I’ve analyzed autoimmune disease from all different angles, and tried to treat my own such disease from just as many angles. I’ve looked into gluten, cosmetic toxins and, of course, sugar.

When I’m asked, though, “What caused your disease?” I have to be frank and say – once all angles are ironed out – everything points to… anxiety. Or as I like to put it, a profound, visceral, itchy dis-ease with myself.


I always say that I can spot an AI type. They have an intensity about them, a desire to impress. They’re always the ones at the front of my lectures, frantically taking notes. They have an air of ‘I’m not good enough as I am’.

A while back I watched TED talk by Dr. Habib Sadeghi, an American “healer to the stars”, in which he cites self-hatred as the real cause of chronic disease, particularly in women.

The gist goes like this…

* Illness is what happens when women, the nurturers of humanity, forget how to nurture themselves. Word!

* He draws parallels to dirt. Excessive plowing and unmindful practices by farmers ruins the grass that keeps our soil grounded and healthy. Land is then left barren, exposed, degraded and stripped of its life-giving power. Which means when hard times strike – like a severe drought – the once-nutrient rich soil becomes lifeless dirt, devoid of any nourishing or nurturing capabilities. There’s no resilience. And humanity starves.

Got the parallel with self-care?

* So, when we don’t have the proper tools to nurture our grassland – our spiritual ecosystem, if you will – the soil of our soul becomes exposed to negative stuff. And humanity starves.

“It dries up, loses its nourishing capabilities and blows away, leaving us completely ungrounded. How many people do you know who are flighty, scattered or addicted to drama? They’ve lost their resilience, the ability to nourish and nurture their soul through the ups and downs of life.”

* What does it mean to nourish our grassland? My take is this: not constantly doubting and putting the breaks on emotions, innocently and authentically responding to things, being able to cradle and accommodate our own (sometimes extreme and erratic etc) emotional responses rather than relying on external things (other people, drugs, gurus). So that we don’t “end up living in a spiritual dustbowl of self-judgment, hopelessness, and cynicism”.

* Self-hatred is the biggest impediment to cradling ourselves, especially in women. This self-hatred emerges from thinking we’re not adhering to the ideals set out for us.

“We’re constantly putting women up against standards they can’t possibly meet. When you can’t be the ideal wife, mother, girlfriend, teacher, cook, church volunteer, corporate executive and activist at 20 pounds below your healthy body weight, what’s left but to silently (and subconsciously) hate yourself because you’re not perfect?”

* And so…

“Self-hatred causes autoimmune disease, which, boiled down, is the body attacking itself.”

* So how to heal? With self-love. I rarely know what this means and it mostly seems a bit “motherhoody” to me. But I can see how key it is. You can do all the tests, elimination diets and treatments you like, but, boil it all down, there’s always a sneaking feeling that it’s more than the gluten or the toxin or the hereditary  predisposition. Right?

Sometimes I sit and really feel what’s behind a flare up. The only feeling there, behind the pain and shitiness, is a cringy, self-flagellating, forward-lunging anxiety. It’s always there, whatever the flare. The same feeling.

* And a final statement that floats my spiritual boat:

“There’s no need to fear the future because we know that so long as constant change is life’s nature, survival doesn’t go to the fittest, but to the most resilient—and resiliency always resides in the richest soil.”

In some ways the solution is really much simpler and life-enriching than constantly seeking a cure, a fix. Do you agree?

PS. Feel free to catch up on all my previous autoimmune posts.

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • Apples

    Wow!! This made me cry. I’ve been searching for a way to understand what’s going on with me because I’ve eaten so well, do yoga, etc. and I had this feeling that it really is me attacking myself psychologically and the times of major regret and anger at myself were the times when I can recall experiencing symptoms, of course I didn’t know what they were then. Thanks for putting into words so well…

    • You’re welcome. Cry. It’s part of nourishing your grasslands!

      • Mr D

        This is a simplistic and dangerous article. You’ve every right to decide on causation for yourself, even if it’s at the hands of a Deepak-esque hack, but to present it as definitive and “all” is really unfair on lots of people. Anxiety and stress absolutely interact with immunity, but to then decide that this disease is about self loathing?! Plenty of people suffer from this without hating themselves. And as it is, anxiety and stress are hardly exclusive to self loathing. What about the modern day problem of workplace stress? That has the same impact on immunity. And yet, you are putting the idea int people’s heads that someone they may know suffering from this must be self loathing. That is not what they need. Get over yourself and consider the impact of your words on the larger, more complex, picture.

