DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that I am not a doctor and what I share here is my personal experience and not intended to diagnose, treat or advise. Please seek the care of a trained professional when needed.
When our daughter began having anxiety it never dawned on me to address her diet. I took her to the pediatrician a number of times and her doctor never told me to explore possible food allergies or heavy metal toxicity. She never considered that Lyme infections could be the cause.
Most doctors do not seem to be aware of the fact that bacterial infections cause a high percentage of mental illness cases.¹
My daughter’s doctor didn’t explain to me how certain foods can actually trigger anxiety and OCD or how I could use natural supplements and amino acids to calm the raging storm inside my little girl. Instead, she gave me a list of parenting books and told me if the problem persists then I should seek out a psychiatrist. We did see a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a family counselor. Medication did little to help my daughter and the side effects were not worth having her on them.
I began researching and I talked with a good friend of mine who is trained in natural medicine, nutrition, and natural healing. She convinced me that I had to change my daughter’s diet in order to help alleviate her symptoms. I learned further that I could also use amino acids and calmatives to help her anxiety.
My daughter’s anxiety and OCD were brought on by tick-borne disease and exasperated because of heavy metal toxicity.
Her true healing didn’t come until we addressed the infections she had but we were able to provide relief by making some key changes. You can read more about her story in a previous post How A Tick Bite Changed My daughter.
We began to notice that eliminating gluten, sugar, preservatives, food coloring, and junk food all helped to calm her anxiety.²
We then eliminated dairy which was very difficult because my daughter craved milk. We were already a whole foods family but allowed junk foods, sodas, and ice cream on special occasions and weekends. We cut those out completely for her.
We addressed her gut by giving her a good quality probiotic. I then began to give her B-6, evening primrose oil, GABA, fish oil, zinc, and Vitamin D. We used l-Theanine, GABA, and Bach’s Rescue Remedy when she needed extra help. I also used essential oils like Lavender, Valor, and Peace and Calming.
These changes helped my daughter so much and eased her symptoms.
When you notice your children having difficulties with moodiness, temper tantrums, or trouble with school, please consider what they’re eating and drinking. With a few basic changes, you might just find that those problems disappear.
My daughter is older now and has taken ownership of her health. She knows what sets her off and she knows what makes her feel great. She is very serious about exercising and is very strict with her diet.
Since we homeschool, we used our journey living with chronic Lyme disease as part of our school. All three of my girls have earned more than an entire credit because they have gone deeper, learning more about health, nutrition, and fitness.
Many moms already understand the connection between food and their children’s health but usually implementing these steps is much more difficult, especially if our child is old enough to resist the changes. Keep researching and keep working to do whatever you can to help them. I believe the more you are convinced and the more you involve your child in these changes the easier it will be to transition to a lifestyle that will help to calm the storm of anxiety within them.
¹ Microbes and Mental Illness
Infectious Agents in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder
ILADS Psychiatric Lyme Brochure
Do Bartonella Infections Cause Agitation, Panic Disorder, and Treatment-Resistant Depression?
Because my child suffered from severe anxiety and OCD I know the deep down frustration that a mom can feel when your child has a panic attack and you have no earthly idea what’s going on or what to do.
If you haven’t read my first post in this series check out how to recognize anxiety in your child.
When your child becomes completely irrational it’s impossible to get their attention, impossible to discuss anything with them and logic doesn’t work. You could feel at a total loss and could even begin to have your own anxiety attack grasping for some way to just get them to stop.
We tried many different things to help our daughter with her anxiety, often to no avail. We did eventually find tools that we could use to bring some sort of calm to our daughter and our home.
First of all, you need to know and really understand that your child’s anxiety is not their fault. They can’t just stop, they can’t pray it away, they can’t change their thinking especially when they’re right smack in the middle of it.
When your child is having an anxiety attack they are having a very real physiological reaction. Chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters send signals to different parts of the brain that influences the processes in the body. Once this happens there is an activation of the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the fight or flight response. Adrenaline is then released into their system causing a state of panic, dizziness, increased heart rate and shortness of breath.
When you begin to understand what’s going on physiologically, it becomes easier to handle the situation appropriately but you’ll need tools and you’ll need to practice when everyone is calm.
