How to Survive an Autoimmune Flare

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two different drawings of a phoenix rising

“The phoenix hope
can wing her way through the desert skies
and still defying fortune’s spite
revive from ashes and rise.”
~ Miguel de Cervantes

The Phoenix

When I was in the peak of rheumatoid arthritis and flaring every day, I searched for images to give me strength and hope, and I found the two at the top of this post. The phoenix on the left expressed exactly how I felt, like I was burning alive. The one on the right expressed my hope: that I could rise above it, that I wouldn’t always feel this way. I remember showing these to my friend Kirsten, and she said, “Eileen, just remember that the bird on the left looks incredibly strong to me. She’s a survivor, and so are you.”

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Survival Tips

  1. Don’t let a flare define your world. Having a flare doesn’t mean you’re not healing. When you’re new to a healing diet, it can take time for the flares to begin to go away. Look for them to diminish in number and intensity, and pay attention to the lengthening time between flares. When it comes to autoimmune health, seek progress, not perfection.
  2. Make yourself a priority. This is a time to take care of yourself. If you’re used to taking care of others and also have a busy life, you might be in the habit of putting yourself last. During a flare, you need to put yourself first. Cancel any optional obligations, and ask your loved ones for help.
  3. Relieve your pain. For many autoimmune diseases, a flare means intense pain. Don’t feel any guilt about relieving it with medication. It’s not healthy to suffer with pain.
  4. Sleep. For many autoimmune diseases, a flare also means intense fatigue. For all human beings, sleep is when the body heals and regenerates. Go to bed early, sleep in late, take naps. I know that sometimes the symptoms of a flare can make sleep difficult. Prop yourself with pillows for greater comfort, and just do your best to rest, any way you can manage it.
  5. Focus on healing foods. Drink lots of bone broth, eat organ meat. Homemade soups are especially nourishing during this time.
  6. Drink ginger honey tea between meals. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and digestive aid. Grate or mince some fresh ginger root (about a teaspoonful) into your mug and pour some boiling water over it, cover and leave for 3-5 minutes. Pour through a small sieve and add raw honey to taste.
  7. Don’t binge. During a flare, it’s easy to think, “Screw it! I feel awful anyway, I’m going to do whatever I want.” And then you binge on unhealthy food, which unfortunately amplifies and lengthens the flare. It may be called comfort food, but it really should be called pain-inducing food. You deserve better. Choose healing foods that provide the real comfort instead.
  8. Detoxify: Health is a constant balance of nourishment and detoxification, and during a flare, you need support in both areas. Try a gentle detoxifying bath.
  9. Cry. I remember once when I was fighting back tears, a wise woman said to me, “Tears are healing, so don’t fight them. Let them flow.” It’s true. Grief is part of the process. And tears are even detoxifying.
  10. Laugh. This sounds counter-intuitive, right? How can you laugh when you feel awful? But this is the time you need to laugh the most. It’s a natural pain reliever. Famed author, Norman Cousins, treated his ankylosing spondylitis through laughter therapy, saying it was the best pain relief he could find. So watch a funny movie or TV show, trusting that it’s medicine. Here’s a list of 25 things that make me laugh.
  11. Practice self-love. During flares, we can get very angry with our bodies, feeling like they’re attacking us. But our bodies are doing the best they can to heal, and they need our love in these moments more than ever. In spite of what the doctors may say, our bodies are our allies, not our enemies.
