A recent article written by a journalist on the supposed ‘cause’ of autoimmune disease, left me shaking my head – aghast and appalled at the blanket approach the author claims is the reason why millions of women suffer from autoimmune disease – apparently all AI sufferers ‘loath themselves’…?
If there is one thing I have learn’t in my 14 years in clinical practice as a Nutritionist specializing in treating chronic illness – in particular AI disease, it’s that no single case is the same, just as there is no single cause of AI disease.
My approach to treating any and all chronic illnesses is a holistic one – involving thoroughly investigating ALL of the potential contributing factors, including:
- Environment – eg: chemical toxins
- Pathogenic infection – parasites, bacteria or viruses
- Digestive / gut function
- Chronic emotional stress
- Chronic inflammation
Followed by implementing a holistic treatment program that targets both the physical and emotional elements. I will state for the record that I strongly believe there is a direct link between our physical body and our emotions and until we heal our relationship with ourselves first and foremost (and in some cases with others), we may indeed struggle to overcome chronic illness, despite making changes to improve our diet, environment, or undertaking detoxification.
But to state that the cause of all AI diseases is ‘self loathing’, is an outlandish, irresponsible and illogical claim, that in my view only serves to incite anxiety in sufferers who are none the wiser.
The author may relate personally to the theory of ‘self loathing’ as the explanation behind her own case of AI disease, but to brand all AI suffers as being in the same boat, is quite simply cringe worthy and irresponsible – as much as claiming to be able to “spot auto-immune types because they have an intensity about them, and a desire to impress” – yet another sweeping statement that I would argue does not apply to ALL AI sufferers. Sure I’ve met some AI sufferers that may fit this description, but many do not. In fact ANYONE with or without an AI disease, can display these tendencies.
Whilst I know first hand that emotions and chronic stress can exacerbate or even trigger a chronic illness – after recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Lupus SLE, and years later a pituitary adenoma and Hashimoto’s disease – one thing I can say with my hand on my heart, is that the underlying cause was NOT because I ‘loathed or hated’ myself.
The truth is, there is no ‘one size fits all’, when it comes to the potential causes or triggers for autoimmune disease, let alone any other disease, but rather it’s a case of ‘the sum of all parts’. By this I mean that the existence and or exposure to a combination of factors (as previously listed), can trigger or cause an AI disease, or any illness for that matter – with or without an inherent genetic predisposition, AND in the absence of self loathing. Children who suffer from an AI disease are a classic example of this – because at such a young age they are typically incapable of experiencing emotions of self loathing or hatred .
I have also seen recoveries made from AI diseases without overcoming supposed underlying self hatred. For example an MS sufferer (Multiple Sclerosis) went into full remission after they had their amalgam fillings removed, and a type 1 diabetic was able to dramatically reduce their insulin dose after down regulating the AI activity through dietary changes and gut repair – no evidence self loathing in these cases. In my case of AI, I was able to overcome systemic Lupus, after I eliminated a chronic viral infection, repaired my gut, eliminated inflammatory foods from my diet, modified my lifestyle and returned to regular meditation. I no doubt learn’t to love and value myself more in the process, but by no means did I need to overcome an underlying state of self-loathing and just as those who do suffer from this emotional tendency, do not all suffer autoimmune disease.
Whilst I will agree with the authors comment that “you can do all the tests and elimination diets and treatments you like, but, boil it all down, there’s always a sneaking feeling that it’s more than the gluten or the toxin or the hereditary predisposition”, my personal and professional experience has taught me that ALL of these factors combined indeed matter, as much as the relationship you have with yourself.
Just as we are all individuals, we need to adopt an individual approach to our own healing, rather than assume the cause of our AI disease is the same as another sufferers experience.
You can read previous posts I’ve written about autoimmune disease and thyroid conditions here, here, here, here and here and if you want to learn more about the dietary approach I not only personally follow, but prescribe to my patients with AI disease and chronic illness, check out my e-book – Eat Yourself Healthy In 28 Days
For upcoming webinars and special blog posts covering professional advice for AI sufferers, register your details here and stay tuned for my next blog post on how I healed from Auto immune.