing all I could to calm myself but I was just so angry inside.  It was the most bizarre thing ever.  I wanted it to go away so bad but it wouldn’t leave.  Finally at the beach and it took most of the day for the anger to subside.

When I finally got over that day I was fine.  I was able to look back at the past few days and say what the hell were you thinking man??  I even had some good laughs at how completely nuts I was.  I was finally able to believe myself when I told myself I was being irrational.

That Sunday was Father’s Day and we saw my wife’s family and all was good again.  I had a doctor’s appointment the next day on Monday.  I told my doctor how I had been feeling and she said, “Oh, you had an episode of Lyme rage”, and I was like, Lyme rage??  Yep, I never even knew there was such a thing.

She reviewed my medication and thought the combination of Mycobutin, Flagyl, and Artemisinin were just too much for my system to handle.  I was only taking Flagyl for one week out of the month and that was my Flagyl week. She said the combination of the three drugs were killing too many bacteria in my brain releasing a flood of neurotoxins which will affect mood and in some cases, dramatically affect mood.  She had me stop taking those three immediately and put me on some new meds.  So far so good and I’m feeling much better mentally.

So, I guess the point here is, if you ever get into a deep funk/depression/rage, take a look at your meds and consult your doctor asap.  And remember that Lyme is very neurological for many of us and when we get in these moods it’s important to remember that it’s the Lyme and not you.  This can be hard to rationalize when you’re going through it and sometime you need to just keep reminding yourself of this.

I hope I never go through this again and if I do I’ll know to take a look at my meds and back off.  I learned my lesson.  You really need to listen to what your body is telling you.  I never even thought to make the connection that antibiotics and an herb were causing a huge brain herx even though I’ve herxed many times before.  This was just a new herx and I really should have made the connection.  Hopefully you have not and never go through this either and I hope you can learn from my lesson…

Photo courtesy of: http://restlessdaydream.deviantart.com/art/Rage-26581519