I’ve been where you are currently standing, and I am now on the other side. I’ve experienced the fear, guilt, sadness and anger that comes when you hear those words, “You have an autoimmune illness”. I want you to know that this will pass, you will rise, and you will grow into the strong person that this new diagnosis will bring you to. You may not feel your power right now, but I know you will overcome this, and I am here to support you along the way.
When I first was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (an immune response trigger by the consumption of gluten) and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (destruction of the thyroid gland by your own immune system), I was completely lost and didn’t know where to turn. Along my journey, these are the top 5 things I wish someone had told me when I first received my diagnosis 3 years ago.
First, just take a second and breathe. You just received a boat load of news and it probably wasn’t what you expected or wanted. All the emotions you may be faced with can be overwhelming. Take a second for yourself and take 3 deep breaths, tell yourself that you are whole, complete and will thrive in life.
Ask LOTS of questions
I remember when I received my diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I was so stunned I walked out of the office without asking a single question. I had this illness but truthfully had no idea what it was. This may happen to you as you are trying to process this news. As you think of questions, write them down so at your next appointment you don’t forget anything. I also like to ask questions to people that have the same diagnosis, they may have some helpful incite that could benefit you.
This is one of the first things I did when I received a new diagnosis, I spent hours researching. I believe it’s important to know everything about your illness as you are your top advocate. There are many websites to find information from, some good and some not so good. Find sources that are backed by research. Before implementing any changes always ensure you seek guidance, from your medical doctor, Naturopath or Nutritional Practitioner.
Find a support system
Surrounding yourself with people who support you in this journey is key. It can be family members, friends, neighbours or even people online that are experiencing the same thing. There are many Facebook groups that are geared towards specific illnesses, where people share their experiences or are just there to help you in your journey. They have been where you are and may have tips or suggestions that could benefit you.
Trust and believe in yourself
This may just be my top tip! It is so important to do what feels best for you. You will be receiving a lot of information and not all of it will feel aligned with who you are or what you want to do for treatment. Trust your path and seek alternatives if you don’t feel right. I believe in constructing a healthcare team that shares your goal and supports you in achieving it.
Receiving an autoimmune diagnosis can bring up a lot of feelings. By remembering these 5 things and knowing you will come out on top can make all the difference. At times you will feel overwhelmed, just take a second for yourself and breathe. Do as much research into your new diagnosis that you can and remember to write down and ask any questions you may have. Surround yourself with loving and supportive people, that will help lift you up when you may be breaking down. Most importantly, trust and believe in yourself. There is nothing wrong with you, you are whole and complete. You will get through this and you will thrive in life!
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