        • arthritic chick

          I so agree with you Mr D. And Sarah, while you’re nurturing your grasslands, consider all the people you have hurt with this pointless and cruel article. If self loathing caused your anxiety, I’m sorry for you. People who follow you will now tell really sick people, people who are far sicker with more serious autoimmune diseases than hashimotos, that they just need to love themselves more. That is cruel beyond words. If nurturing my grasslands caused so much pain to others, I couldn’t live with myself.

          • Guest

            I was born with Rheumatoid Arthritis, so my question to Sarah Wilson is … how is it possible that my self-hatred began as an embryo? Negativity does not cause auto-immune diseases or flare ups, of course I get down and hate the fact I have RA but that is a side effect of my illness not the cause. It is also my opinion that you were (lucky for you) misdiagnosed and never actually had the diseases that you ‘cured’ yourself of. I actually have one of your books on my bedside table to read but instead I’m going to bin it. I never actually thought that you could cure my Rheumatoid Arthritis (maybe help with my IBS and possibly drop a few kilos) and it actually scares me to think that you believe you have the knowledge, and dare I say power, to cure auto-immune diseases. I wish you all the best but I think you need to investigate the science behind your outrageous claims because what you are saying is, at the heart of it, damaging and hurtful!

          • Lucy

            I see someone has shared my comment again, thanks for that! ; )

          • Blind Justice

            You messed up your dna in a former life and that of your offspring. Might sound cruel but it sometimes takes many lifetimes to realize it.

          • Lenn

            I don’t know about the writer of the article – but I think the premisse of the article isn’t a bad one necessarily. Too simple, maybe.

            But usually diseases aren’t caused by a single thing. Cancer is often caused by dozens of contributing factors. One very strong factor is genetic predeposition. That’s also true for auto-immune diseases. They are often genetic.

            But that’s not to say that other factors can’t trigger a disease. Someone with a genetic predeposition to have schizofrenia might never get it – or it might be triggered by a severe emotional period. Or excessive drug use.

            Then some people with a predeposition for schizofrenia will just get it no matter what they do. The genetics are then just too strong. And so many factors are unknown to us.

            Someone with a predeposition for auto-immune disease might never get it. But maybe this also may be triggered by emotional issues.

            And then some people will just get it no matter what. Then, the genetics are just too strong.

          • Gaylea

            I’d like to add some light to how self-hatred begins in embryo. Our DNA changes from the time we are born to the time we die based on our thoughts (scientifically proven). If your ancestors had self-hatred thoughts that became ways of thinking, it can be passed down the bloodline.

          • Iris MacKenzie

            Please post links of scientific data for these claims.

        • Fi

          Completely agree!

        • Donna-Lynne

          workplace stress is a form of self-loathing…any self-inflicted treatment that creates negative stress (poor food, unfulfilling degrading work , abusive relationships, etc) is rooted in self-loathing. If we loved ourselves deeply, we would eat well, live well, work well, think well, feel well…It might sound simple, but self-love is a very complex matter.

        • juntjoo

          i dont know. I think she raises a good question. How much do we really love ourselves? Have we really examined that question enough, not just as individuals but as societies/cultures? Maybe the terms she uses aren’t so palatable I think she points to a more comprehensive direction that raises the question of state of mind(s)/spirit(s). Can one person walking around this troubled world ignorantly claiming to love themselves really love themselves or is it just their ego talking? Could it be we are indeed all connected and we feel collectively regardless of what picture our immediate surroundings through friends/family and media paint and as a whole there is a lot of crap going on that most surface thinkers just aren’t aware of? Maybe even though we don’t pay attention to the horrors that go on in other countries or even in our ghettos next door or in the ‘lower’ species we enslave and torture then gobble up with big smiles on our faces while we look in the mirror and say ‘life is great! How couldn’t I love myself?’… maybe we are unconsciously connected to all this that goes on around us and disease is a manifestation of our ignorance to it all. I don’t know but I agree that reality is of a “larger, more complex, picture” and I think Sarah is pointing us in a more thoughtful and intelligent direction.

