There are stories all over the internet about people “miraculously” overcoming their crippling autoimmune disease. But… no one talks about life after autoimmune disease recovery. Overcoming such a giant mountain is no easy feat… but the journey through the darkness doesn’t just end when the physical symptoms do.
I remember it all too vividly. Living the vast majority of my 20s stuck in an autoimmune and neurological downward spiraling health crisis. I bounced back and forth between bed rest, stumbling through life held up by crutches, or taking a break from stumbling in a wheelchair.
Life sucked… and I don’t remember missing a single opportunity to tell myself how bad it was, how badly I wished for all the pain, stumbling, falling, and seizures to stop.
The only consistent thing in my life during those 8 years was me telling myself how much I:
- hated my life…
- lived in a broken body, incapable of healing or being “normal”…
- didn’t deserve life…
- sucked at life…
- I didn’t deserve the friendships that disappeared from my life…
- was “unreliable” and “not worth” being around because I was “always” sick
- was no longer “fun” and didn’t deserve the friends that disappeared from my life
- failed at life because I couldn’t land a job after losing my military career
Some things should not become habits. Self-loathing is absolutely one of them. It is a vicious habit to break… and doesn’t just stop when you suddenly earn your body back.
Healing is more than just physical…
In summer 2013 I decided to dive down the rabbit hole of natural wellness, plant-based medicine, healthy eating habits, and healthy product swaps.
I made a promise to whatever God was willing to listen to me that if I healed and lived through that dark season of my life, I would become a shining beacon of light to guide the way for other people to become the hero of their own journey to regaining health.
All of a sudden Sept 19, 2013, I endured my last symptom… A Grand Mal Seizure. I spent August 15, 2005, to Sept 19 2013 held captive by my body… and the transformation to physical health literally felt like it happened overnight. Suddenly, I realized I was no longer feeling pain, fainting, falling, stumbling, and seizing… Celebrating each month afterward of my increasing count-up of the last date of my last symptom. Miracle.
Self-Abuse comes in different shapes, sizes, and methods…
Despite the few blogs available at the time that talked about autoimmune healing… no one prepared me for the mental journey I was staring down the barrel at.
I spent YEARS telling myself how inadequate I am… how undeserving I am… how far behind I fell from the level my peers were performing at in their careers and family lives. And I continued to justify it by my inability to land a job interview, my dwindled bank account, and the fact that if it weren’t for my boyfriend (now husband) I would have been homeless.
That habit doesn’t just disappear when you regain physical health.
Relearning WHO you truly are through life after autoimmune disease recovery
I wish I could say this is easy. Honestly… I really do feel that physical healing is much easier.
Life became more about learning who I really am, and how to embrace my second chance at life than it was about what I overcame or who I was. Going back to who I was prior to my body entering an 8 year-long health crisis wasn’t an option, even if I wanted it to be.
My emotional abuse towards myself showed its residual scars for YEARS. In fact… I didn’t even realize it was a problem until November 2017 when I worked with my first transformational intuitive life coach. From there, I embarked on a brutal self-improvement journey that I didn’t finally get to the point of truly accepting myself and my health history for a solid year.
Talking with my Intuitive Life Coach was life-changing. The sessions we had together helped me realize I do have a purpose, and how to find the purpose through my painful past. Through those conversations, I realized a plan on how to make my painful 8-year struggle with failing health worth all I endured… by making good on my promise to be that beacon of light.
Turning Struggle Into Help
I wasn’t comfortable or confident talking with anyone about my journey at that time. Just trying to talk about it landed me sobbing, wrapped up in my favorite blanket, desperate for a distraction.
Instead of helping other people, I started talking with coaches who approached me about how to talk with people who went through or are going through the same type of health crisis I went through.
While I did all my coaching for free initially… it opened my eyes to the fact that I didn’t need to fall on the grace of an employer. I could in fact create my own financial success story, just like I created my own health success story. This started shining a beacon of hope at the end of a long tunnel.
This became my message: You can, in fact, become your own superhero…
You can become your own superhero in every and any aspect of your life: health, career, finances, relationships… when you open your mind to see available opportunities and guides around you, you can create the impossible.
Living In Gratitude After Autoimmune Disease Recovery
The major turning point from all the self-loathing I haunted myself with was to find the purpose in what I went through. Like they say, “hindsight is always 20/20.” It is easy to look back through the lens of having lived through it to see why we went through what we did.
Military life was a chapter in my book. It wasn’t the definition of my life. I needed a major shift to force me onto the right trajectory for my life so I would live my soul’s purpose. While it felt like I was living in my own personal Hell for so long… I’ve come to appreciate the journey through it.
Pain, suffering, seizures, confusion, forgetfulness… that wasn’t my life. That was a chapter… a season in my life that I needed to redirect me hard enough to realize the journey I’m needed on.
While I do see all the self-hate as an unnecessary side-effect, it has opened my eyes to the need for self-care, positive self-talk, and how much our words can directly affect our day-to-day lives.
Closing Thoughts on life after autoimmune disease recovery
Your thoughts become things. Life becomes miserable when we focus (intentionally or unintentionally) on hating ourselves.
When we realize the universe has our best interests at heart, we also realize we needed that massive wake-up call that rocked (or ruined) the life we previously envisioned.
When we aren’t aligned with who we are meant to be on a soul level, a LOT of life is thrown at us until we wake up and see that the trajectory we’re on isn’t for us… more likely than not it is a deviation of someone else’s vision for us.
Life after autoimmune disease may feel a bit complicated at first as we find our new normals… but it is a worthwhile personal development journey.
It takes a lot of strength to take a stand and say enough… a LOT of strength to make the hard decisions to follow our intuition, even when we can’t fully see where we are going. Remember… when we drive, we can’t see the whole journey ahead of us… we trust the route will take us there. Life is the same way.
Ask yourself: who can I help? Who can I uplift, inspire, guide, compliment, or assist through the same mess I came out of? Is there someone I know who can I be a beacon of light for? When we become a blessing to someone else, helping them feel not so alone and offering hope for healing, we realize our suffering was for a reason. Finding purpose through that pain is incredibly therapeutic.
You have permission to hit the reset button and restart your life
Restarting isn’t easy. Overcoming a painful period of time where your body failed you, and your mind was extra critical towards your circumstance, isn’t an easy path to walk.
I know all too well what it feels like to wish you could go back to the parameters of your life the way it used to be. Realizing old dreams. Striving for old goals. Just to find out that you can’t get your mind to go back to re-engage with those old goals, ideals, lifestyle, or plans.
In case no one has told you yet… that is perfectly ok… expected… and in line with what is supposed to happen.
Trust that there is something better for you on your new path. Life has opened up so many different options just waiting for you to take a dive. There are new passions to explore… new experiences to have with a heart filled with thankfulness… a whole new life to seize, enjoy, and use to create a better quality of life than you could have ever imagined.
Trust the process, live true to who you are, and grow your intuition… it won’t guide you wrong. All it takes is a simple decision to run with it.
Nicole is a military-trained research analyst, homeschooling mom, healthy lifestyle coach, flexible business consultant, and writer for MotherhoodTruth.com and GracefullyAbundant.com. After living through and overcoming a season of homelessness and chronic health, Nicole developed a passion for helping others develop healthier habits using functional nutrition, herbalism, and renewing faith.