Autoimmune diseases come in a variety of forms, each affecting different organs and bodily systems and producing a unique array of symptoms. There are hundreds of different autoimmune illness and even people suffering from the same disease can experience it differently.
What’s important when you have an autoimmune illness, like Graves’ Disease, is to listen to your body when it tells you to slow down. In truth, slowing down to do things better is often the best way to be more productive.
Some signs or symptoms may be more apparent than others, but visible or invisible, all of these chronic illnesses warriors and experiences are valid and deserving of understanding and compassion. For example, pain makes it difficult for me to walk long distances or stand for periods of time. I look fine from the outside which is great, but at the same time, it’s difficult for someone to understand that I an actually quite sick.
You may not notice the swelling in my feet making it difficult and painful to walk. You may not see the bruises on my legs, you may not think the weight gain is due to an illness and that my thinning hair is getting more and more brittle. You definitely don’t see the pain and the exhaustion. It doesn’t mean that I’m not going through all of this every single day of every single year.
A bad flare consists of extremely limited energy, widespread pain and muscle spasms and great discomfort. The struggle is real to get out and live a normal life. The pain along with the crushing fatigue. My body is mean. I never feel well and I always hurt to some degree. That’s what happens when your body decides to wage war on itself.
How can I love myself when my body is constantly attacking me?
I have tried to stay positive. I have tried to convince myself that this will pass and I will feel better soon.
Even those in remission should take good care to avoid stress as it could trigger symptoms again. Unfortunately, Graves’ Disease is forever so a lifestyle change is important.