  12. Meditate. You may think that meditation is impossible during a flare, but for me, it was essential. There’s the physical reality of a flare, which is intense, but strong emotions can make a flare even worse. I would get angry and full of rage. I would get terrified that it would never stop. My heart would race, and the inflammation in my body would ramp up. That’s the opposite of what I needed. Meditation didn’t take away my physical pain, but it calmed me down and restored a feeling of emotional and mental peace, which are healing emotions. Meditation isn’t just for the masters. 15 minutes can do wonders. Read this article for easy ways to meditate. And here’s a podcast on how to meditate when you’re in pain.
  13. Journal. Sometimes, we need to express our emotions before we can let them go, and journaling is a wonderful way to do that. If you’re not a writer, keep a visual journal. Art therapy is equally powerful.
  14. Music therapy: We’ve all been moved by music. Some songs make us want to dance, others make us cry, others make us simply stop and listen, because they’re so beautiful. During a flare, the type of music that soothes you might be soft, like a caress. Or it might be a loud song that does the screaming for you. Choose whatever music speaks to your soul.
  15. Hug therapy.  Hugging release oxytocin, which is a hormone that calms the body down and makes us feel good. And it works whether it’s your spouse, your child, your sister, your friend, or your pet. There’s even a study that says hugging yourself can reduce pain. So, fill up on gentle hugs. There’s no limit.
  16. Sunshine medicine. If the weather is nice, lie in the sun for 15-30 minutes. Its warmth soothes, being outdoors refreshes, and the Vitamin D you get from the sun’s rays helps the body heal. However, some autoimmune diseases come with heat intolerance or sun sensitivity. If that’s you, enjoy some time in the cool shade instead. You can still feel the comfort of a soft breeze on your skin, watch the light play on the leaves, and listen to the calls of birds. Nature is an experience for the senses that activates the relaxation response that our body needs.
  17. Harness the mind-body connection. When you’re in a flare, it’s natural to obsess on it, but doing so can make the flare worse. If you have identified the cause of the flare, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of replaying the scene in your mind, wishing it had never happened. But the brain is interesting – each time you replay a scene, it’s like it’s happening again in the present moment. This can lengthen a flare, which you absolutely don’t want. So, instead, any time you find yourself obsessing, take a deep breath, and visualize the flare in your past, not your present. Then, visualize something that makes you happy, and focus on that instead. This can take practice, but the more you do it, the more you’ll notice when you’re obsessing, and the easier it becomes to replace that obsession with a positive image.
  18. This too shall pass. Remember that flares are temporary. When you’re in the midst of one, it’s easy to forget. Every flare I had, I feared it wouldn’t stop, even though flares by design, are temporary. So, fight that fear by saying the mantra, “This too shall pass”, over and over, until the fear is gone.
  19. Surrender. We have such negative associations with this word. We think it means giving up. In reality, it simply means letting go. When I would flare, I would tense up (of course), and would feel myself fighting to try to make the flare go away. This had the opposite effect every time. It was like my flare fought back. Surrender simply means accepting the reality of the moment. It can actually feel very peaceful. For me, I make better choices for nurturing myself through a flare, once I accept it’s happening.
  20. Flares are not failures. Flares are hard enough without adding blame and shame on top. We are so much harder on ourselves than we are on others. Today, treat yourself like you would a best friend. You don’t need to be perfect to be worthy of health and happiness. And the truth is that sometimes flares happen no matter what we do. It’s the nature of autoimmune disease. It doesn’t mean our efforts don’t matter. They do! The goal is for flares to become less frequent, less severe, shorter in duration, and to be kind to ourselves through it all. Whether you know the cause of this flare or not, I want you to know this: You are not a failure.

