In 1969, author Elizabeth Kübler-Ross published her book “On Death & Dying,” and in it she presented a famous formulation of the stages of grief that dying people tend to go through as they come to terms with the realization that they will soon pass. Since the book’s publishing, her stages-of-grief system has become more popular than her book, and it is now a part of our modern cultural awareness. Her five stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Inspired by Kübler-Ross’ work, I have begun to notice similar but different stages of consciousness, experiences and emotions for chronic Lyme patients as they move to complete healing. The difference in the staging system I’ve developed is that a patient can get stuck in a stage and never progress to complete healing. Conversely, in the stages of grief, a patient ultimately moves through the system and reaches the final conclusion of death whether they like it or not.