At times the physical challenges of living with an autoimmune disease seem to pale in comparison to the emotional ups and downs of living with autoimmune disease. The emotional side of autoimmune disease is incredibly difficult.
From the utter despair of hitting rock bottom and losing my health, to relief upon diagnosis when I finally found answers.
From the heartbreak of knowing my life would never be the same again, to the hope that maybe I could rebuild something beautiful from the ashes of my former life.
From the shame of my husband seeing me too weak to walk up the stairs, to the joy of being able to walk around the block without stopping to rest.
From the utter frustration of trying to learn to cook and eat cleanly, to the sense of accomplishment when cooking and enjoying fish for the first time.
From the painful disappointment of missing yet another of my son’s baseball games, to the incredible joy of watching him win the championship with his team.
From the crippling fear of trying to travel with chronic illness, to a peaceful sense of awe while watching the sunset in Hawaii.
From the anxiety of taking my kids to Disneyland, to the exhilaration of riding their favorite rollercoaster with them.
From the devastation of experiencing an autoimmune flare, to feeling invincible upon finding wellness again.
And so the rollercoaster of emotions of living with an autoimmune disease goes.
Up and down, up and down.
As I sit down to write this, I am struggling to process and express the feelings bubbling up inside me.
Today was the first time in almost two years that I took my kids on a field trip, actually had energy the entire time, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
Today, I found a part of me I wondered if I would ever get back.
You see, I homeschool my kids. Living in Southern California, I used to take them on field trips once a week. It was one of my favorite things in the world to do.
Then 2017 happened. While I had been experiencing autoimmune symptoms for years, 2017 was when all heck broke lose. By the end of the year, I could no longer function normally.
January of 2018 brought with it my diagnosis of Hashimoto’s, and my determination to try to find wellness. Fueled by a fire I had no idea was inside of me, I fought to earn my life back.
While 2018 was filled with the highs and lows of trying to find wellness, and learning to live with an autoimmune disease, 2019 feels like a new chapter.
My body is surprising me by continuing to feel better than I thought possible. I forgot what it was like to go on a field trip with my kids and feel energetic and physically well the entire time. Let me tell you, it was amazing.
Today alone, made every healing effort in 2018 worth it.
I admit there were times where I wanted to give up. When my new clean eating lifestyle felt too hard. When I felt alone, wondering if and when my efforts would pay off. Today was a big payday.
I share this, because I want you to know:
- You can feel better than you ever thought possible.
- You can make the sacrifices today so you can feel well tomorrow.
- You can make the hard choices in 2019, so you can feel incredible in 2020.
- It is okay to feel like you are standing alone. I did. But the truth is you are not alone! I am right there with you. There are SO many of us!
I want to tell you not to give up.
Keep learning to eat right.
Keep trying to figure out self-care.
Keep developing self-love.
Keep working with your medical team.
Keep figuring out how to manage stress.
Keep working toward better sleep.
Push through when it feels too hard.
I am standing on the other side of my rock bottom, and it feels so good I am literally crying my eyes out as I write this.
As I think back to all the times this past year when my wellness journey felt too hard.
Being sick felt too hard.
The autoimmune protocol felt too hard.
Staying positive felt like a chore.
The truth is, I am so emotional today because I feel like I have my life back.
A new life, a different life, but an incredibly beautiful life. Better than before.
Sitting here now, I cannot help but think about all of the hard work it took to get here.
In the autoimmune wellness community, we talk a lot about peace, acceptance, allowance, and going with the flow.
I love and believe in all of those things.
However, a lot of my wellness journey felt like me scratching and clawing my way back from the dead.
Eating clean did not come naturally to me.
Mindfulness and a growth mindset did not come naturally to me.
Stress? I was so stressed, that at times it felt like it was radiating off of me.
I share this because I want you to know that it all felt so hard to me.
So flippin’ hard!
It was not all rainbows and butterflies.
There were times I thought, “this sucks” and I threw a pity party.
But here’s the thing, I pushed through it and continued on my wellness journey until I figured out my personal recipe for autoimmune wellness.
Eating clean, and cooking clean is second nature to me. Which is still mind blowing, by the way.
Mindfulness and a growth mindset is now part of who I am. In fact, I literally give myself pep talks daily.
Managing stress is easier for me now.
My point is, if I can do it, you can do it!
And it is so worth it!
It’s worth every effort.
Here’s the thing. As invincible as I feel right now, I know that my autoimmune disease is still there. There is no cure.
I know that my immune system will always remember how to attack my body, and will be ready for me to slip back to my old ways. My old eating ways. My old lifestyle habits. My old lack of self-love and self-care.
I know that despite my best efforts, I will find myself in an autoimmune flare from time to time.
Bring it. I will ride that rollercoaster of emotions that come with autoimmune living.
I will keep picking myself up when I fall down. It is worth it. Wellness is worth it.
I hope you know I am cheering you on in your wellness victories, and helping you stand when autoimmune disease feels too heavy. I am sending you love, support, and encouragement. I believe in you!
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