In light of March being Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, there is a dire need to learn the truth about autoimmune disease that has been hidden from you in part due to allopathic medicine. I’m revealing the 20 most important facts about autoimmunity that need you need to know so you can change your perspective, and hopefully your life, immediately.
1) No one is “fixing” you
When you go to a doctor you are given the impression that he/she is trying to get rid of the disease. As a result, you are tapping your foot patiently waiting for your doctor to finish so you get better ASAP. This is a huge mistake and arguably the reason why you’re still stuck with your disease.
If you have the mentality of, I’m just going to sit back and take it easy while drinking ice tea and getting a tan while my doctors tells me what to do and has a guaranteed path to results, then you’re not going to get results. All jokes aside, there is of course a level of responsibility the person you work with has to do, but that thing that is missing is YOU.
Transformation comes from you. No one is doing that for you. Professionals are supposed to guide you and advocate for your healing. You have to step up to the plate, jump into the water and be a participating the healing journey.
That means investigating your health, asking questions, reflecting, communicating, and listening to your intuition on what you need next. This is very pertinent to people with trauma, unreconciled emotions and pockets of pain. That requires you.
Over-reliance on professionals and doctors is a mistake. Start participating in your health journey if you want the best and quickest results possible.
2) You can’t diet, supplement and medicate your way out of autoimmune disease
These are what I call “surface level interventions.” Chances are you have done mostly those things and done a lot of variations of them. Doctors don’t have much to offer, which is why you get the same things over and over.
Medications may be necessary – that can’t be denied – but that alone is far from enough to reverse your disease. You may say you have found some progress using these surface level interventions, but if it was enough, you wouldn’t still be having symptoms. Some progress doesn’t mean 100% remission and symptom-free.
Think about an iceberg. Between conventional and alternative medicine doctors, you have received just the tip of the iceberg, but you are missing everything else beneath the ocean line – the deeper root causes. That’s where you need to be to find better relief.
3) Genetics aren’t the reason why you're sick
You may say that autoimmunity runs in your family. That may be true, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will develop the disease they have. The scientific literature has said that genetics account for roughly 10-30% of autoimmunity.
It all varies depending on the specific disease, but the bottom line is that it’s a small factor. If genetics load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger. Your lifestyle (whether you knew it or not) was what got you here.
But as I always say, if lifestyle got you here, lifestyle can get you out.
4) Not two people are alike
It’s tempting to model what someone else is doing online for their autoimmune disease. Following their diet plan, supplement regimen, detox protocol, etc. may help you or it may not at all. The reason why mimicking someone else’s plan is a mistake is because everyone is extremely different.
The underlying factors that caused you to develop Multiple Sclerosis or Hashimoto’s is not going to be the exact things that caused someone else with MS or Hashimoto’s.
Not to mention, the interventions and strategies used by one person may not work to the same degree that why work for you. Do what works for you!
5) There is NO autoimmune disease diet
I know… there’s the famous Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP) that you may have followed. It’s a misnomer. Why? Because there is no such thing as an autoimmune disease diet.
The reason why it can be helpful for so many with autoimmunity is simply because it is very restrictive and takes away many of the provocative foods that irritate your immune system.
Ironically, there’s many times where the foods on the “holy” AIP diet are actually triggering more antibodies and symptoms. I regularly teach a workshop on why the AIP is making your autoimmune disease worse and how to expand diet again. You can learn more about that HERE.
Anyway, there is only the diet that works for you. Some people only need to be gluten-free. Some needs to take away gluten, dairy and soy. Others need to take away lectins, nightshades and dairy.
And of course, there are specific foods in that some people can’t tolerate. It completely varies! You have to accept that.
Your best be is to experiment with various elimination diets or run an ELISA food sensitivity test to get more accurate on which foods to avoid for now. But remember, if you have to continue eating a super restrictive diet to find relief, you have a dysfunctional immune system still.
You need more work!
6) There is NO quick fix to results
Sorry. I know that’s the way culture and media has taught us, but it’s an utter lie. Long-lasting results comes from lifestyle changes which demands patience and trust. Swallowing a medication or supplement isn’t going to magically make your symptoms go away.
It took you a while to get sick, then it’s going to take you a while to get out of it. You must acknowledge that. Healing doesn’t happen with impatience, distrust, striving, judging or acceptance.
7) Once you get one disease, you can get another
If you leave your autoimmune disease unmanaged or mismanaged – AKA you aren’t doing anything for it except taking medications or you still have gnarly symptoms, you can be at risk for developing another autoimmune disease! People with Hashimoto’s for example, have a 50% increased risk for developing another autoimmune disease.
I have seen countless times where women develop Hashimoto’s and because they don’t address it the right way, they go on to develop Lupus. I have seen women develop Multiple Sclerosis too.
8) Trauma and stress are your #1 biggest triggers
There is so much focus on detoxes, diets, supplements and gut protocols these days and while that may be helpful, I can promise you that if you have unresolved wounds, unreconciled childhood or early adult trauma, and demons that you have ignored, avoided or rejected, you’re going to have a very, very difficult time getting results.
