Recognizing Autoimmunity – The Importance of Self-Care
Written by: Greg Ashby
Have you ever wondered about autoimmunity? What is it, anyway?
Chances are that you know someone affected – maybe that person is YOU. The numbers of those suffering continue to increase, yet there is so much information out there, it can be hard to figure out where to start in order to feel well again (or maybe for the first time).
Autoimmunity is when the body attacks itself. The diagnosis (lupus, arthritis, MS, etc.) has to do with the part of the body affected by this self-attack.
In all of my research into this very complex subject, I have realized that the multiple autoimmune issues that so many people face each day have something in common: the person affected often gets lost in the maze of their diagnosis and their Light begins to diminish and disappear.
Currently, autoimmune illnesses are very common in the western world. Autoimmune illnesses range from asthma and allergies to endometriosis, fibromyalgia, some thyroid disorders, multiple sclerosis and more.
I’ve experienced a few. One of the main causes is stress, which contributes to inflammation in the body. Mona Lisa Schulz, M.D., PhD. and medical intuitive, describes autoimmune health problems as “immune panic disorders,” resulting from a stressed emotional system that communicates too-frequent alarm signals to the immune system.
According to Salynn Boyles, a researcher for an article published on WebMD in 2007, “…women with multiple sclerosis (MS) now appear to outnumber men with the disease by a ratio of four to one in the U.S., new research shows.”
From a Science Daily article published in 2008, “…you learn that Fibromyalgia may affect as much as 3-6 percent of the U.S. population. It is more common in women than in men, but the reasons for this difference are unclear.”
There are many schools of thought as to the root cause of disease, but one thing that the majority of medical professionals can agree on is that chronic (constant) inflammation in the body DOES create imbalance and DOES lead to big problems, autoimmune disease being a BIG player.
When it comes to the fact that primarily women are affected, there are still no definitive answers as to exactly WHY this happens.
Coming from a spiritual perspective, there is a great internal conflict between achievement and the call to stillness. During this time on our planet, there is an urgent need to experience more of the feminine and yin nature of yourself—to become more compassionate, to quiet yourself, to learn to listen with understanding, move more slowly and with greater consideration and to recognize and acknowledge your intuitive insights.
On the other hand, many women are providing, caring for and raising their children, progressing in their careers, planning for retirement and making their mark in the world. With more and more feeling to achieve, you soon find yourself out of balance and disconnected with your world. There is a sacred place within you that has to be honored in order to bring forth physical health, spiritual health and awakening.
As a result, the toll of being out of balance emotionally, spiritually and physically often results in a cellular attack – which manifests in disease, particularly that of the autoimmune nature. This forces you to slow down and to engage your Yin nature in order to survive. This also causes you to step back from the need to take care of everyone else and start to consider more carefully your own needs. This is a demand from the soul to create greater balance.
Creating balance is not an easy task. The house might end up being a mess a lot of the time. The kids might have to do more on their own. Partners might have to get used to assuming more responsibility at home. If no one picks up the slack, then there are some things that just will not get done, if you are choosing to be true to your inner calling for stillness.
I’ve analyzed autoimmune disease from all different angles and have tried to treat my own such disease from many angles. I’ve looked into gluten, environmental toxins and, of course, sugar.
But self-hatred is the biggest impediment to cradling ourselves. This self-hatred emerges from thinking you’re not adhering to the ideals set out for you.
Are you constantly putting yourself up against standards you can’t possibly meet, thinking you can be the ideal wife, mother, girlfriend, teacher, cook, church volunteer, corporate executive and activist? And subconsciously, maybe you’re hating yourself because you’re not “perfect.”
But you can come back from this and you can do it with self-love. You can or should see how key it is. You can do all the tests and elimination diets, but, boil it all down and there is this little still voice in your head or heart that says it’s more than the gluten or the toxin or genetics. Right?
Could the stress of a unhealed trauma result in autoimmunity? Is it possible that you bring your emotional woundings forward from your emotional DNA? Absolutely! These emotions have to be dealt with before mending can take place.
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system is out of balance and since 70-80% of the immune system is situated in the gastrointestinal tract, a healthy diet is imperative. Without it, mending can not occur.
Remember that in order for you to take care of others, you MUST take good care of yourself. This is not optional, it’s necessary. And you’re worth it.
Integrative Health Coach and Functional Nutrition Consultant
at Ask Dr. Garland
Greg Ashby, CHHC, AADP lives in Ogden, Utah and is an Integrative Health Coach and Functional Nutrition Consultant. Greg has been in the Health and Wellness industry for over 20 years.
Because of his personal experience with Adrenal and Thyroid disorders, as well as Cancer, he’s committed to the areas of Autoimmunity and Cancer prevention and management when it comes to research and his work. He enjoys studying the Psychology of Eating and Behavioral Disorders.
Latest posts by Greg Ashby (see all)
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS