If I’ve been incredibly rude to you or snappy or tearful lately, if I’ve taken offence where none was intended, or I’ve wildly overreacted to something you said on social media, I do apologise. It wasn’t the real me you experienced in those moments: it was the mad brain that sometimes seizes control of me.
The reason I have these episodes — as I keep having to explain to my bemused victims, after the event — is that I’m currently undergoing intensive medical treatment which gives me these weird and powerful mood swings. Known as the Perrin Technique, the treatment — which involves regular massage of the limbic system — has been very successful at dealing with conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome and even, I hope, Lyme disease. Because the limbic system controls your emotions the side effects, as in my case, can be bizarre beyond belief.
Some medical experts claim that Lyme disease is worse than cancer. It’s not a competition, but I do know one thing: at least if you’ve got the Big C you get sympathy, understanding and prompt treatment. With Lyme you’re pretty much on your own.
This isn’t a plea for public sympathy. I’ve had Lyme for God knows how long — decades possibly — and though it has disrupted my health and my life in myriad weird, torturous and sometimes hideous ways, I still consider myself one of the fortunate ones. First, it hasn’t killed me; second, I’ve had some state-of-the-art stem cell treatment which with luck will eventually cure me. But it’s definitely not a condition I’d recommend.
Writer, journalist and columnist James Delingpole, 53, suffered for many years
The cause is a Lyme Disease – which is notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat
Here, he reveals his on-going battle to beat the devastating tick-borne condition
Almost the worst thing about Lyme disease — almost worse than the migraines, brain fog, night sweats, chronic fatigue, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, neck ache, facial twitch, numbness, shooting pains, arthritic joints and the sensation of impending death — is that no one believes your problem is real.
You complain to the family and they say: ‘Off he goes again. What is it this time — a brain tumour?’
You moan to the wife and she says: ‘But I thought you’d been told years ago that it wasn’t Lyme?’
You tell your doctor you think you’ve got Lyme, and he says: ‘Now let’s see if we can get to the bottom of what’s really wrong with you.’
I’m on a no-alcohol, no-caffeine, no-sugar, vegan diet. It’s less fun than it sounds. Occasionally I cheat, but mostly I don’t, because I don’t want to upset the lovely doctors at the Infusio clinic in Frankfurt who gave me my stem cells for the Lyme disease treatment and who insist they need the right anti-inflammatory, alkaline diet to thrive. And besides, even though it’s horrible, I’m quite enjoying, in my masochistic way the rigour and the punishing asceticism. Also, it has given me insights into a world which I never imagined in a million years I would ever enter.