If you’re living with an autoimmunity, I’m sure you’ve heard from your doctor/friends/family/whomever or wherever that “It’s just your genes.” Or “You got a crappy set of genes.” Or (my personal favorite) “Your body failed you.”
I used to believe that. I still struggle with it. (Especially on days when flares sneak through the cracks.) For years I’ve been angry with my body for “failing me.” I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s at the age of 6. I have literally heard all of my life that my genetic make-up was and is just weak. (Talk about giving a kid a self-image complex.) I used to think that God did make mistakes because obviously I was damaged. It really affected my self-worth. I thought that God didn’t love me as much as others because I was less-than. Self-pity set in. Depression. Does this sound familiar?
That’s not the reality. Your body is beautifully and wonderfully made. Autoimmunity IS NOT a sign that your body failed you. It is a sign that your body experienced a crazy onslaught of stressors — and SURVIVED.
Think about it – modern science doesn’t fully understand autoimmunity and what causes the body to create antibodies. They do know that it’s a combination of environmental stressors, nutrient-devoid “food”, toxic chemicals, heavy metals, electromagnetic frequency exposure, HPA (Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal) Axis dysregulation, compromised gut health, genetic proclivity and epigenetics, emotional stressors, pharmaceutical abuse – and many other factors. There is no one smoking gun for any individual person and the combination for one is going to be different from another.
Surviving this massive onslaught of stressors is not something to feel shameful about. Don’t allow yourself to fall prey to self-pity or depression or lose hope.
Instead, let’s shift our thought to focus on how well your body has survived some pretty heavy odds. Seriously. Think about it. Your body has figured out a way to survive when every outside or inside signal said to shut down. It didn’t give up on you, it figured out a way to keep you alive. How beautiful is that?! If anything, that’s a cause for celebration and some massive amounts of self-esteem.
But, I get it. Getting over that continuous loop that is ingrained in your psyche is hard. So, how can you do it? For my life, Adoration, Confession, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet have been literally the most helpful. Confessing that I struggle with self-pity and a lack of hope and trust in God has opened up doors for healing and has helped me let go of the pain.
If you’re not Catholic, journal your heart out!!! (And if you are Catholic, still journal your heart out.) Get those words out of your head and for every thought of self-pity, write down two ways that your body is beautiful and resilient and wonderfully made.
Maybe consider meeting with a counselor, life coach, or spiritual director. There are some deep seated wounds with this one that require work. (I speak from personal experience as well as what I have learned from working with my clients.) Remember to bring tissues.
Finally, when the thought does pop into your head (and it will), send it packing. You don’t have the mental space to entertain it while you’re healing so tell it to go away and “change the channel” – start thinking about something that is good and beautiful and brings you joy and makes you feel like a whole person.
Change your own thought pattern and let’s celebrate just how incredible our bodies really are.