Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, Living with Illness, Relationships

Is an Auto-Immune Disease a Civil War?

Last night I was catching up on Oprah’s “best life” episodes of the week (love watching it on the DVR, I can skip the commercials).  There was a big question about Oprah stating that her thyroid disease had been cured.  Fortunately, she had Dr. Oz ready and willing to discuss her thyroid issue and I believe it cleared the air for many.  He did make one comment that was an interesting analogy.  He said that “thyroid disease, an auto-immune disease is like a civil war”.

When he first made the comment I was surprised because I’d never heard it put in those terms before.  I guess it’s one thing to think about fighting the enemy and anothe when we’re fighting what we believe is part of us or who we identify with by race, nationality or religion.  So what is it about The Civil War that we have learned how to handle our own personal civil war.

The biggest sticking point in The Civil War was the issue of slavery.  Is there one sticking point in your auto-immune disease?  I’m not talking about a cure because if you had that you’d be disease free, the richest person on the planet and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine.  I’m talking about one particular antagonist in your body or your lifestyle that can be changed.  Overwhelmingly doctors will point to stress as that one factor, but is it your?  If not can you take an inventory of the things that get under your skin, figuratively and literally and begin to flush out what provokes you physically, emotionally and spiritually?

We all have a limited number of resources.  It seems fruitless to take that energy and direct it to combating something internally when there are a host of threats on all levels to our health and safety out in the world.  I guess I’m saying this is a true to call to action.  If you’re facing an auto-immune disease how will you create reconciliation within your body?  What can you do to facilitate that reconciliation?  How will you invite the part of you that seceded back into the fold?  How will you discard the disappointment you feel toward that part that seceded?

I know there are a lot of questions but creating a personal, internal peace treaty is critical to your well-being.  How will you become the negotiator, facilitator and keeper of the peace…your peace?


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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