If you’ve recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition — and you’re feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, discouraged or straight up scared — you’re not alone.
Getting an autoimmune diagnosis can be a difficult and overwhelming challenge. A survey by the AARDA suggests it takes up to 4.6 years and nearly 5 doctors before receiving a proper autoimmune diagnosis.
So, after many years, numerous doctors, lots of shrugged shoulders and even suggestions that “it’s all in your head” you may feel a sense of relief to finally have some answers. But relief can quickly turn to fear when you think about what the future may hold.
You may have turned to the internet in your search for answers or for alternatives to conventional medicine. However, the more you look for guidance the more confused you may have become. You’ll often find conflicting information or read advice that just doesn’t seem to align with you.
Many people with a new autoimmune diagnosis ask me what they should do next. They want to be proactive and make good decisions about their health but they just don’t know where to look for answers or who to trust.
Here’s my advice:
Before you make decisions about your health do these four simple things first. These things will have a positive impact on your life and help you embrace the journey ahead with more confidence, support, and hope.
#1: Count on Better Days Ahead.
You may have a hard time believing it right now but you can get better. You can heal your body, slow down and even reverse your autoimmune condition and feel healthy again.
Functional medicine helps people — just like you — do exactly that. It’s focused on finding and addressing the root causes and triggers of your autoimmune condition so you can turn the process around — and actually heal your body.
You’re not stuck. Your health can improve and you can enjoy a life of new possibilities where your autoimmune disease is no longer in the driver’s seat.
You don’t have to have all the answers right now or even know where to turn next but know and believe that you can get better. Read more here: Healing Autoimmune Disease with Functional Medicine.
# 2: Collect Information and Educate Yourself.
Knowledge is power. The more you learn about your autoimmune condition, functional medicine and health, the more empowered you’ll feel when it comes to making decisions about your future.
You’ll have a better understanding of your options and the different paths you can take on your journey. You’ll have more confidence talking with your doctors and you’ll feel more involved in your healthcare.
Take some time and search the internet for “functional medicine and autoimmune disease” (or your specific diagnosis and functional medicine). You’ll read success stories and learn why (and how) functional medicine can help you heal.
Find healthcare providers that you resonate with and sign up for their podcasts or blogs (you can join mine here). Ask your doctors for resources or book suggestions.
These are the best books to introduce you to how functional medicine can help:
- The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Myers
- The Autoimmune Fix by Dr. Tom O’Bryan
- Beat Autoimmune by Palmer Kippola
Or check out this incredible docuseries:
Listen to those who have had success. Hear their stories of encouragement and learn from their journeys. With knowledge you’ll have a newfound confidence when it comes to your health.
#3: Connect to A Supportive Community.
It’s not uncommon to feel isolated, alone, or disconnected from others when you have an autoimmune condition or chronic illness. Those around you — including your family and friends — may not understand what’s going on and they may not know how to support and encourage you.
You may not know anyone else who has your diagnosis or who is going through similar challenges. A game-changing move on your path to health is to find a supportive community with those who are experiencing similar things.
Ask your healthcare providers for suggestions. Look for local meetup groups or support groups. Or find a group online that can offer this connection. Keep searching until you find a group that offers support, encouragement, and hope.
If you’re looking for a supportive community online, you’re welcome to join mine here: Autoimmune Conditions and Functional Medicine.
#4: Create a Plan with a Functional Medicine Provider.
Your team of healthcare providers will greatly influence your path ahead. You’re probably working with your primary care doctor and a specialist right now. I’d encourage you to add a functional medicine provider to your team. Here’s why.
Functional medicine providers know how to help you heal. They’ve helped many people — just like you — slow down the progression of their autoimmune condition and feel better.
They do this by finding and addressing the root causes of your autoimmune condition (in other words, the reasons you got sick in the first place) so you can actually improve your health.
The best way to find a functional medicine provider is to search the Institute of Functional Medicine Practitioner database. That’ll tell you what providers in your area practice functional medicine. Don’t be discouraged if there isn’t a local provider — there are many providers (like myself) that will work with patients long distance.
Functional medicine healthcare providers have helped thousands of patients back on the road to health — even those with a long list of symptoms and multiple autoimmune disorders. And, they can help you.
Some Final Thoughts.
You’re not alone if you’re feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, frustrated or scared by your autoimmune diagnosis. There’s a lot on your plate — things to learn, decisions to make, and planning for the future.
It’s totally okay if you’re feeling many mixed emotions right now. Keep searching for guidance and connect with those who can help, support and encourage you.
Know and believe that you can get better. You can heal your body and reverse the autoimmune process. It takes time but you can turn your life around for the better. And, you can feel good again.
Do you have a new autoimmune diagnosis? Please share with me how you’re feeling in the comments. I’d love to be the first to listen and encourage you on your path to better days ahead.
Would you like to learn more about how functional medicine can help you feel better? Check out my FREE Email Series, 7 Keys to Reversing Autoimmune Conditions, you’ll learn:
- why reversal and remission are possible for you,
- what simple things you can do to feel better soon,
- how to create a lifetime of wellness
- and, so much more.