        • Historian312

          Self-loathing is a factor for many people. That said, I agree that this post sets up just another standard for people — especially women — to fail at: now, we have to make sure we measure up to someone’s standard of loving ourselves. As a corollary, there’s the hint — seen in other posts, below — that illness generated by anything psychological is not “real” illness! About which, consider: disorders that originate in the brain *are* physical disorders (the brain being located in the head, and interwired with the rest of the body). By isolating “mental” disorders from “physical” disorders, we create a false dichotomy that best serves insurance companies and others who want to deny coverage and services to the mentally ill. Remember that those who suffer from illnesses such as depression are not just moody or sad; they are ill. Depression, for example, manifests as fatigue, physical pain, headaches, etc. Depression can also be a symptom of other types of illness, such as thyroid disease. So while I think it’s important to consider self-hatred as a factor in illness, it’s not the only answer and it shouldn’t be used as a way to blame and isolate those who suffer from it.

        • Maria Liedke

          It is only what we are telling ourselves (usually a negative story about ourselves) that create the stress and anxiety. These stories are usually subconscious but changing our body chemistry with things like adrenal and cortisol. So it is about lack of self love in those moments…

        • Tanya Katherine

          To Mr. D and Arthritic Chick YOU ARE BOTH IN DENIAL! Sarah is 100% right about this. You don’t need science to back things anymore. You just have to do more research on this. Everything links back to a cellular level of energy vibration – it is plain and simple: if hate is in your cells, it will cause disease and imbalance. Take it what you will but its the truth and Sarah is right and does not deserve such negativity on her well written post. No wonder she has autoimmune disease with so many trolls and naysayers spreading hate against what seems to be the most obvious cause behind ALL ILLNESS.

  • Ali

    Fladulating? Flagellating perhaps?

    • thx!

      • Jonathan

        Hi Sarah, thie following is not my comment but is a response to this story from news.com.au
        You may not have seen it but it looks to be important info for you.
        Emma B
        Posted at 9:38 PM November 21, 2014
        Doctor here. You have Hashimoto’s. This often presents with an initial thyroid storm which is sometimes misdiagnosed as Graves disease. It is likely you have never had Graves, only Hashimotos. This means you have periods of hyperthyroidism and then periods of hypothyroidism alternating, with periods of wellness in between (the times you have thought you have “cured” yourself). Please see a good endocrinologist, or two if you prefer, and get this seen to. It is easily medically treated and is not caused by anything mental. It is highly genetic.
        Comment 2 of 36

        • There were a few doctors who commented. They gave actual scientific and physiological explanations which was far more helpful that what Sarah wrote.

        • guest

          100% disagree: NOT easily treatable (that lie is big pharma talking) and definitely connected to a mental/emotional energetic shut down. If it was otherwise, we would not see so, so, so many women continue to suffer.

  • annie

    Bizarre, I was discussing this last night with a friend. For the past 2 weeks I have been an absolute bitch to myself, negative nancy two fold, withdrawing from everyone and hating myself for being me WTF! And in the past two days, and in my mind I knew this was going to happen, all my aches,tiredness and loss of appetite have come back to haunt me. So today is again a start of I love me, I love me, I love me. When I finally get this mantra solidly stuck in my head I have no idea but now knowing it causes not just my mind, but also my body to behave badly is hopefully now a lesson learnt and hopefully not forgotten. Why do we feel so rotten about who we are it’s crazy and the crazier thing is we know it’s crazy. Good luck people x

  • JillN

    The fittest is the most resilient. Fittest has nothing to do with strength in this context..

  • D.

    I think I might be getting AI and I completely understand the anxiety you are talking about. I have taken up meditation online and when the guy says “do the body scan”, I can always feel the tension.

  • Hanna

    Great article, Sarah. I am trying to learn self-love, it has been easier to do since following your IQS books (which have been life changing for me!) When my body feels nourished, I am more connected and find it easier to recognise destructive thought patterns. At 23, I am still learning but as women it is so important for us to self love to then be able to give love to others. We need to stick together, be our true selves and tell the media to f**k off for telling us how we should act and look! 🙂 Keep being super inspiring to us Sarah, I have so much belief in you!

  • Kayla

    I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve always been incredibly hard on myself and with the clarity of hindsight can see the co-development of this pattern of thought/behavior and my physical illness. Not surprisingly, the greatest progress I’ve made in my healing has been through the work I’ve done on learning to let go of control, cultivating self love and learning to just be with myself in the moment, and releasing past traumas and emotions through EFT and meditation and creative expression. I’ts hard and I have a way to go but I know this is the way to heal my disease.