As the caregiver, you’ll need to take a deep breath and calm yourself down. Step back or step out of the area if you can. Your child may not want you to leave and if that’s the case either sit or stand quietly near them and calmly take in a few deep breaths.
While you’re slowly breathing, you’re calming yourself down so that you can think clearly. At this time, you’re going to assess what’s going on and if you know what has triggered their anxiety you can begin to help them work through it.
The next thing you’ll want to do is to calmly and softly speak to them. Some children do well if you hug them and others just want you nearby. Ask your child what it is they need or what is causing them to be afraid.
He may not know and that’s OK, just tell him you’ll figure it out together. You have to figure out what works best for your individual child and the best time to figure that out is when you’re just hanging out together and he’s not anxious.
Don’t take anything your child says or does personally. Remember, your child is afraid, probably terrified. He doesn’t want to behave negatively but he also doesn’t know how to control himself at this point.
Things that can be helpful to an anxious child are for you to sit nearby, softly touching them, holding their hand, embracing them in a tight hug, speaking words of truth over them in a very soft voice, praying out loud for them, or just sitting quietly with them so that they know you’re there.
It is really helpful to write down a list of coping skills that can be implemented during an anxiety attack such as deep breathing, escaping by listening to music or watching TV, having them talk back to the thoughts that are making them anxious, reading scriptures or statements that are true, for example; “I’m ok, this is just a feeling and it will pass”, holding a stress ball, or talking it out.
Keep this list handy so that you can ask which coping skill they’d like to practice. If your child doesn’t want to cooperate begin deep breathing exercises and ask him to do it with you. You can then try to gently and calmly lead them into one of these skills to see if it’s helpful.
Sometimes a supplement like GABA or l-Theanine can help to calm your child just enough to where he will be able to practice his coping skills. Using Lavender, Stress Away or Peace and Calming essential oils from Young Living can be very helpful as well.
If your child’s anxiety is too much for you and you aren’t able to work through it with him, please seek out the help of a therapist who can teach you both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This was one of the best things we did for our daughter.
Next time, I’ll be discussing how infections, food, and environment could be the cause of your child’s anxiety. In the meantime, go hug your anxious child.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor and what I share here is only for your personal reading and not intended to be used as a medical diagnosis or treatment plan. Please seek the care of a doctor if you or your child are experiencing any symptoms that you are concerned about.
When my family was thrust head on into life with Lyme and tick-borne diseases, anxiety was one of the many symptoms we had. While anxiety is very common with Lyme it manifested in different ways for each one of us.
When my daughter, at 7 years old, began having anxiety and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) my pediatrician told me it was very common in kids her age, handed me a book list and kindly sent me on my way. She told me if things got worse I could take her to a psychiatrist and get prescription medications for her.
My pediatrician didn’t believe that my daughter’s symptoms were caused by tick-borne diseases even though I had taken her in for multiple tick bites and discussed some of the research I found showing a connection.
When my young daughter began having anxiety, I didn’t initially recognize it as such and so in this post I wanted to share some of the ways children can exhibit anxiety.
SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY IN CHILDREN
- Not wanting to go to sleep at night, sometimes stating fear as a reason.
- Waking up in the middle of the night.
- Having bad dreams.
- Wanting to sleep in their parent’s room.
- Afraid to go into another part of the house unless a parent is with them.
- Not wanting to leave home.
- Not wanting their parent to leave them.
- Being overly clingy.
- Getting more upset than usual when being corrected; overreacting, screaming or yelling.
- Crying over little things, being whiny or sad all the time.
- Complaining of headaches, stomachaches, diarrhea, nausea.
- Unable to focus on schoolwork.
- Unwilling to do certain assignments or read specific books.
- Loss of interest in things that they used to enjoy doing.
- Not wanting to play with siblings or friends.
- Appearing to be difficult, argumentative, or defiant.
- Fighting with siblings or other children on a regular basis.
- Lying about wrong-doings.
- Making up stories about things that didn’t happen.
- Watching TV or movies more than usual.
- Spending unusual amounts of time on the computer.
- Isolating themselves from others for extended periods of time.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list and some of these symptoms could be a normal part of childhood.
It’s important to pay attention to your child’s behavior and try to communicate with them about what they’re thinking or feeling.