In fact, I would go so far to say that you won’t heal until you heal the past. 90% of the women I have worked with and even currently have something of this lingering from their past.
It’s part of what got them sick, but it is what is needs the most attention. I am ware that it can be scary and sometimes people don’t realize they have things in their past, but it demands investigation.
This can be the difference maker for you in terms of getting healthy again or not.
9) Autoimmunity is more than about YOU!
One of the problems I continue to see is a lack or urgency to take charge of their disease. If I were to tell you that your kids are watching you, absorbing your language, and taking inventory of your behaviors that can often create unhealthy conditions for them, would that motivate you to change?
I had a women I spoke to recently tell me “I am so sick with Hashimoto’s and have become a Debbie Downer. My kids and husband would be better without me.”
That’s not a comfortable feeling. Your kids are relying on you to show up for them, but you can’t when you’re sleeping all day and have no energy to spend time with them. You can’t connect with your husband or friends when you’re sick. You can’t perform at your job to the highest level either.
When you take care of yourself and put yourself FIRST, you serve everyone else better.
10) You can’t do this alone.
It’s not uncommon for women to try to figure their disease out on their own. They continue to research and research some more, read books and blogs only to feel more frustrated and lost due to so much conflicting information. And their symptoms are not improving. Sound like you?
If you could do it alone you would have gotten better. The truth is that you need support. We all do in life. Just like you couldn’t drive a car without an instructor or get a job without professors and teachers in college, you can’t heal a disease without guidance.
Similarly, when you don’t have a family or a spouse that supports you, it usually makes healing more difficult. But if you have a community of women who are going through the same disease as you are, that becomes the support that you really need. And when you have a mentor to guide you, they both become the greatest sources of support!
That’s why in our Hashimoto’s program, I have created the Thyroid Revive Tribe
. Unconditional presence from other women going through their own health journey is the most powerful healing tool we have. Remember, you heal in community; not isolation.
PS. Not all communities are created equal. Many of the Facebook groups out there are toxic and worsening your progress. Check out my FREE Hashimoto's Facebook group
- this is what you need.
11) It’s not “in your head”
Has your doctor said that? Psychosomatic illnesses are a legitimate thing; however, when you’re dealing with an autoimmune disease it is certainly not that, especially if you haven’t been diagnosed. Your symptoms and disease is real despite how invisible it is. Trust your intuition – it never lies. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
12) Labs are not the be all, end all
Many people I find get overly obsessed with their lab results praying that numbers go in the direction they want them to go. While some biomarkers can be indicative of real issues – high WBC or low hemoglobin, for example, others are not so simple to interpret.
The reality is there’s many imperfections with tests. With all the fancy new tests that come out that haven’t been studied enough to know the accuracy, it can make things more complicated.
What’s important to know is that doctors treat labs and they based their decisions around the findings, which is useful but not always. It’s about context. Plus, reference ranges have flaws.
The range labs use is based off of a selection of the population that was tested where 95% of them fell within those numbers. It doesn’t guarantee that those numbers are in need “normal.”
This isn’t to say lab tests aren’t useful, but putting all of your trust into them while neglecting your symptoms is the bigger issue. If you continue to value your numbers despite how “normal” your doctors says they are instead of valuing your symptoms, you’re going to keep being stuck.
Objective data and subjective data (symptoms) both matter!
13) Your disease is your teacher… if you allow it to be.
Despite how awful you think your disease is and how badly you want to get rid of it, think about this for a minute. What if it’s teaching you something? Maybe about your life and what got you here? What you need? Is there an opportunity for something life-changing?
There’s many opportunities found within your pain, but you have to CHOOSE to explore that. Someone who chooses to see disease as an opportunity heals much faster than the person who blames and complains about it.
A victim can’t heal. Be victorious instead!
14) Putting yourself first is NOT selfish – it’s SELFLESS
Many women I find with autoimmune disease, like Hashimoto’s, Lupus and MS are used to serving others. They are the wife, mother, friend, coworker, driver, caretaker… they do everything for everyone, but often neglect themselves. This is more commonly seen in the Type A personality individual.
Over-committing, over-delivering, over-achieving and over-caring are all admirable qualities, but if you continue to ignore your health you won’t be able to maintain that. I can primes you that. Eventually, you burn out.
You MUST put yourself first if you want to take care of your kids better. You MUST put yourself first if you want to be the best mother, wife and friend you can be. This is indeed selfless, NOT selfish.
Read that again.
When you serve yourself, invest in yourself and get healthy you can serve you kids better, spouse better, perform at job better, and be a better friend.
15) Not everyone has a leaky gut!
Leaky gut is a hot topic right now in the autoimmune space. For some reason, there’s the assumption that everyone with an autoimmune disease has a leaky gut. Would I say a lot do? Yes. But not everyone does.
I have found that people with systemic autoimmune disease like Lupus, Scleroderma, Anti-phospholipid syndrome for example, don’t often have a leaky gut.
So if you are wondering why you’re not getting the results you want with your gut protocol, there you go.