  • Simone

    Hi Sarah, you certainly have an amazing ability to put it in the clearest form. I have done elimination, take the meds, have traditional therapies, but cannot shift the extra 30kg I gained before correct treatment.
    Recently I have been the worst in years and its come at a time of re-structure of work which has caused me anxiety and heart palpitations, with this constant voice in my head telling myself that I am fat and stupid and useless. That I am never going to be better. Never going to function above “getting by”. I am going to have to work on that self-hating voice.

    • Simone Kelly

      Hi Simone. I know this sounds bizarre but while I was reading your post I felt like I was reading about myself… I too have recently gained 30 kgs due to my illness and it has made me feel hideous and useless. I have tried the elimination diet, juice fasts, numerous herbs and am now back on medication. Right now I am just focused on finding a balance. A balance between modern medicine that makes me feel rather anxious and unfocused – but delivers amazing results and a healthy diet and exercise to ground me. I suffer from Psoriasis so I tend to put on weight after a flare up as I emotionally eat to compensate for the depression. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, but quitting sugar is one of the best things I could have done to help me in my struggle. Like Apples at the beginning of the comments I too cried when I read this post. It touched me so deep that I just couldn’t hold back my emotions so I just know that Sarah is right on the money with this post. I feel like my anger for being so ‘unattractive’ and ‘repulsive’ to the opposite sex – at an age where settling down and starting a family means everything to me – is just too much to bare some days. So I lash out and want to binge eat or drink to numb the pain. Yeah, so that’s my story. But I just wanted to reach out to you Simone because I felt compelled to tell you – You are a special lady. 30 kgs heavier or not I bet you are still so beautiful! I know you are so stressed about work and restructuring is never an easy thing to work through, but I bet you are so amazingly talented at your job that even if things were to change you wouldn’t have a problem finding something even better. We have all heard the saying as one door closes another door opens. And everything happens for a reason… But sometimes it takes living through these rough times to really see how amazingly resilient we truly are. Sometimes when I feel really low and want to just go home and polish off a packet of timtams and a bottle of red to myself, I try and look back on my life and remember those crazy hard times and how far I have come since then. Those times I didn’t think I would survive without XYZ job or XYZ man – and turns out I did. And actually found a better one not two months down the track. I know I don’t know you Simone, and take this all with a grain of salt – but just know I do get it, I feel like maybe we are battling similar wars – so all the very best and I wish you every happiness in the future 🙂 Simone (I know crazy right my name is Simone too haha)

      • Caroline Silk

        HI Simone/s. I tried to respond earlier but life got in the way.!! I’m a nutritionist with a keen interested in A.I. and I’ve recently heard a lecture with Sarah Ballantyne and discovered and bought her book -The Paleo Approach – Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body. It is amazing (backed by tons of science /facts/research- cos she is a scientist) and the bible for anyone that wants to heal naturally.

        I hope you both visit her site – http://www.thepaleomom.com – I don’t think you will regret it. Best of luck on your healing journey . x

        p.s I m not sure if Sarah W. has mentioned her before – she may have!

        • FeeG

          I’ve just recently discovered Sarah Ballantyne myself and am completely hooked – her FB page is invaluable !. Has helped me steer on the right path for Hoshimotos. Good luck

        • Simone

          Thanks Caroline, I am going to check this out right now…it all helps!

        • Vera Dekanic Dragone

          I am a student of nutritional medicine and I think that would be my favorite book at this moment…

      • What a beautiful message to send a stranger.

      • Simone

        Hi Simone, apologies for the delayed response but I have been away without internet access and its actually been bliss!!

        This really made me cry my heart out and I cannot really put into words how grateful I am for your kindness & taking the time to reach out to me. My family try to “get it” and my husband finally does, but I cannot count the times I have been told “but you don’t look sick!”. I am sure that you have heard this too.

        Its nice to feel like someone gets it. I wish you so much happiness and health…and equal kindness in return for your words.