If you’re concerned that your child may have anxiety, as a Mom who has been there I highly recommend taking the time to research how nutrition can be a major factor.
Food allergies, tick-borne diseases, hormonal imbalances, & heavy metal toxicity are among some of the things that could cause and exasperate anxiety in your child. Depending on your doctor’s knowledge and philosophy, these might only be diagnosed and treated effectively by a natural, holistic or alternative doctor.
Join me next time as I discuss some specific ways you can help your child when they are experiencing anxiety in my post Calming the Storm Anxiety in Your Child
For Further Reading:
Anxiety is on the rise and it can often be completely eliminated by addressing nutritional deficiencies and biochemical imbalances, removing toxins, improving the gut, addressing hormonal imbalances and eating real whole food!
Between June 6 and June 16, 2016, she will be interviewing world-class experts and opinion leaders on the topic of anxiety and food.
- “Anxiety: The Stressed and Toxic Gut” – Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, author of Eat Dirt
- “Is Coffee Your Hidden Anxiety Trigger and How to Substitute It with Delicious and Healing Drinks” – Magdalena Wszelaki, founder of Hormones Balance
- “Gluten and anxiety: the testing conundrum solution” – Dr. Tom O’Bryan DC, CCN, host The Gluten Summit
- “Multiple sclerosis and anxiety: The Wahls Protocol” – Dr. Terry Wahls, MD, author of The Wahls Protocol
- “Anxiety and digestion: the microbiome, stomach acid, bile and the vagus nerve” – Prof. Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, CNS, author of Digestive Wellness
- “Marijuana and anxiety: Panacea or Pandora’s Box?” – Dr. Hyla Cass, M.D., board-certified in psychiatry and integrative medicine, author of The Addicted Brain and How to Break Free
- “Anxiety and heavy metals: chelation of mercury and lead” – John Dempster, ND, host of the Mental Wellness Summit
- “Nutrients that Fuel Brain Power and Reduce Anxiety” – Dr. Drew Ramsey, M.D., psychiatrist, farmer, author of Eat Complete
Check out the complete speaker lineup here:
- Top of the World – a custom song co-created by Trudy Scott and Amma Jo
- The King’s Medicine Cabinet eBook: A complete guide on essential oils and their history, uses, cures, and recipes that will transform your health forever! By Dr. Josh Axe, author of Eat Dirt
- Using Food and Nutrition to Improve ADHD and Autism by Julie Matthews, author of Nourishing Hope for Autism [get affiliate link
- The Leptin Blueprint by Mike Mutzel, author of The Belly Fat Effect
- Hacking Fluoroquinolones by Lisa Bloomquist, patient advocate, creator of Floxie Hope
- SCD Quick Start Guide by Steve Wright, creator of SCDlifestyle
- Outsmart Your Addiction Quiz and Reclaim Your Brain e-report by Dr. Hyla Cass, MD, author of Natural Highs
- 10 Ways to Balance Serotonin Naturally by Dr. Peter Bongiorno, author of Put Anxiety Behind You
- Food for Thought – an audio presentation by Dr. Terry Wahls, MD, author of The Wahls Protocol
- Wellness Without Limits ebook by Dr. John Dempster ND, host of the Mental Wellness Summit
- “5 Steps to Restoring Health Protocol” audio book, “Lyme Disease: Why an Antibiotic Bug Bomb is Not the Answer” eBook and “Heavy Metal Toxicity: A Modern Day Epidemic Not Being Addressed” eBook by Dr. Jay Davidson, author of 5 Steps to Restoring Health Protocol
Healing With Homeopathy
No claims are made as to how our treatment protocol may or may not help you individually or whether or not it would be useful for your unique health condition. This blog post is not intended to be an endorsement of any specific product or treatment but rather a source of information for your own personal research.
I’ve been sharing a deeply personal story of how Lyme disease changed my daughter. If you missed them you can find them here. Part 1 The Psychological Affects Of Lyme Disease and Part 2 Using Supplements To Nourish The Brain
Most people associate Lyme disease with joint pain and fatigue and are surprised to learn that Lyme and coinfections can also affect their emotional and mental health.
