Have you ever wondered if your autoimmune disease is a gift that you've been given?
Something that can make your life better and not necessarily worse?
If this sounds crazy, which I know it probably does, bear with me.
Watch this video to see how or skip to the text below which summarizes it all (Or do both! 🙂 )
First Come the Normal Stages of Grief
When you go through a major life event like getting an autoimmune disease diagnosis it can be really scary, and it is totally normal to go through all of the stages of grief.
I know when I first got my Celiac Disease and Hashimoto's Thyroditis diagnosis it was as if someone had died. I was mourning my old life. I couldn't do a lot of things that I could’ve done before and it was hard!
It was really really hard. Seriously, one of the lower moments of my life.
I just didn't know how life was going to continue – I felt kind of like life was over as I knew it.
Certain things were easier for me, because I could walk right past the office donut box and not take one out because I knew I couldn't, but I knew going on vacation would be a lot harder and just life in general would be harder. So I just I spent a lot of time wallowing in grief.
I think this is a completely normal place to be and if you've just been diagnosed with autoimmune disease, take some time to go there because it really does help to process through your feelings.
If you just kind of bottle them up and don't process through them then you're gonna have resentment and not be able to fully get over it, so it's a good idea to cry and talk and vent and just get it out.
If you don't have a support network or somebody that's really willing to listen, I have a free Facebook group that has lots of people going through the same thing. Many of them have an autoimmune disease (or two or three) so you can join us and vent all you want. We'll be there to listen to you! We've been through it so we understand and can support you. Interested in joining us? Request access here.
Is your Autoimmune Disease a Gift?
Once you've been through this period of grief and anger and all of the emotions like: “oh why did I get this” and “why me” and “how come my life has to be different”, it really is helpful to look at it more like you've been given a gift.
Now I understand going from “why me, woe is me”, and all of that kind of grief and anger to “I've been given a gift” isn't exactly a straight line, but it's really freeing to get to this point.
When I say look at it like you've been given a gift, have you ever stopped to think about how your life has changed for the better since you've gotten your autoimmune disease or how your life can change for the good since you've gotten one?
For example, I felt called to teach you about what your autoimmune disease means, how to live a Paleo diet lifestyle, and how to make things easier for you through all of this. Also, to offer you support.
To me, it was SO important to share with others how I found relief from my symptoms, and so my autoimmune disease is a gift because otherwise I'd still be slogging away in my corporate job, just helping people save five hours a week on some accounting process. It wasn't really meaningful, but now I have a super purposeful path in life and it means so much to me!
I'm so much happier doing this then I was doing my corporate job, so without my autoimmune disease I wouldn't have had this happiness and purpose.
Plus, I didn't exactly eat healthy foods prior to my diagnosis, so now I really pay attention to the food I put into my body and look at it as nourishment, not as some stuff to push off the hangriness and irritability for another hour or two. And I'm teaching my kids to eat the best foods for their bodies as well.
Other Purposes for Your Disease
Other possible purposes your autoimmune disease might have for you:
- Help others in the same way as me by being a teacher, food blogger, chef, health coach, etc
- Be an athlete that shows that we can do elite style athletic events with autoimmune disease. Or that you can go and just do certain recreational events and still be ok and not flare.
- Help your family and friends – maybe not by telling them in their face, “you have to change your diet”, but by leading by example. You'd be surprised by how many people want to be like you when you've actually lived the life and walk the talk because they see how much better you're looking and feeling. They want to have some of that too!
- Be the person that actually STARTS this journey with diet and lifestyle to start feeling better. Especially if there are several members of your family with autoimmune diseases (quite common) and everyone is being lackadaisical about doing anything about it and whines about their symptoms. You start, and show them it can be done! Invite them to join you.
- Saving you from even worse health issues. Perhaps because of this you are actually cleaning up your act and eating and living a healthy lifestyle. Maybe you were on a path to getting cancer or something even worse (like death) but now you're going to live a full and healthy life because you got this disease.
- Help your children. If you weren't eating a healthy example for them and now you've been able to switch, your children will grow up knowing that healthy foods are what nourish our bodies and not necessarily things like Fruity Pebbles and Lucky Charms (like how I grew up).
There are just so many different things that could be considered gifts from your disease and I can't even think of all the scenarios right now. Please comment below if you can think of more or are currently doing something you consider a gift. Help others get ideas by sharing!
I want you to take a couple of moments today to think about it and to think of how you can be helped by your autoimmune disease rather than be hurt by it.
Journaling about it that can really help get your thoughts out on paper. You can write about how angered you are by your disease to get that out of your system, but then think of positive things that may also result from this. Ways you can help others. Give a purpose to all of this chaos.
My Life is Better Now, After My Disease
I truly believe that we've been given a gift with our autoimmune diseases, even when it's hard. Even when I really really want that corn or other things that I can't have, and even when I hear something on TV of how someone goes on a fabulous vacation to some remote Thai village and I think, “I doubt that they have gluten-free items so I probably couldn't go there.” Things like that still come up for me all the time, so it's not like I'm shouting, “WHOOHOO, I have an autoimmune disease!!”
I think that's kind of ridiculous, but in general, for the most part, I believe that my life has taken a positive turn because I've gotten an autoimmune disease that it would not have taken otherwise.
So I just encourage you to take a look at that and think of it today and going forward. I really hope this helps because it is kind of one of those things that's really near and dear to my heart. It's so much a better, happier place to be in than to be in the victim mentality.
Plus, I really do think it helps you feel physically better too. That's a bonus I can get behind!
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