        And it will never be enough, but I say “Thank you” with such gratitude that I hope you feel it – xxx-

  • Naomi

    Totally connect with this. Just went on a really relaxing holiday, camping, hiking and lots of beach time. Felt so grounded and connected, and after a week and a half and my AI symptoms vanished, skin healed, energy surged. All this while not following usual dietry restricting, let some gluten and some dairy slip in there, and it had no effect. Absolutely none. Back into my usual routine, took about three days for that anxiety to creep back in and a couple of days later my body hurts, AI symptoms back. and a loathing at why my body has to break down. Feels like such a fight. Need to work more on the self love and acceptance and trying to keep grounded and connected… think the fighting spirit and inability to accept status quo is half the problem… But so hard to change such inground personality traits.. Meditation definitely helping… and just trying to constantly remind myself to trust in the universe… i don’t need to control things… it has my back. xx

  • My Peace Of Food

    Oh, Sarah…I can so relate to this. I always think of the Dalai Lama’s response: “What is self hatred?” In a discussion with teachers and psychologists from the states and Europe, he was confused and bewildered when discussing the concept. How could anyone feel that way about themselves? And yet, of course, we do. I have struggled with it because I often wonder what self love is, a pedicure and a bath? But what I’m learning is that it is a constant renewing and rededication to exactly that — defining what it is for me. Sometimes it feels like it’s more defined in moments of stark contrast, but when that feeling of alignment clicks, it’s pure bliss. How to incorporate more of those moments every day is always a goal…

  • Jules

    Thanks, that is a really interesting insight Sarah. I know advice in books on the paleo AIP approach, always emphasise the importance of mind care too. Meditation is brilliant for mental health, particularly anxiety. And why are we anxious? Hard to break the mould that has been engrained from year dot. Hard to be perfect. So many ‘shoulds’, particularly for women, although men have their fair share too. That feeling of dis-ease in the body is something I realised I’ve always felt….stemming from anxiety.. not good enough…

  • Vicki

    I don’t agree with this. I’ve had a severe autoimmune disease for nearly 9 years, requiring lots of drug therapy and infusions of antibodies. When I got it I was fifty, and was loving my life, which had had lots of bad times over the previous ten years. Why didn’t I become ill when my life was going badly? I put it down to hormonal changes due to menopause, but hormone therapy hasn’t helped it. My docs say that there is no known cause for what I have. I am in contact via the Internet with others who have the same disease and we can find no commonality in our lives which could have caused it. The winter before I got ill I had very bad bouts of flu, impossible to shake off. Earlier this year I had the same thing happen and now it seems my health is improving, I am trying to wean myself off the drugs and infusions to find out. But this is just my latest theory and will possibly be proven wrong, like my earlier one … Gluten free did not help me, neither did other natural therapies. Some diseases have no answer.

    • PS

      Thanks for sharing. While I can’t pinpoint what caused my AI, I know it probably started around puberty, but I too had a bout of fever (which at the time I chalked up to eating bad ice cream) which was unusually severe… and since then I lost my appetite and went downhill in terms of sickness. I wonder sometimes how these things kick off in different people.

      • Elle

        You have probably already looked into this, but I have a friend who experienced similarly peculiar and awful symptoms, and eventually discovered she had Lyme’s disease. Good luck, and I hope you both find a way to be well x

        • Lyme Disease is becoming more and more prevalent in Australia. A close friend has it and the treatment she’s had to endure has been AWFUL. Unfortunately, it’s only recognised in the US and other countries and not here in Oz.

  • PS

    Wow – hah – I’d always wondered if the nagging “never good enough” underlying incompleteness, self-hatred really caused me to be perennially unhappy, thus weak in terms of body’s robustness. And the funny thing is, the entire world thinks you’re deep, rich, wholesome, but you suffer and shrivel inside, while trying your best to nurture everyone else. And the funnier part is, despite knowing this, I still don’t know HOW to inculcate self-love into my life! :/

    This disconnect between who we are and who we’d love to be probably leads to loathing the rough draft that we feel we are. Theory of understanding yourself is so much easier than subconsciously accepting and loving who you are.

    • CC

      This resonated with me and brought me to tears – thank you.

  • Bianca Dye

    this is SOOOO me – really trying to just “sit” with how reading this has made me feel to be honest….very confronting & very NEEDED!! thanku SW 🙂 xxx

    • pleasure sweet. i hope you’re well….and self-caring ! x

  • Jane Scroggs

    A great post Sarah, thank you! I’ve not suffered from AI myself however I have suffered from years of debilitating, unexplained ‘women’s problems’. I’ve since learned that these chronic health issues are most often a sign of dis-ease with one’s self. In my case a spiritual healer helped me to clear my womb of past issues relating to pleasing others, limiting beliefs around how a woman should be. The feminine energy is so powerful and when liberated to flow as nature intended all these issues disappeared for me. I can absolutely see how loving yourself, living on-purpose and knowing your own power can put an end to AI once and for all!

