Seriously-Suicide is Optional

For everything that is related to Lyme and/or Lymeland, but doesn't fit in the other forums. Speak your mind, connect, ask help, etc.
Posts: 2768
Joined: Thu 1 Jul 2010 8:33

Re: Seriously-Suicide is Optional

Post by RitaA » Thu 7 Aug 2014 20:27

Dear Cobwebby,

I am so very sorry that you lost your brother to suicide. No matter how recently or how long ago that happened, I'm willing to bet it still hurts -- a lot.

Thank you for sharing the reasons you didn't commit suicide because those may serve as an important reminder to some folks reading this thread that other Lyme disease patients have felt equally hopeless and helpless at times -- and yet survived thoughts of suicide, and sometimes even serious attempts, often happy that they are still alive in spite of all of the challenges that they continue to face.

Even the most casual of acquaintances can be affected by suicide. My husband and I live in a high-rise building full of mostly very friendly residents who routinely say hello and chat briefly in the downstairs lobby or during elevator rides. In other words, most of us know one another by face -- if not always by name or unit number. When a woman two floors up and one unit over jumped to her death last summer, it came as a shock to everyone -- myself included. My initial reaction was something like: "Why didn't she ask for the help and support that she obviously needed?" (i.e. blaming the victim, I'm somewhat ashamed to admit here publicly). Then I reminded myself there was a very good chance she had reached out, and simply didn't get the type of support she needed when she needed it.

Having two children unfortunately didn't protect this woman from taking her own life. Despite leaving a suicide note for police to find, I doubt that anyone -- and especially her children -- will ever truly understand all of the reasons for her decision. That's what complicates the grief associated with suicide -- the not ever really knowing, and also wondering if there was something (anything) we as individuals or even members of society could have done or should be doing to prevent this from happening again.

My husband's colleague lost her husband to suicide about two years ago. From all appearances, he was a happy and healthy person who excelled in his professional life in addition to being an amazing athlete. Most importantly, he was always there for family, friends and colleagues when they needed help. Despite the best efforts of family members and close friends who loved him, as well as medical professionals who treated him for bipolar disorder, it wasn't enough to keep him alive. His colleagues were utterly shocked to learn that he had taken his own life. None of them had any clue that he had struggled with bipolar disorder for years.

I could go on and on (unfortunately), but suffice to say that each suicide impacts a lot of people -- and not in a good way.

Since this is the Lyme Café, I wanted to let you know that I really like your Lyme awareness t-shirt. I'm willing to bet that it really is quite the conversation starter, and that people you share your experiences with leave feeling much more informed about Lyme disease.

I hope your cystoscopy procedure goes as smoothly as possible, and that your doctor is able to gather enough information to come up with the best possible treatment plan for you. Here's hoping that things will in fact get better again regardless of the cause.



Edited to remove some irrelevant comments.
Last edited by RitaA on Tue 19 Aug 2014 21:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Joined: Sun 23 Feb 2014 22:47

Re: Seriously-Suicide is Optional

Post by velvetmagnetta » Tue 19 Aug 2014 12:05

Hi RitA and Cobwebby -

Thank you for posting all this information and for sharing your personal experiences with this taboo subject. Suicide is not so taboo in the Lyme communities, so at least maybe we can all feel comfortable enough to talk honestly and openly about it.

I'm so very sorry to hear about what happened to your brother, Cobwebby. I have no experience with family, friends, or acquaintances ending their own lives, so I cannot personally relate to the depths of your pain. But it has definitely made me think more about the role of Lyme (and other diseases of possibly unknown origin) in depression.

As we all know intimately well, Lyme gets into the spine, brain, and nerves all over the body. So, it must hit some people in the "mood" portion of the brain. Nerves are everywhere and they control everything in the body. The brain is one big group of neurons all susceptible to whatever it is that Lyme does to the nerves.

Nobody even knows how our nerves are damaged or where that damage is located on the neuron. Is it damage to the myelin sheaths like in MS? Is it damaged nerves mis-firing? Which neurotransmitters are effected? Neurotransmitters play a significant role in depression. So, if nerves are messing up this process, depression may very well be a result.

I have many legitimate reasons for getting depressed - and sometimes I do - but luckily it is not a clinical depression that never goes away - it is situational as RitA put it - but she's right...Dead is still dead!

And who knows what tomorrow may bring. Maybe Wormser will retire and somebody who believes in and cares about Lyme patients with post-treatment pain will take his place and we can finally get some real research going!

So, yeah. Let's all hang in there a little while longer just to see what happens. Meanwhile, do everything you can to minimize the pain you are experiencing - whether it be with antidepressants and/or painkillers and/or yoga and/or anything that makes you feel even just a little bit better each day.

Posts: 2768
Joined: Thu 1 Jul 2010 8:33

Re: Seriously-Suicide is Optional

Post by RitaA » Tue 19 Aug 2014 20:31

Thanks for your post, velvetmagnetta.

I don't believe anyone really knows (at least not yet) exactly how Lyme disease impacts brain function (including mood), however I do think there are useful clues to be found in other diseases/syndromes. ... nd-in-hand
Why chronic illness and depression go hand in hand

It's one of the body's crueler tricks: Chronic illness can be depressing, while depression makes chronic illness worse.

By: Melissa Breyer
Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 03:30 PM


It’s one of the places where the human body displays its dark side, an exceedingly tricky vicious cycle that many people are forced to contend with. The relationship often comes into play when people are suffering from chronic illness, which is consistently associated with an increase in depressive symptoms. In some cases depression associated with chronic illness stems from specific biologic effects of a disease — for instance with central nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s disease, or endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism. In other situations, depression is incited by the conditions and hardships brought on by illness.


The following are some of the illnesses most commonly associated with depression:


Parkinson's disease: 40 percent experience depression

While being diagnosed with a chronic illness may be cause alone for depression, in the case of Parkinson’s disease, there appears to be pathological causes as well. A 2008 brain imaging study found that people with Parkinson's disease may have an unusually high number of reuptake pumps for serotonin, the brain compound that helps regulate mood. Overactive pumps decrease serotonin levels, potentially leading to increased depression in some people with Parkinson's disease. Like many chronic illnesses, for people with depression and Parkinson's disease, both illnesses can make symptoms of the other worse, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Multiple sclerosis: 40 percent experience depression

Aside from the emotional stress of diagnosis, depression in patients with MS may be physically caused by the disease process itself. MS damages the myelin and nerve fibers deep within the brain — and if it affects areas that are involved in emotional processing, a number of behavioral changes can occur including the onset of depression, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Changes in the immune and/or neuroendocrine systems caused by MS can also affect depression; there is some evidence, for instance, that changes in mood in patients with MS are accompanied by changes in certain immune parameters. Also, some drugs such as corticosteroids or interferon medications — both prescribed for MS — may trigger or deepen depression.


I wholeheartedly agree when it comes to doing anything and everything possible to improve our quality of life -- regardless of what our health challenges may be.

Unfortunately, for people who are severely depressed, lack of motivation to do anything at all presents a major challenge. For some folks just getting out of bed is a major accomplishment. That's when a bit of encouragement from family members and friends can make a huge difference -- but it needs to be done with sensitivity.

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