Ally Hilfiger on Recovering From Lyme Disease
Ally Hilfiger—whose life was ravaged by Lyme disease from childhood into adulthood—has tried essentially every possible treatment option (and then some), from the conventional to the metaphysical, the curative to the supportive. In her book, Bite Me, she candidly shares every doctor’s visit, strength gain, and setback on her journey to (eventually) getting healthier—and happier. Today, she helps others to navigate that same, difficult journey, and spreads awareness of this chronic condition, which has gone misunderstood far too long. “My story is not unusual, but it needs to be told, if only to give others a voice for theirs,” Hilfiger says.
Hilfiger serves on the board of Project Lyme, a global advocacy organization focused on prevention and early detection (see a checklist from founder/president Heather Hearst here). We asked Hilfiger to share some tools and resources that were meaningful to her outside of doctors’ offices (read our interviews on Lyme with M.D.’s here).
Healing Soundbites from Ally Hilfiger
ON MENTAL-EMOTIONAL-SPIRITUAL HEALING…
Shifting my mental attitude was a great part of my recovery. Thinking positively and telling my body that it was constantly healing and progressing—instead of that it was constantly sick and deteriorating—made me feel better emotionally. Any form of spirituality might help—mine was spending time in nature and meditating.
HER ADVICE TO PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC LYME…
Lyme disease is complicated and there is not one answer. When people come to me for advice, I always turn to manifesting positive thinking and retraining the subconscious mind to communicate with the physical body. I share the use of focus wheels and written intentions, spiritual tools that helped me to manifest the kind of recovery process I was looking for. The focus wheel, which you can find on my site and in Bite Me, is based on daily writing exercises that the intuitive life coach and healer, Sheila Bath, taught me, which draw from the Abraham-Hicks law of attraction. As the name suggests, it involves focusing in on a particular intention of yours, along with reminding yourself of what you’re grateful for.
I also strongly encourage people to clean up their diet and avoid sugar: Eat clean! Think clean! Living happy, sleeping a lot, and having love and encouragement around you make a big difference, too.
THE ONE THING SHE WISHES PEOPLE KNEW…
Never blame the patient for being sick or not being able to function. Always bring love compassion and positivity to the table. The last thing a Lyme sufferer needs to hear is: Why can’t you do X, Y, Z? Lyme is insidious and debilitating, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.
HOW SHE KEEPS HEALTHY TODAY…
Sleep is a major factor for me—I aim to get 7-8 hours every night in order to keep feeling well.
If I’m facing a stressful situation, I practice letting it go, telling myself things could be worse, and take a walk in nature.
Diet is also huge. I eat: low sugar, organic, mostly gluten-free, and CLEAN. I avoid: processed foods, brown and white sugar, wheat, and anything that is inflammatory for me, like peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. If I am feeling super unwell, I fall back on my blood type diet (by Dr. D’Adamo), mixed with an Ayurvedic diet (I am a vata dosha). Lyme patients are often lacking in vitamins D and C, so I boost my levels with supplements. For the most part, I’m a very healthy and clean eater, but I spent years having to deprive myself of delicious food. Now, I am at a point where I can enjoy a lot more, in moderation, without going into Lyme shut-down mode.
We massively need more awareness and funding to find an accurate way to test, diagnose, and treat Lyme.
To find possible treatment paths, read: How Can I Get Better? by Dr. Richard Horowitz.
Ally Hilfiger is an artist, designer, and author of Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me. She created, produced, and starred in Rich Girls for MTV, spearheaded the women’s clothing line NAHM, and sits on the board of the Global Lyme Alliance and Project Lyme.
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