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Credit: The phoenix images at the top of this post come from two sources: the one of the left is an album cover by the aptly named band, Just Surrender. The phoenix on the right is by the talented artist, Katrina Bonebrake.

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109 comments on “How to Survive an Autoimmune Flare”

  1. Amberly Sanders

    I have a question – does anyone here have a vascular/muscular autoimmune disease? If you do I would like to get advise on how you got it diagnosed and who you went to? I have a very rare condition that actually flared up from a knee surgery, and I can’t seem to get back to normal. Thanks!

  2. I have been on the AIP diet for 8 weeks and my Hashimoto’s symptoms (costochondritis and hip tendonitis) pretty much went away. Now, they’re both back for the last week. I know I didn’t eat anything to cause it. I was feeling hopeless until I found your article. Thank you!

    Can anyone give me an idea how long these flares usually last? This is my first “real” one and it hurts so much.

    Any advice would be so welcomed!

    1. JJ Fran, I’m so sorry you’re experiencing a flare. How long they last varies, so it’s impossible to predict. I’m sorry – the one thing I can say is that flares do pass. Implementing the suggestions in this post will hopefully help to shorten it. Gentle hugs coming your way.

  3. Thank you for this! I just found this, although it was posted years ago. I have several AI issues, Sjogren’s being one of them. Last week the mail order pharmacy that my insurance insists that I use told me my medication for sicca was going to be overnighted. This was on a Thursday. That same day I received email confirmation that it was shipped. I only had enough for two more days. I was relieved! One day passed (Friday) and then Saturday, no medications. Now I was out of my meds! Sunday, no mail. I figured I could go a day without my meds. Monday, still no meds. Tuesday, I am starting to feel like my brain is on fire and my eyes are swimming in sand. I can’t speak without my voice cracking from my throat being so dry. I check back on the delivery schedule for the medication from the email, and it says that it will be delivered in another TWO DAYS! There is no way I will survive another two days this way! I had to call my doctor and have them call in a three day supply for me while I waited for my “overnighted” medications. I have been on these meds for probably ten years, and had never missed a period like this, and never will again. I didn’t realize how much I needed them since I was diagnosed! The flare lasted about 4 days after I was back on my meds. Truth be told, I am still a bit tired, and my eyes are still drier than they should be. But I feel like I have turned a corner. Thank you for the advice here. There are some new items here that I will have to add to my regimen!

    1. Leah, I’m so sorry you had that experience and am glad to hear you’re starting to feel better. Continue to nurture yourself! Gentle hugs coming your way.

  4. Thank you for this post. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos a year ago. Getting through. My teaching year was monumental, but year-end stressand activities has me in a flare. Your sage advice is much appreciated.

  5. I agree with your article except the suggestion of …. lying out in the sun. I have Hashimotos and experiencing a serious flare of symptoms at the moment. I had been exceptionally stable until a week ago when I spent a couple of hours walking along the beach, exploring the rock-pools and soaking up the sun. Unfortunately, 3 days later I was bedridden with fatigue ….. joint aches & pains and feeling very ‘down’. I had totally forgotten advice given by an Autoimmune specialist some years ago. Many Autoimmune disease symptoms are actually made worse by UV rays. Sunlight UV rays can cause damage to our cell’s DNA that starts a process by which inflammatory protein molecules called Cytokines can activate causing a chain reaction leading to Autoimmune exacerbation making matters worse……… There is a great deal of research to support these findings with initial observations seen in MS symptoms.

    1. Hi Libby. You raise some good points and I’ve edited the article with an alternate option for people with heat intolerance or sun sensitivity. That said, I encourage you to experiment with this for yourself. It could easily have been the multi-hour walk rather than the sunshine that caused your fatigue (or even something else altogether, like a virus). There’s something called “confirmation bias” – when we believe something is true, we find information that supports it. There is a huge amount of research into the benefits of vitamin D – specifically through sunshine rather than supplements – for people with autoimmune disease. In fact, MS is more common in latitudes with less hours of sunlight, and less common closer to the equator where people get more sunshine year-round. However, it’s also true the MS often has heat intolerance as one of it’s symptoms, and people with Lupus often experience sun sensitivity. So you are right, that there are caveats. In contrast, psoriasis often improves under the sun’s rays (even more so when combined with swims in the ocean), and I and many of my friends with other autoimmune diagnoses have felt incredibly soothed by sunshine (including many of my friends with Hashimoto’s). I imagine the level of heat plays a role, as well as the amount of time spent in the sun. When I give myself sunshine medicine, it’s 30 minutes. That’s the amount of time recommended by the vitamin D council to create vitamin D without causing any damage for my skin stype. If I’m stuck outside at the water park all day with the grandkids, it’s definitely inflammatory for me by the end of the day. So, the dose definitely makes a difference. Thanks for sharing your experience. May your flare pass quickly!

