I have an auto immune disease. Now what?
The more I research this red, itchy rash that is spreading to other parts of my body, the more I feel that I should have paid attention to it sooner. Dormant for years, the tingling and itching started about 10 months ago, but within the past three months, it’s gotten much worse.
Some days I feel as if the itching will literally drive me mad! I try and figure out what causes a flare up. Did I eat something I’m allergic to? Am I more stressed than I was yesterday? Do I need to change shampoos or soaps? I’m learning that all of these ideas are too basic and don’t really address what’s happening inside.
An auto immune disease is based in the overall health system of the body. It may present itself as a rash, but the body is definitely not working correctly. The body begins to see it’s own skin cells as an invader, then turns up the immune system, ramps up an inflammatory response and skin cells begin to grow 5 times faster than normal.
Auto Immune symptoms – the physical toll
Every ‘body’ responds differently to an auto immune disease.
After doing a ton of research over the past few weeks (I’ve been a little obsessed about making the rash go away), all the signs of distress in my body have been there for at least three years.
- mineral deficiency
- low levels of Vitamin D
- increased food sensitivity
- adrenal stress and high cortisol levels
- brain fog
- sleep issues
I could go on and on, but these are the major ‘symptoms’ that have been piling on top of each other. While my naturopath tried to provide support for each issue, I now realize that it was a battle that I was bound to lose. Without me seeing the whole picture as an auto immune disease, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to get the right combination of supplements at the right time in the right doses.
I think the first warning sign I had was the nighttime leg cramps. In an auto immune disease, the body begins to deplete essential minerals. Muscles need magnesium and potassium to function well. While including trace minerals in herbal form was providing some relief, the cramps would never really go away and the cramps in my feet, ankles, and shins, along with the feeling of muscles weakness was concerning.
The brain fog has been difficult to deal with. I’ve always been able to multi task well and was keen on details. Over the past three years, I have experienced a steady loss in functioning at a high level. Not only do I enjoy staying sharp on a personal level, but my job as an accountant depends on it. It’s been a long struggle in dealing with lapses of clear thought and problem solving skills.
The psoriasis was the final outward symptom of the turmoil within. My body has been trying to deal with so many symptoms, but it finally reached critical mass and it just can’t do it any more.
Auto Immune Symptoms – the emotional toll
But it’s not just about the rash. Dealing with so many physical symptoms not only manifests itself inside and outside the body, but it also takes a toll on emotional and mental well-being.
I struggle with the insistent itching. There are days when I just want to crawl out of my skin. I feel like it will never go away and that brings on a high level of frustration. As the rash is beginning to appear on my back and legs, now I have even more areas to scratch.
I’ve also had high anxiety. With my adrenals working overtime and high level of cortisol in my system (determined by my naturopath), the flight or fight response is intense most days. Keeping that in-check in my marriage and at work is a full time job. I can fake my way through it at work, but it’s harder to keep it hidden from family. I just want to retreat and hide away because I’m overwhelmed. Each thing that gets piled on my plate causes more anxiety.
The rash has spread to the side of my neck and is no longer hidden under my hair so now I’m self conscious around others. Most people don’t know what psoriasis is and it’s hard to talk about.
The brain fog is extremely frustrating so I begin to doubt my decisions. Having to redo tasks at work results in added pressure. I begin to wonder if this is normal age related forgetfulness or something more serious.
If you have an auto immune disease or chronic illness, please share and comment below.
Disclaimer: Information found on this website or links to other websites are for informational purposes only and not intended for medical advice. You know your body and your physical, emotional and mental situation. Consult your physician before making any changes.
Kristy Klenk has reached the 56 (and counting) birthday and finds this stage of life and aging an interesting adventure. For over 20 years she has been on a journey of living a holistic lifestyle and continues to research its positive effects on aging.