Not many people expect a tick bite to result in panic attacks, rage, OCD or any other type of mental illness, but it can and it does for a large number of people. Unfortunately, many children and teens are plagued with mental illness and no one stops to think that it could be caused by a tick-borne infection. Our home was turned upside down when our daughter began having severe anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, and rage as a result of a tick bite.
Antibiotic treatment only made her worse, anti-depressants didn’t help and anti-anxiety medication made her sleepy and nonfunctional.
I was so excited when I found information from Dr. Klinghardt on YouTube and Trudy Scott through the Anxiety Summit about nutritional support and supplements that could possibly help my daughter. I shared more about this in detail in Part 2.
I began using the supplements recommended and changed her diet. My daughter began to improve with each day and before long she was doing many things for herself without getting stuck by OCD. We had 3 wonderful months with this beautiful and talented young girl. I saw my real daughter again for the first time in a long time.
However, over time, the supplements proved to not be enough and her OCD began to creep back in and anxiety began to cripple her all over again regaining intensity with each day.
While the supplements helped and we continued to use them, especially GABA, she was not getting better.
Her doctor was at a loss as to how to help her. She told me that there was nothing more she could do and that I needed to take her back to the psychiatrist. Her therapist was also at a loss and with a heavy heart felt there was nothing more she could do to help her because she wasn’t willing or able to do her therapy homework and we weren’t making progress.
I found myself in the most horrible place a mother could ever find herself; I was desperate and hopeless. I was exhausted and worried that we wouldn’t find a way to help her. I tried to come to grips with the reality that my daughter might be this way for the rest of her life.
The stress in our home was overwhelming and this poor girl, crippled and controlled by tick-borne infections needed help.
I needed help too! I felt like I couldn’t care for her anymore! I didn’t think I could tolerate one more tantrum, help her get dressed again, defend her behavior, or stay up another night telling her everything would be ok, but I couldn’t give up either.
I was introduced to a woman at church who is a Registered Nurse and used to work for a Lyme doctor. She also had first-hand experience with Lyme when her son contracted it. When I met her and listened to her story I grew skeptical when she told me that her doctor helped her son get better in 4 months using homeopathic sprays.
My initial thought was that there’s no way a person with chronic Lyme disease and co-infections can recover in 4 months, after all, we had already been in treatment for over 4 years, but there her son was sprawled out across several chairs looking like a normal teen. I graciously exchanged email addresses and walked away a little more discouraged.
For some reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about our conversation and decided to email her. The more we interacted the more I thought we should try to see this doctor, after all, nothing else is helping and I had never heard of anyone getting better.
My daughter was diagnosed with Lyme and Bartonella when she was 9 but began having symptoms at the age of 7. Later she was diagnosed with Babesia.
When I called to make an appointment the waiting list was over 6-months, but what else could I do? I put her name on the list and explained as only a desperate Mom could, how important it was that we get in sooner. I told them I was willing to drop everything and come if there was a cancellation.
After making the appointment I began to hope again. I hoped this new doctor would help my daughter the way he helped that young man at church.
When our appointment came, the doctor was kind and attentive. He evaluated her, did his testing and explained that he could get her better. His methods and his treatment practices were completely foreign to me. I didn’t understand it and I even doubted him.
He told us that her symptoms could get worse before we saw any improvement. They did get worse and I threatened several times to take her off the remedies but my daughter had hope too and she refused to stop them.
By week 9, my daughter got up out of bed and came downstairs all by herself. She was smiling and said, “Mom, I feel great today can I make cookies!” I was so thrilled I told her she could do anything she wanted to. This was only the beginning of her healing and of better days.
She has been under his care for almost 2 years now and has done amazingly well. In fact, if you met her today you would never know that this story could be hers. We hardly remember those dark and difficult days.
She’s now a healthy, vibrant and amazing young woman. She’s doing great in school, loves to play the guitar, write music and sing.
My girl knows this struggle made her stronger and that her story just might help someone else. She’s no longer embarrassed or humiliated by this because she knows it was caused by tick-borne diseases and now that she feels great, she wants to help and encourage others who struggle with fear, anxiety, and OCD.
If her story has encouraged you, would you leave her a comment below?
If you identify with her story, don’t give up hope. Keep searching, keep praying and remember that sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone in order to find something that works.Sometimes, you have to get out of your comfort zone in order to find something that works!… Click To Tweet
I recently had to have an MRI for my wrist, nothing related to Lyme I just injured it trying to move a cabinet that was way too heavy. I’ve never had an MRI but I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal, they’d just slip my arm in and everything would be good.