  6. Well,… I’m a man, so everything except 3, 9 and 15. Lol! I too had RA even in throat (A Hoarse of a Different Color)!

  7. Thank you Eileen for this informative and comforting post. How did I miss this? I had not heard about dry brushing, going to try it!

    1. This is one of my favorite posts, and people tend to find it when they need it. May you feel better soon, LindaSue!

  8. Thank you for this post. You can feel so isolated when a flare hits. Your article helped remind me that I am not the only one facing this & what I need to do for my continued healing. Best to you 🙂

  9. Thank you for this. After this serious flare when I swore I was getting better I hit rock bottom. This just rose me above. I met Anita by chance and she shared this. It’s a wonderful spirit circle I’ve found.

  10. Thank you for this wonderful and supportive post. I’m at the tail end of a flare (I hope!) and it’s the worst one I’ve had since starting AIP 3 months ago. I keep telling myself that in one year I should see significant improvement. I know in my heart I’ve already healed so much but during flares it’s so hard to believe that. I needed this and will come back to read it again if/when another flare happens. ❤️

  11. I have spondylitis, my neck flared up and had frozen shoulder. Omg its been terrible but I started taiji a internal martial art. Its rare that I found a great master and now I am focusing on my mind. Even if it doesnt cure I have been less angry and life has improved. I now drink bone broth and eat organic. I started planting seeds in my backyard to help the cost. I ride my motorcycle and hurts my neck real bad. I probably shouldnt do it while my neck is so stiff but its one thing I cant stop doing. My pain is so annoying but the mind can make it better. I realised with pleasure in life, there must also be pain. I gather lots of people have pain and I have been finding this one very difficult in my upper spine. Sacroillitis was the worste because I could not sit down. I have gotten better because I stay active best I can. Dislocating my shoulder and getting forzen shoulder was so bad. I am slowly recovering after 10 months. If you think your new pain is your illness it probably is. It tricks me all the time. Do taiji or a real martial art. Internal arts will help you accomplish anything with your mind. I only just started and in 1 month people are noticing. Good luck and I feel for anyone with spondylitis, it truly is annoying and random. Its like nature and no one can really understand it. Good luck and peace. Adam mizner is the person that has discovered taiji online. If your interested it can change your view on your illness and help you. Its amazing stuff but very hard to be consistent. Its good if you can stick with it everyday and practice being relaxed even when it gets bad. You learn to be happy no matter what pain your in.

    1. Jaybo, thanks so much for sharing your experience. The mind-body connection is truly powerful. I’m so glad it’s making such a difference for you, and that you’ve found a wonderful teacher. One other thing you might consider in the future is a low-starch diet. It often makes a huge difference for people with ankylosing spondylitis. Here’s a link to another man’s experience with it: Charles’ Story. Wishing you wellness in every way.

  12. I’ve just found your webpage after trawling the Internet looking for answers re support during a flare; I love what I’ve read/seen so far on your page and have ordered your new book and a couple of ebooms to get me started on the auto immune protocol whilst maintaining a low FODMAP diet. I’ve really enjoyed the positive vibe your page has as much of what I’ve encountered on the Internet is negative and depressing. I’m currently 2.5 years undiagnosed auto immune disorder (one day I may find out what it is however at the moment it is non specific). Currently experiencing another flare that has floored me again; I particularly loved the how to survive auto immune flares. Thanks so much and looking forward to what your page/community will bring to my healing process.

  13. Thank you so much, Eileen! I am in the midst of my first flare since starting AIP and I was sure I was overlooking something in my diet. I have followed the diet very carefully, though. After reading this I am just going to take care of myself and ride it out. You have greatly eased my mind!

