My Lyme

Lyme disease - a vague term, most of us have probably heard of it but don’t know exactly what it is. Each year about 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the United States. Many more are misdiagnosed because Lyme 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. Lyme disease - Borrelia burgdoferi - is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by ticks world-wide. Due to the miniature size and the painless bite of ticks, people don’t even realize they have been bitten. If not treated early, chronic Lyme disease may seriously affect quality of life, causing about 40% disability and unemployment rate among patients. The symptoms can vary from neurologic, neuropsychiatric to arthritic as well as eye and heart related issues. They include for example headache, memory loss, sleep impairment, joint pain, muscle aches, depression, cognitive impairment, psychosis, neuropathy, seizures or even paralysis. After years of seeking the reason of my severe headaches, brain fogs, memory and concentration problems, I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease about one year ago. At the age of 28, I find myself taking a handful of medicines three times a day while receiving regular IV treatments. 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, not a general overview of the disease. This series include self-portraits, documentary photographs of the treatments and associational photographs of my revolving symptoms and feelings.

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