The tech however pointed to the table and proceeded to tell me to lie down as he draped a blanket over me.
As we were discussing why I couldn’t just put my arm in the MRI (because that techy side of me really wanted to know) he pushed the button that caused me and the table to go into the MRI tube much too fast for my liking.
Surprisingly, I found myself going into a slight panic. The table was the highest it could go and I’m sure my nose could have touched the top of the machine. Thankfully my head was just perfectly lined up with the outside edge of the tunnel so that I could still see out.
Tim, the tech, noticed that I completely stopped talking to him and that I was breathing rather heavily. He asked me if I was OK, reassured me that I wasn’t going in any further and offered me headphones and my favorite radio station as a distraction.
Along the Lyme road, anxiety has been an unwanted roommate in my heart. When I first read a description of what Lyme bacteria is and that I probably had other bacteria and parasites I felt more then anxious at that thought of those bugs inside of me.
Sometimes I felt as though I couldn’t breathe. As we diagnosed each of our children with Lyme and coinfections that anxiety began to increase.
Learning that the cost of Lyme treatment was almost completely out of pocket also brought great anxiety which sometimes turned to depression.
Anxiety is a symptom of tick-borne infections and I was already having panic attacks for no reason, tack on the added stresses of life, parenting and chronic illness and it was beginning to get out of control.
Here are 5 things that may help you get a grip on anxiety.
1. Don’t make light of it!
When you or someone in your life is having anxiety, they’re not thinking straight so telling them to get a grip or get over it isn’t going to work. It may actually exasperate the situation and increase the anxiety.
When you first realize you’re having anxiety try to get to a place where you can sit down and take some relaxing breaths. Practice focused breathing, taking slow deep breaths in and out. Close your eyes if it helps.
3. Talk to someone.
My husband would always be the first person I would talk to. He would remind me that everything is going to be OK. He reminded me of God’s love for me and that God will take care of me, that God would provide for us and that I can trust Him. He really likes little quick sayings that are easy to remember so he would say, “feed your faith, starve your fear.” I was comforted by this but it didn’t always help my anxious heart.
My friends were also helpful when working through my anxiety. They were available to me, to listen, to encourage and to pray with me. A real friend won’t tell you what you want to hear, they will tell you the truth in love. They may not have understood my deep feelings or how real my anxiety felt but they were comforting and I’m forever thankful for those friends.
4. Speak to yourself, don’t listen to yourself.
I was told this years ago when the anxiety first started. Half the time I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to speak to myself or listen but I knew that what I was listening to wasn’t helping. So, I began to write down God’s promises and then repeated those promises every time my self-talk would get all negative.
I learned to pray God’s promises back to him especially when I just didn’t know what to pray. I sometimes found myself praying like the father in Mark 9, the one who brought his son to Jesus to heal. He said “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” so I prayed that too because I was struggling to believe but I really wanted to.
My anxiety took over my rational thinking and took my eyes and my faith off of my Savior. Over and over again I had to go to scripture to remind myself of God’s character and His great love for me and my family. I had to replace my thinking.
5. Take Care of Yourself.
A wise friend always reminded me that when the plane goes down you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help those around you. I had to learn to stop pushing myself to get the “mommy or wife of the year award” and to care for myself.
Getting plenty of rest, eating healthy foods and staying away from sugar and processed foods helped with my anxiety because it helped to nourish and calm my body and mind. Healthy food is good medicine.
I’d like to say that I found a miracle cure but for my anxiety it took time to work through, time of treating my illness and time to see God’s faithful provision and care over the course of my illness.
Please understand that my anxiety was not the same or as severe as it would be for someone with an anxiety disorder. We have experience with that in our family as well and my strong advice is to seek out medical help.
We always prefer alternative and natural care, especially when traditional medical care failed to help or get to the root of the problem.
We also sought the help of a wonderful and experienced therapist who could teach real skills using cognitive behavioral therapy and provide the support and encouragement needed.
I survived the anxiety I experienced during my MRI using skills I’ve learned through the years. I hope these steps will help you or someone you know who might be struggling too.