  14. Just reading this (while staying up late/getting up early feeling miserable after a binge…used to cope with a flare…). Spot on for me to read that i’m not a freak to fall to a binge when i’m already in pain…and that although it is a common appeal to many at such a time, it’s NOT helpful…and i CAN chose differently next time!

  15. Thank you so much for your post Eileen. I’ve had a rough 4 years with numerous medications, a lot of admissions and even bowel surgery with no clear diagnosis. I’m currently having a flare and was fortunate to discover your post. During a flare you can feel so out of control and focus so much of your energy on blaming your body as the enemy. You reminded me of the importance of mind body, meditation and self-love. I love your paragraph on “this too shall pass”, a great reminder. I’ve photocopied your page and put it on my fridge to keep me on track when things get challenging. Once again, thank you.

    1. I’m so glad this post resonated with you, Selena. May your flare pass quickly, and may you find some answers soon. Gentle hugs to you.

  16. I really appreciate your post- I have severe early-onset RA and they think another AI disease too (the testing is expensive and the treatment is the same, so they’ve just left it). I just wanted to point out to you that sitting in the sun isn’t always a good idea- in fact it is a common trigger for flares. Other than that, though, this was a really good and inspiring post.

    1. Hi Coco. I’m sorry you’re experiencing severe RA – I hope you feel much better soon. Thanks also for your tip about the sun. It’s true that some people have heat and/or light sensitivity. However, for those who don’t, the Vitamin D from the sunshine is very healing. It actually works as an immune system regulator, and for me and many others, it soothes flares. But anything can be overdone! 15-30 minutes is a good amount.

  17. I am so grateful I stumbled upon this post. I’m am having my first major flare (no diagnosis of specific AI disease yet) and have been in full body pain for 9 weeks (over 30 medical visits trying to hold on for my rheumy appointment) This was so beautiful and exactly what I needed to see. I’m going to surrender without feeling guilty and hopefully I’ll stop fighting my body’s flare so much. This gave me comfort.

  18. Hi Eileen! I have had RA since I was six. It brought about an early awakening, to use Tolle’s words, but I have had many regresses back into my mind-dominated self throughout my thirty-five years with RA. Diet has always been one of my sticky points and I’ve stubbornly sabotaged any progress I’ve made with food changes when I flare by doing exactly what you state happens above in #7, I gravitate toward “treating” myself with convenient, easy food that I connect with the comfort of childhood, even though I know it is also inflammatory. The problem is, life is hard with RA! It is so hard to stick to a special protocol just for me, when the rest of my family turns their noses at what I set on the table. So, I end up cooking either two separate meals, or (oct often) compromise my protocol, which eventually turns into abandoning my diet totally. Since studying Eckhart Tolle in earnest, a definite shift has happened and I’ve felt much more empowered. So, when I found your website while searching for AIP recipe and came about the Surrender video I knew an important coincidence had happened. Your outer purpose (blog, website, outreach) definitely flow into my current inner purpose of surrender and healing. Thanks your personal vigilance. It helps us all!

    1. What beautiful synchronicity, Jenna. Thanks for sharing. I did a podcast on self-sabotage that you might find helpful: Overcoming Self-Sabotage. I also recommend a book called Better Than Before. It’s all about developing healthy habits within our own personality type. You sound like a rebel, and she speaks to that. I have a podcast planed in November, talking about the book as well. Gentle hugs to you!

  19. Thanks for these encouraging words, I’ve been in the midst of a 6 week flare and my last healthy body part is now under attack. When it all gets to be too much, it’s easy to forget that it will eventually pass. I appreciate the support and messages I’ve read from everyone who commented here.

  20. This speaks volumes to me right now! I am in so much pain and trying so hard not to cry and just reading this has helped me so much! I felt so isolated before reading this and now feel much more comfortable with what I am dealing with. THANK YOU!!!! BIG HUGS TO YOU!!!