16) Just because you’ve been let down doesn’t mean there’s no hope
I hear you when you say that you have been burned left and right from multiple doctors. You are on your 13th one at this point and they have all given you the same advice. Well, for one thing, perhaps it’s time for a different approach?
Just because though no one has been able to figure you out because you’re a “medical mystery” doesn’t mean that’s the truth. I have come across many women who were very complicated cases and doctors were scratching their heads, but I could see what was going on.
here is hope for you, but you have to believe and realize that autoimmunity is fixable, reversible and healable. You just need to find the right person to guide you to make that happen.
If my mom could do it with her Hashimoto’s after struggling for 20+ years, so can you!
17) You may be getting in your own way of results
This is a bit of tough love, be prepared. I have found some self-inflicted obstacles for people that ultimately become the real reason behind why they aren’t getting better.
The first one is that you perhaps your energy and intentions aren’t congruent with the dream goals you want - more energy, weight loss, confidence, etc. Spending your precious energy on blaming, complaining, judging, fearing, and distrusting everything that comes you way will never allow for any transformation. That circulated negative energy isn’t serving you, ever.
You have inadvertently and unconsciously creating roadblocks that stem from past experiences or trauma. Some examples would be, “I’m not worthy enough for help, so I’ll stop asking for it,” “I feel the need to always take care of others because I had to take care of my sick parent as a kid,” or “I was betrayed by a friend or mine (or doctor) and now I don’t trust anyone.”
These are hard-wired neural connections born from years ago that dictate how you behave today. It’s your “normalcy” and hard for you to take a step back, and see how it is everything BUT normal.
Self-limiting beliefs and excuses of “I can’t afford help,” “I don’t have time,” “I have a vacation,” “I can do this alone.” How does that leave you? More frustrated. I have heard it all. 99% of the time they are not the truth - just the truth from your perspective.
The problem is that once you say one thing, your brain will start to believe that and you will be the master of making up more excuses.
Once you’re there, it’s hard to get out of that trap because your subconscious mind has already decided for you on what to do. Do something NOW before that happens!
18) Antibodies are NOT actually the problem
If you have an autoimmune disease, then you have antibodies. In fact, you had them circulating in your blood years before you got diagnosed. But when you’re trying to lower them with treatment there’s a common expectation people have – the lower they get the better I am.
First off, antibodies aren’t the real problem. The other immune cells are that do the damage. Antibodies simply flag your tissue like the thyroid, joints or brain as a target for those other immune cells to attack it.
I have seen clients have above average antibodies and be virtually symptom-free. Conversely, I have seen people with lower numbers of antibodies and still have terrible symptoms. I have seen this especially with TPO antibodies in Hashimoto’s cases. It is not as simple as you think.
Striving to force your antibody levels to drop should not be the primary goal – managing your symptoms should be the priority. How you feel is more important.
19) Stop waiting until it’s too late
A lot of people say to me my disease “isn’t that bad” and consequently wait until they hit rock bottom where they have no choice but to do something. It’s easy to put something off in general when it’s not a major inconvenience.
But like that leaky tire you have on you car, it will eventually deflate and then you’re in trouble.
You have an amazing opportunity to heal yourself and get well when you catch your disease early. But the longer it goes on unaddressed, the harder it becomes to get better. Not impossible, just harder. Everyone is different though. I have seen women with over 20 years of autoimmunity get into remission. Granted, it didn’t’ happen overnight.
Make it a priority now to take care of your health. Trust me, it doesn’t get easier. It only gets worse – more emotional stress, more physical stress and more financial stress.
20) Without a purpose, your health doesn’t change
This is the most important one on this list aside from #1. I find this has escaped many people.
Purposelessness - Without a purpose, there is hardly any urgency to change. And you might be saying to me, well I am being urgent! Then, I ask you what’s your purpose? Maybe that just needs clarity then.
If taking action on your autoimmune disease hasn’t been urgent for you, then what I’m saying here could be “mind-blown” sort of moment for you once you hear what I’m about to say.
Do you have a purpose in this life?
Is there something so massive that’s propelling you to fight everyday and live with meaning?
This goes beyond weight loss and more energy. Sure, those are legitimate outcomes you may want, but WHY do you want that?
What will that allow you to do?
How do you want to leave your footprint on this Earth when you’re gone?
How will you be remembered?
Do you want to be remembered like Kobe Bryant?
That’s what I mean…
Without a purpose in your life, there’s hardly any ambition to achieve those results you want. If you don’t know have a purpose that’s okay, but you can be open to it and explore that.
Purpose comes from our signature strengths, passions, people you hang around with, the way you perceive that world, but it can also come from your pain… mostly that is what fuels our purpose. It sure did for me.
Pain is a path to purpose.
When you own your pain and see it as a teacher that gave you lessons in life, then it can sculpt your life’s meaning. It defines why you’re here. It tells you why you wake up everyday fired up to take on the world.
If you don’t have this fiery desire to do something extraordinary, then it’s easy to just have a “meh” attitude about your disease until you are literally in sheer pain and you’re forced to change.
Reflect on this – that could be the spark you need to change now.