When you look up the words “autoimmune disease” and “autoimmune protocol” online or in a book, there should be a warning of the following possible side effects: feelings of loneliness and isolation. Feelings of loneliness and isolation have been one of the most shocking parts of my autoimmune disease and in following the autoimmune protocol.
First, I felt alone and isolated in my health challenges associated with my autoimmune disease. I believed nobody understood what I was feeling or going through. I longed to feel better, to be able to take care of myself, and my family. I swore to myself I would never complain about the monotony of day to day tasks again, and that I would be grateful for the ability to do little things like laundry. I would literally be laying down in pain, watching my husband do laundry, and wondering if he knew how lucky he was.
Not only did I feel alone in my physical challenges, but I also felt alone in the accompanying emotional challenges. Once I started following the autoimmune protocol (AIP), I felt a new loneliness. I was alone in my strict eating choices, and alone in my constant cycle of organic grocery shopping, cooking AIP meals, and clean up. I felt alone at home watching my family eat all of our regular favorites. I felt alone at holidays and family gatherings. I felt alone at restaurants; watching my family eat my old favorite dishes at my favorite restaurants. I was still me. I still desperately wanted to eat all of my favorite less healthy foods. I still do at times. But there is something I want more – my health. I want to be healthy so I can be the woman God would have me be, the wife my husband deserves, and the best mother I can for my kids. I want to be healthy so I can live my dreams, and work toward new dreams.
So, I choose to stand alone in my strict food and health choices. I dig deep, I claw out all the determination and hard work I can, and I take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. Time is going to pass whether I make healthy choices or not. I choose not to have “cheat meals” because I would only be cheating myself and my family. My eating and my lifestyle choices today affect the kind of woman, wife, and mother I can be tomorrow.
As I write this, it’s the end of my son’s baseball season. Just a few months ago, at the beginning of his season, I was so unwell that I could not physically go to his early morning games. It broke my heart. At the beginning of his season, I started the autoimmune protocol and started to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices. Tomorrow is my son’s championship baseball game. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be there where I should be – on the sidelines cheering him on, wearing my “Baseball Mom” hat proudly. All because I chose to stand alone. And you want to know what I figured out in the process? I was wrong. I was never alone. My Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ were with me the whole way, holding my hand, leading me and guiding me, and carrying me when I needed it. They are there for you too!
I am not alone in my autoimmune disease. You are not alone in your autoimmune disease. We are not alone in the difficult health and wellness choices we make every single day. There are millions of us. There is an incredible online community sharing how they live with their autoimmune disease, as well as health and wellness tips.
I am cheering for you no matter who you are, or where you are. Each difficult, lonely choice you make, I am right there rooting you on. I hope you can feel all the positive thoughts, love, and support I am sending your way. You’re got this, whether you know it or not. And I’ve got your back.
“If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.”
-Jeffrey R. Holland
“It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you,
but no one can walk it for you.”
Have you ever felt lonely or isolated in your experience with an autoimmune disease? Please click comment and share – I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!