  21. Thank you for your response!
    I have been looking for a better alternative and some answers for my RA for years and I am so excited and happy with all the recourses.
    . I love the recipes! 🙂 thanks Eileen

  22. Hi Elieen, I love reading all articles. I’m fairly new to AIP.
    Can I ask you, have you had any flares within the first month when you started the elimination? I started brilliantly and then came down with a cold which may have caused it but experienced one of my worst flares.. Did you have to eliminate any other food apart from following strict AIP? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Nikoletta. It’s common to continue to flare as you heal, because it takes time for the immune system to calm down. Healing through diet and lifestyle is very effective, but it’s a slow process, because you’re healing at a cellular level, from the inside out. Over time, your flares should become less frequent and less intense. Don’t eliminate other foods at this point. The recommendation is to wait 3 months before troubleshooting. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this, though. May your flare pass quickly. Gentle hugs to you.

    1. I agree with everything except your fibre recommendation. That can make many people’s digestive problems worse during a flare. For me, some of those items like chia seeds are highly inflammatory 365 days of the year. Everything else you say sounds great though: finding a food safety zone, staying hydrated, soothing teas, and staying gentle with yourself. Thanks for sharing the article.

  23. I loved this post I started doing things differently in the ways of eating different, this spring, (I started using EO’s earlier), to help fight my arthritis, asthma and fibro, I’ve been doing well and have cut back on most of my medications since then, but I’m really not looking forward to winter when things have a tendency to flare all three at one time plus my herpes, I’m hoping this winter will be different, because that’s when the major responsibilities star anew, kids going back to school and such, so I’m definitely going to have to print this out as a reminder. I also have a question to drinking tea with ginger, I’ve never been a big tea drinker, but I love my home-brew kombucha, is that a good substitute for the tea, and I found these wonderful honey, ginger, crystals at the store and they dissolve great in it and it tastes wonderful. Also bingeing might not be quite as bad as long as it’s appropriate food I would think, maybe your body needs what it’s craving, I’m big into listening to my body lately, except maybe on the sleep issue, once upon a time I slept to much now I don’t think I get enough. Love your posts, keep up the good work, I’d like to start a blog one of these days about my journey these last 9 months, but I don’t want to embark on something and then get stressed out if I can’t met my expectations of what I want to do, and currently I’m helping my son raise his 3 children and although I’m not a legal guardian or anything I’m primary caretaker till CPS, sees if mom can be safely integrated back into the family and that’s enough stress for now, dealing with them and my daughter-in-law who resents the position that I’ve been put in, so maybe one of these days if my life ever settles down. LOL, does anyone’s.

    1. Thanks for joining the conversation today, Lori. Yes, you definitely have plenty on your plate! Thankfully kids bring a lot of joy with the added responsibilities. (We had a similar situation in our family.) As for your tea question, ginger honey tea tastes like ginger and honey, so I imagine it’s a tea you would like. The ratio of ginger to honey is the opposite of the candy in the stores, so I think it’s more healing during a flare (less sugar and more of the anti-inflammatory ginger). I love booch, too, but it’s not the same.

  24. Just had to re-read this. Flaring pretty badly after my vacation and this was so perfect to read. I really like how you included music and HUG therapy. It’s the little things that can be big things during a flare. All of this is spot on. I’ll be sharing it on social media for sure. 🙂 Thanks for all you do!

    1. Your vacation photos looked so fun! I’m sorry you’re having to deal with a flare. Gentle hugs to you, my friend.

  25. Thank you for this thorough list. Binge…where I end up. From time to time. I will be trying the ginger tea. Namaste.

  26. During my last and worst flare my husband asked me one day, “what do you need to do to be healthy today?”. I was really surprised by his question at first, but then it became my mantra. Every day the answer is different. Some days it is sleep, some days it is socialize, some days it is cry, and some days it is rejoice but that simple question changed my thinking entirely and allowed me to refocus my energy on thinking about what I could do to heal productively rather than what I couldn’t do.