  • Passy

    I read his book recently, and it really struck a chord – every problem we ever have is a self-love problem, he says. I think about this simple string of words often; it’s the distilling of all the books I’ve read, all the teachers listened to… and it resonates like a warm breeze in my ear, reminding me to be kind to myself, to learn from the bottom up, to align from the inside out. It’s not easy. But what more can you do than find a way to try, until the trying becomes practice, and the practice becomes belief, and your belief charges your emotions, and your emotions heal yourself, and on.

    • A warm breeze in the ear…it’s the opposite of the scratchy dis-ease, isn’t it!

    • Kelly

      I love that last sentence!

  • Sophie

    Hi Sarah, I know you do meditation , but have you tried Mindfullness ?
    It’s a good way of acknowledging those negative thoughts and then letting them go somewhere else , instead of ignoring them completely.

  • Richie

    As a partner of someone with chronic
    illness, this is an extremely offensive article. I certainly don’t question the
    psychological problems that can arise from attempting to reflect unrealistic
    social norms – something which women have to deal with far more greatly than men –
    but to publish an article founded on the idea that ‘self-hatred causes
    autoimmune disease,’ is utterly ridiculous. You are ignoring the fact that the
    chronic illnesses you are discussing are actual,
    physical ‘diseases’, not some self-constructed psychological pain that
    comes from self-hatred. Framing female chronic pain as purely psychological, perpetuates
    the gendered notion that women’s pain is ‘just all in their heads.’ In doing so,
    you are blaming women for their own pain and further undermining their social
    recognition that’s needed for it to be accepted and researched. Spirituality
    may be a good way to deal with chronic pain, but don’t publicise offensive and
    dangerous ideas about women’s chronic pain that makes people think this pain is
    just a figment of their imaginations.

    • Rocky Lewis

      I don’t know many humans who don’t suffer from self doubt and a degree of anxiety in our hectic modern times. And so, this theory seems weak at best. Might as well say drinking coffee causes Lupus. Oh my God! I drink coffee! I have Lupus! Doesn’t make them related. And I agree this article feeds into the medical establishments bias that women dominant health issues are due to The “little ladies” stress and hysteria. BS. Why is my Lupus now under control after 9 years of stable medication. My self hatred levels have remained constant. My Plaquenil and blood levels, however, need monitoring regardless of stress. And haut because stress affects a person’s immune system does not mean stress makes you have Rhematoid Arthritis or 100% blockage of a major heart artery.

    • EKougi

      Whilst I don’t share @Richie’s level of indignation, I do want to add that autoimmune diseases affect a much greater demographic than the scope of this article. It affects children, teenagers, the elderly, men, women, dogs, cats, etc.

      If you are looking for answers to the causes of AI then you’ll need to examine beyond your own, personal idea of AI.

      Having said that, I do believe managing an AI requires paying attention to your body, testing theories on what makes you better or worse and keep exploring the possibilities. All of this requires patience.

      • Fair point. However, the vast majority of AI sufferers are women.

      • Guest

        Thanks a lot, Sarah, for your honest and valuable article, which I relate a lot to. Just to add to this thread – Louise L Hay’s famous books (such as ‘You Can Heal Your Life’) talk of how negative thoughts and emotions are at the bottom of ALL disease – although many people might disagree at first since these ‘ingrained beliefs’ are often largely unconscious. Yet instead of adhering strictly to
        Louise L Hay’s list of which thoughts are behind which disease, I believe that each person probably has their own, individual mix of ‘core beliefs’ that interact with environmental and genetic factors, which then produce an individual set of outcomes. Mindfulness of the body (‘scanning’ the body in meditation) is certainly one way of locating tension/pain in the body, and when ‘feeling into’ this tension/pain, you can feel one or even several emotions that is ‘held’ underneath. By relaxing and breathing into the pain/tension and allowing yourself to feel it fully, it will (often) gradually dissipate. Core
        Energetics (or the similar bio energetics) therapy has been incredibly helpful for me personally, but I believe any body-based therapy is a great place to start for healing negative core beliefs. I also love The Paleo Mum’s website and books for science-based understanding of auto-immune disease and dietary healing plans.

        • Inga

          Ops – didn’t mean to post this twice. Tried to delete but cannot. Would you delete this please, Sarah? Thank you!

