Getting Past The Initial Shock of Your Autoimmune Disease Diagnosis

14655270 - doctor explaining diagnosis to her female patientIf you are newly diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, remembering the day you were diagnosed is usually a bundle of mixed emotions. On the one hand, FINALLY an answer, if you are like many of us who went through multiple doctors over multiple months or even years.  But on the other hand, it’s a huge shock to you and your loved ones. Because even if you suspected this was something bigger than a health issue that could be resolved, there is always the hope you hold onto that it will just go away, and you will wake up “normally” like you used to. Now it’s something you’re going to be living with the rest of your life. It can be shocking to realize that your disease won’t go away with one simple pill or treatment.

As cliche as it is, there really is a kind of bliss that comes with ignorance. Before your receive that diagnosis, you may have been hoping against hope that your autoimmune disease wasn’t going to be ongoing. You may have wondered. You may have guessed that you had this particular disease. But it wasn’t a sure thing until the experts gave you the news. It’s not an easy thing to experience by any means. It’s the kind of experience that requires days of crying, pain, and trying to figure out what you’re going to do now – let yourself go through the stages of grief. It really is needed to grieve your old life and accept the new one.

This moment is on the of the most painful moments of having an autoimmune disease. The pain and fatigue will likely be your companion for years, but nothing will relate to that one moment when it became clear that your life was going to be forever altered by this one (or more) illness.

As painful as your initial diagnosis likely was or has been, remember that these are some of the darkest days of your autoimmune disease. A new normal emerges from this moment onward.

Before I go any further, please keep in mind that I’m not saying every single day will get easier. That’s definitely not true. There will be tough days no matter where you are in your diagnosis. Some days will feel like a breeze and others will feel like there’s no possibility that you can keep going — as they have up until now. But as you deal with your autoimmune disease, you will begin to get over the shock that this disease will be with you for years and years to come. It will become a part of your life as you work on becoming healthier and happier with the disease.

The shock of your diagnosis will fade as you work with your doctors and other support systems to help you deal with your autoimmune disease including diet and especially self care. You will learn what works for you and what doesn’t. You will learn what your limits will be and what you will still be able to enjoy. Although this will be a time-consuming process, it will help you understand that living with this disease isn’t the end of the world. You will still be able to experience a full and happy life. You will still be able to spend time with your sweet kiddos and your spouse. You will still have friends and parties and holidays. You’ll just need to learn how to handle these things as you work on creating a healthier life. It’s possible. There is hope. Always. And you are never, ever alone.


About the Author
Katie Cleary is founder of  She lives with her autoimmune conditions and her family in Austin, Texas.

This post contains opinions of the author. is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances.  Camino Real Ventures, Inc., the company that makes available to you, does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website.  Your use of the website is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy



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