Being a sufferer I can explain what an autoimmune disease feels like and how I manage it daily. There is no known cure for this type of debilitating disease. It can often begin with chronic fatigue syndrome. Although it’s not considered to be life threatening, there are many side effects that an auto immune disease can trigger such as mental health issues through being forced to endure severe persistent body pain almost on a daily basis. It can debilitate the sufferer so much that they may become bedridden. There are many forms of auto immune disorders which often affect more women than men. It is thought to be caused through stress and hormone imbalances. Scientific studies have proven that due to the fluctuations of hormone levels in women this can trigger an autoimmune disease causing a breakdown in certain parts of their immune system. Research is now being conducted at universities worldwide on the causes and effect of autoimmune diseases.
Seven years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I tried to seek help from many doctors and specialists until I had run the gauntlet with no success. I was told everything from having an insufficient diet to lack of water in my system and my lifestyle was contributing to my symptoms etc.
I was not okay. Finally I was at the end of my rope, and went along to a fibromyalgia group. I was amazed to see so many other people who suffered this condition. I was given contact details of a doctor who suffered from fibromyalgia himself. I made the appointment to consult with him.
Finally I had found a doctor who understood this disease. My next step was realizing that I had physical limitations therefore I needed to be sure exactly what they were in order for me to be able to manage my life. Fibromyalgia is an invisible disease. This means that those suffering from it look physically healthy on the outside which makes others appear to think the sufferer is trying to gain sympathy and attention. This could not be further from the truth.
This adds MORE stress to those who suffer this chronic and debilitating condition. People often say things such as “get out more, stop feeling sorry for yourself, there are people worse off than you are, you look okay to me.” These are the types of hurtful remarks people with invisible diseases are subjected to often from those around them.
I spent a two year period involved closely with a research team at Bond University in Australia as they worked closely with professors and scientists from the United States in order to find out what causes autoimmune diseases in people. This was an interesting journey. Stress is believed to play a huge part in the cause of these types of diseases. Hormones are affected by high stress levels in women. We are now seeing “invisible diseases” being taken more seriously by the medical profession in last two years which has been a remarkable breakthrough for suffers
If you feel you may be suffering from an autoimmune disease speak to a health professional. There are tests available to determine if you are definitely a suffer, and what type of autoimmune disease you may be suffering from. Symptoms of fibromyalgia are… chronic fatigue, never feeling fresh and energetic no matter how much sleep you get. Memory fog – trouble in remembering small tasks. A deep persistent body ache. Depression and feelings of just not giving a dam. Overwhelm is another common symptom. When I feel this coming on I simply stop what I’m doing and put it aside and either rest or mediate. Sometimes all we can do is just breathe and let the world go by and that’s just fine. There is always tomorrow.
I urge you to seek medical assistance if you have any of these symptoms I have mentioned above. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but you can manage it by getting lots of rest. A good balanced diet, and meditation is great for this type of condition. Try and cut as much stress out of your life as possible. Never feel guilty about putting your own needs first as you have every reason to.