  27. Excellent post and website! I am a gluten-free, fat-free vegan with nightshade sensitivity. I try not to resent having to give up pots, toms and peps but sometimes I just go ahead and have some. The flare it creates reminds me I am still under internal attack and I immediately go into ‘clean’ eating mode. It is time to do 15 minutes in my Ahhh Spa: a deep hot bath with 2 c. Epsom salts, some drops of eucalyptus oil, enough bluing to pretty the water, and a tiny cap of milk an honey bubble bath. I relax and breathe soooo good and everything seems better after that whether it is or not. I’m glad I found your wisdom blog!

  28. I am having a flair up this week-and I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and very discouraged.. and alone with the pain. Then I happened upon your website, and this article, and a measure of hope is back in my heart. Thank you.

  29. I came across your site and saw this post which really spoke to me. I have an extremely sensitive body and chronic digestive issues that recently flared up again. I wrote a post on my blog to describe what I do to feel better and to provide tips for others coping (whether from a flare-up, chronic illness, etc) and included this post for additional information. Your tips are spot on for me, especially #17 as I have found myself being sucked into despair and obsessing about what caused the flare-up, if there was something I should have done differently, worrying that I’ll never feel better, etc etc. Deep breathing and guided imagery really help me so I’m glad you included them and love how you explain their connection and benefits. Thank you for this wonderful post and I look forward to exploring your site more!

    1. Thanks, Alexandra. Your blog is beautiful, and I think we’re all so much more powerful together than alone; I’m grateful for the online healing community. I’ll be sharing your 30-second relaxation exercise on Facebook. Who couldn’t benefit from that?

      1. perfect for at the desk….just did a round and feel a bit better. I am sure as I progress with finesse…I’ll be even better!

  30. Thank you so much! I’m not even sure how I came across your site but it is the most accurate description of my life ever! It has helped already just knowing I am not the only person dealing with the unthinkable pain of multiple autoimmune disorders!!! Thank you Thank you!!!

    BTW,,, are there any essential oils that you use to help??

    1. You’re welcome, Patricia. We all need that sense of community, which is a big motivation behind my blog. As for the essential oils, I’ve never used them because my body doesn’t like scents, even the natural ones. Put a drop on me and I literally smell like I bathed in the bottle. A headache soon follows. I know others benefit from them, though, so that’s one of the ways we’re each unique.

    1. My pleasure. I’m not one of those people who believe autoimmune disease is a blessing, but if I can help others through the experience, then there’s a silver lining.

      1. That’s definitely a silver lining. I hope I can get mine, helping my aunt and my little sis before it gets worse for them. But first I’ve got to convince them that their health issues are not a given and that they have a solution.
        It turns out most of my close relatives have Celiac’s symptoms… And they’re starting to make changes in their habits, thanks to my experience. In those moments is when I think: “If I hadn’t had my breakdown, my whole family would never had a chance to get a better life”.

  31. My goodness, this post nearly made me cry. I often find myself in bed with a flare of some sort, either lupus or from the Crohns and everything you have here really resonates with me. I thank you for posting this! I agree 100% with all your suggestions. It’s such a psychological rollercoaster. It’s a time. But I’ve learned a few things along the way which makes it just a little easier. The biggest issue for me is losing my ability to do, not just want I want to do, but NEED to do…such as take care of my family. I get very upset about not being able to take care of my daily activities, such as making meals, cleaning, laundry, transporting my kiddos to school, volunteering, etc. I sit here now typing this comment at my son’s gymnastics class. I’m feeling really good today. My good days rare, but this is one of them. Clear mind, good natural energy (not from caffeine), my digestion is good, and no sign of any lupus flare. I so treasure the good days. One thing I did a while back is write about how I’m feeling when I am well. I wrote a letter to myself to read when I am in a flare. It’s an encouraging letter, empowering letter, and I’ve found that I don’t need to hear those words from anyone but myself.

    Thanks again for this wonderful, informative post. You’re amazing and such a treasure.

