My Lyme I.

Each year several hundred thousands of people are diagnosed with Lyme-disease, a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by ticks world-wide. Due to the miniature size and the painless bite of ticks, it can spread unremarkably. Therefore many more people are misdiagnosed because Lyme-disease can have over 300 different symptoms which may also mimic many other diseases. These symptoms are usually not conspicuous, therefore undiagnosed patients are frequently sent to psychiatry. After years of seeking the reason of my severe headaches, joint pain, mood swings, brain fogs, memory and concentration problems, I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme-disease about two years ago. This series shows my path since then through self-portraits, staged and documentary photographs of the treatments and associational photographs of my revolving symptoms, feelings and healing. Every patient is different, the symptoms and their severity are different, and also the treatments are individualized. Therefore the scope of this project is to give insight into my experiences from the beginning to healing, not a general overview of the disease. The ’My Lyme’ series is divided into three parts; (1) the chaotic beginning, diagnosis and finding the right treatment, (2) the systematic process of healing, (3) the stage after healing. Besides the self-healing function of this series, I think it is important to make Lyme-disease and the issue of ticks well know, because it is always easier to prevent Lyme-disease than treating it. The photography style of the first section is documentary, this marks the beginning of my Lyme journey, the chaos one goes through when has different pains and symptoms out of the blue and knows that something is happening to their body but doesn’t know what. Even when discovering that it is Lyme disease, the high complexity of the topic with much conflicting information enhanced this chaos. This section includes associational photographs of my headaches, brain fogs, mood swings, sensation of bugs under my skin - as a side effect of some medicines-, my fear of nature and ticks, and documentary photographs of ozone IV treatment.

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