      • Inga

        Thanks a lot, Sarah, for your honest and valuable article, which I relate a lot to. Just to add to this thread – Louise L Hay’s famous books (such as ‘You Can Heal Your Life’) talk of how negative thoughts and emotions are at the bottom of ALL disease – although many people might disagree at first since these ‘ingrained beliefs’ are often largely unconscious. Yet instead of adhering strictly to Louise L Hay’s list of which thoughts are behind which disease, I believe that each person probably has their own, individual mix of ‘core beliefs’ that interact with environmental and genetic factors, which then produce an individual set of outcomes. Mindfulness of the body (‘scanning’ the body in meditation) is certainly one way of locating tension/pain in the body, and when ‘feeling into’ this tension/pain, you can feel one or even several emotions that are ‘held’ underneath. By relaxing and breathing into the pain/tension and allowing yourself to feel it fully, it will (often) gradually dissipate. Core
        Energetics (or the similar bio energetics) therapy has been incredibly helpful for me personally, but I believe any body-based therapy is a great place to
        start for healing negative core beliefs. I also love The Paleo Mum’s website and books for science-based understanding of auto-immune disease and dietary healing plans.

    • Hi Richie, I do hope you’ve read my other posts on AI and how I deal with my own disease. You’ll see this post is one of many ideas I explore. Also, please note, I pose the idea as a question.

      • Fiona

        Thanks Sarah, I feel you give a very balanced, insightful & thoughtful approach to the many factors that may be part of AI / Chronic illness / inflammation. Richie, Sarah’s question is powerful, and we are getting more and more evidence of how our thoughts and emotions affect our physical well-being. Humans are a complex integrated system of psychological, physical, spiritual, mental, emotional aspects – and they do affect each other. Raising the question and bringing awareness to something that may be unconscious is one of Sarah’s gifts – thank you.

      • Maree

        “Self-hatred causes autoimmiune disease, which, boiled down, is the body attacking itself.”
        This is not a question- you made a statement.

      • Kitty

        “So how to heal? With self love.” That doesn’t leave much room for you to suggest your article does not imply that self love is the cure to chronic illness. You didn’t “explore” the idea, you shared your conclusions on the question you titled the article with.

        • Anj Fabian

          Heal with self love?

          That’s such a straight line….

      • arthritic chick

        YOu did not pose a question. YOu have stated that ALL autoimmune disease is caused by self loathing and can be cured by self love. You are a dangerous, stupid woman. Hashimotos is about hte most minor AI there is. If you took your medication, you wouldn’t suffer. There are FAR worse diseases – real, physical diseases, lupus, MS, RA, type 1 Diabetes. Would you like a type 1 person so shun insulin and just love themselves more? Oh yes, they will die, but wahtever. At least they loved themselves. Write about your anxiety, write about self love, that’s well and good. DO NOT tie it to serious diseases that require MEDICAL TREATMENT. People like you KILL people. The least harm you are doing is ‘victim blaming’. Now everyone will tell me that I can cure my RA and Lupus and Hashies by loving myself more. What i need is support and understanding and help when my disease is so severe that I can’t walk. When my kidneys are failing. When my eyesight is finally completely destroyed. You know NOTHING about AI disesase. Hashimotos is ridiculously simple to treat. TAKE your meds!

        • Kristobel

          Whilst I, like Arthritic chick and others, seriously question the idea that self hatred causes AI conditions, I would like to comment that I have Hashi’s and I take my meds…and it is proving anything but simple to treat. Possibly because, like many people with Hashi’s I have other AI conditions like lupus loitering, but also because everyone’s AI condition can be so unique to treat. Dismissing one as minor and easy to treat dismisses the very real, life-altering suffering of those with that disease…and don’t we have enough medical professionals already doing that to us?

          • arthritic chick

            I apologise for saying that hashis is ridiculously easy to treat – bad choice of words. Hashimotos is generally a less serious condition than Lupus or many other autoimmune diseases. Lumping them all together is just wrong, on every level, because while they are all autoimmune, that’s generally where the similarity ends. I’m sorry that your hashimotos is not easy to get under control. But yes, its probably the lupus that’s making you feel terrible, rather than the hashis. I have that too, along with several others. The symptoms overlap and interact. Its hard to know where one ends and the next begins. But if you still feel fatigued etc, its probably the lupus, not the hashis. And if it is the hashis, are you on thyroxine? I.e. T4 only treatment? T3 is the active hormone in the body, and some people do not convert the T4 to T3 in the body, and need a combination of T4 AND T3 treatment. It’s worth looking into, if you haven’t already. It may help you feel better. There is a scientific basis to this, although many doctors are slow to adopt it, this is changing.