    Big hugs to you,

    1. Amber, I absolutely love that you wrote a letter to yourself. How beautiful! Thanks for sharing – both your hard times and your wisdom.

    2. I have been suffering with flare ups (Crohns for 8 years (going in for 9). Writing a letter to myself seems like the best thing to do. Thank you for the suggestions as I also do not have the energy to do anything. Suffering with depression now is getting me down so I WILL definitely write a letter to myself!

  32. Wonderful post, Eileen! I do many of the things on your list and, if I can, I try to do gentle yoga and meditation to help calm, inspire and motivate me. I especially like those meditations that focus on reminding me that my body wants to heal itself, I just need to keep facilitating that. I’ve pinned this 🙂

  33. Wonderful post. I fought my flares for years, fearing each one would never end! One of the things I try to remember during a flare these days is to not forget to care for the rest of my body. When I’m so focused on trying to get one specific area back on track it can be so easy to forget that the rest still needs support!

  34. These are wonderful suggestions. I have always struggled with support groups for fibro– so many of them focused on what level your pain was each day. For me, I needed to move beyond the pain and think of something else, think of the positives in my life instead of always focusing on the negatives.

    Thanks for sharing on A Humble Bumble’s Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop.

    1. Kerry, I’ve had similar feelings about online support groups. On the one hand, the support is really nice, especially from people who understand your situation. On the other hand, participation increases focus on the disease, which can be the opposite of healing. The best groups are filled with people like you, lifting each other up.

    2. I so agree, I haven’t been to a group but I’ve seen many pins a a few blogs, and everyone seems to want to focus on how bad they feel, and how bad people treat them, I want to be positive and move in a positive manner, because so many times how you think affects how you feel.

  35. Thank you. I will have to share this with my sister. I am begining to understand how much people are suffering and finding relief is a challenge. This gives me hope for my future as well as my children that they can have a “normal” mother.
    There is so much to healing the body from the inside. So often we rely on treating the symptoms, but very people look for the root and fix it. My newset favorite thought is a chinese proverb If it is acute pain treat that branch, if it is chronic pain treat the root. The root of so many problems rely in the gut and for me it is acidity. I have discovered in my healing journey that acid in the body is a real pain.

    1. I love that proverb. Interestingly, autoimmune disease is often acute and chronic simultaneously, yet the proverb still applies. We need to treat the branches and the roots. Thanks for the beautiful symbolism.

  36. Just the post I needed to read at the moment. I’m grateful to have this post in my “toolbox” to reflect on when I need it in the future. The Tolle audio seems particularly appropriate and in the context of this post, I can understand and relate to his material, which usually is not the case for me.

    1. I know, I loved the Toll video as well.
      The article was a good reminder for me to keep up with the detox baths and dry brushing of this skin. I keep forgetting about those.

    2. Thanks for writing, Robin. I think it took autoimmune disease to make me see the power of surrender. Until then, Tolle’s words often seemed rather theoretical. I hope your flares disappear so you don’t need these tips, but may they be helpful in the meantime.

  37. Janet Kelley-Vail

    Thank you for this loving post and gentle reminders. I had my first flare of “something ” this past Feb and I am going about trying to figure out what is going on. I am on the AIP protocol and have been for awhile due to SIBO. I see a Rhumeotogist next month and I currently see a naturopath. It has been quite a journey. Thank you again for these words.

  38. Why do we binge when we’re not feeling well? That is my worst habit, thinking I feel like crap I might as well eat crap. As if that is going to make me feel better. And its usually followed with anger – at myself, at my body, at the world lol.

    Thank you for your list – going to print it out and post it on my fridge as a reminder.

    Thank you for your site, sharing with those in the same boat is sometimes better than a drug.

  39. In those bad days, I give myself a foot massage. Also, I’ve found out that it kind of helps me to give my partner a massage.
    Thank you for the tips! I’m going to try them right away, as they seem perfect for every day, and not just for flares 🙂

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