Marching Towards Autoimmune Disease Awareness

As March comes to an end, it’s important to recognize that it is Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, a time to shed light on the millions of individuals worldwide living with these often invisible and misunderstood conditions.

As we join together to raise awareness, I’m reminded of my own journey with autoimmune disease, specifically Graves’ Disease, and its profound impact on my life, including my experience with anxiety.

A Constant Companion

Living with an autoimmune disease is like having a constant companion, one that can turn even the simplest tasks into challenges.

For me, Graves’ Disease brought a whirlwind of symptoms, from rapid heartbeat and weight loss to fatigue and muscle weakness. However, one of the most challenging aspects has been its effect on my mental health, particularly the way it exacerbates anxiety.

An Anxious Ally

I know the struggle of waking up each day with a sense of unease, a feeling that something isn’t quite right. Anxiety can feel like a relentless wave, threatening to overwhelm at any moment.

It’s not just the racing heart or the feeling of dread—it’s the uncertainty, the constant worry about what each day will bring. When Graves’ Disease entered my life, it was like anxiety had found a new ally, amplifying its presence and making every day feel like a battle.

But I also know that there is strength in our shared experiences. If you’re living with an autoimmune disease, I want you to know that you’re not alone.

I understand the challenges you face—the fatigue that seems to never go away, the frustration of not always being understood by others, and the anxiety that can feel like a heavy weight on your chest.

Working With, Not Against

One of the most profound shifts in my journey was learning to work with my autoimmune disease rather than against it. Cognitive reframing, a technique often used in therapy, helped me change my perspective.

Instead of viewing my autoimmune disease as something to fight, I began to see it as a part of me—a part that could teach me resilience and strength.

Finding Resilience

Despite these challenges, there is also resilience. It’s okay to ask for help, to seek support from those around you. Through medication, lifestyle changes, and therapy, there are ways to manage both your autoimmune disease and your anxiety.

Here are some coping skills that have helped me along the way:

1. Mindfulness and Meditation: Taking time to focus on the present moment has helped reduce stress and improve my overall well-being. Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths or noticing the sensations in your body.


2. Regular Exercise: Engaging in physical activity has not only improved my physical health but has also had a positive impact on my mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which are known as “feel-good” hormones. I absolutely love hopping on my Peloton and going on hikes with my dog.


3. Stress Management Techniques: Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga or deep breathing exercises, has been crucial in reducing anxiety. These techniques can help calm the mind and relax the body. Mindful walking has helped me get out of my head and reconnect with my body. This practice involves paying close attention to the sensations and experiences of each moment, promoting a sense of calm and focus.


4. Supportive Relationships: Surrounding myself with supportive friends and family members has been invaluable. Having a strong support system can provide emotional support and practical help when needed.


5. Education and Advocacy: Learning about my autoimmune disease and understanding its impact on my body has empowered me to take control of my health. Advocating for myself and seeking out knowledgeable healthcare providers has been key in managing my conditions.

As we recognize Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, let’s not only raise awareness but also offer support and empathy to those living with these conditions.

In the silence of autoimmune battles, we find the loudest cries for understanding and empathy. Together, we can create a more compassionate and understanding space for those affected by autoimmune diseases.

With care and compassion,

Adele Turco, MA, RP & Clinical Director

Living with an autoimmune disease means facing invisible challenges. I see you, and I’m here to listen and support you.

Seeking Support

Struggling with chronic health concerns, anxiety, low self-esteem, or interpersonal relationship issues? Adele Turco, MA, RP & Clinical Director, can help you find solutions and make lasting life changes, all while making the process as enjoyable as possible.

Simply put, therapy doesn’t have to always be a painful thing. You’ll have a dedicated space to unload your worries, learn how to navigate challenges with grace, and feel empowered to develop fresh insights about your life.

Adele specializes in working with women who feel “not good enough,” worry about their image, are critical of their interactions, and avoid judgment. Together, we can build self-compassion and confidence through deeper self-understanding.

Her approach involves creating a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve your goals, increase self-awareness, and overcome challenges.

Looking to work with Adele? Visit Calm Cool Collective Counselling to connect with us, and we’ll be in touch within 24 hours. Plus, enjoy a FREE 15-minute phone consultation, no commitment required!

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