      • .Concerned

        Get real Sarah – there is no question-mark on the statement in red -You make a claim that self hatred causes autoimmune disease. Thanks Richie for your statement. My autoimmune problems with Rheumatoid Arthritis started after a bout of shingles and has progressed over two years , I have always been someone with a positive attitude and presence in the world , have done yoga for 20 years and am very comfortable and happy to be who I am . Having a supportive and loving family is the buffer and antidote to coping with this cruel disease and modern drugs are the only reason I am back on my feet. This classic tactic of blaming the victim is so destructive , anyone reading these blogs needs to explore a proper diagnosis and medical care – not assume your health problems are self inflicted . Thought the dark ages were over …

    • Emma

      Hey Richie,
      The term “psychosomatic” is perhaps a better explanation (and I think it’s what Sarah meant by the article) – the term as I understand it is discussed at length by Dr. Sarno in relation to chronic pain. I have suffered from chronic RSI, and currently believe my health problems to be linked to, or in a way “pre-Autoimmune”, if I don’t get my diet and lifestyle together fast.
      So I get what you’re saying and why you’re upset. Understanding psychosomatic illnesses really helped me. It means that the symptoms, which are absolutely physically real – no question – have an underlying emotional or psychological cause, IN ADDITION to diet and lifestyle factors. It isn’t saying that the pain is “all in your head”.. definitely not. Often, the psychological cause is buried deep in the unconscious, and takes a lot of work to uproot. Just wanted to add this because you seem very upset, understandably – there are so many dimensions to illness, one of which can be psychological, while the symptoms are absolutely real and not (consciously) intentionally created by the patient. All the best to you and your partner.

      • arthritic chick

        My disease is NOT psychosomatic. And I agree totally with Richie. I am seriously ill – physically ill – and I am sick of people suggesting I can just ‘think positive and love myself’ and I’ll get better. There are might be people for whom this is true..but not me. For those of us that that are actually physically sick, your article blames us and doesn’t help at all!. In fact its very hurtful. I’m sure that’s not your intent, but its the end result. And Sarah, I haven’t read your whole blog. Do you take medication for your thyroid disease?

      • alex3619

        I understand that attitudes include self loathing can severely impact quality of life. It can also result in poor choices of responses.

        What I do not agree with is any claim whatsoever to autoimmune disease being psychosomatic. Its profoundly physical.

        Since Charcot formalized the definition of hysteria in the mid nineteenth century these claims have been made for disease after disease. Number proven right … zero. Number proven wrong … many, many, many.

        Such as tuberculosis, epilepsy, both types of diabetes, breast cancer, all cancers, lupus (yes, its physical), rheurmatoid arthritis, gastric ulcers, many genetic disorders, many cases of poisoning, and on and on and on.

        I have had a challenge out there. If psychosomatic illness is so supported by science we can claim its real, please cite one disease which has been solidly demonstrated by scientific studies to be psychosomatic. Name just one paper!

        So far there has only been one reply, and the paper cited did not even address the question.

        In all of history not one disease or defined syndrome has been substantially shown to be psychosomatic. Its all psychobabble.

    • Sam


    • Kitty

      Clearly this man here did not self love too much as a teen so blindness was not given the curse of blindness-glad he sees clearly, speaks wisely and supports positively….I’m lucky like your partner and have a man who loves and supports me as you clearly do your partner-thank you for showing great care, compassion and support to us chronically Ill women who despite having a healthy level of love towards ourselves(not all day every day but overall its positive!) continue to battle against conditions no amount of medical or philosophical treatments seem to rid us of. Xx

    • Jonathan

      Thank you Richie for saying what I hope many are thinking. Every person applauding this as a great post depresses me further. There is no underlying science or research behind this article. Correlation does not equal causation. Type 1 diabetes (an auto-immune disease) is diagnosed in babies and toddlers – what, they loath themselves too? If only they loved themselves a little more their pancreatic islets would grow back and not be destroyed by their immune system?

      I applaud being positive about yourself and think it can be a great help in life – but to associate it with auto-immune disorders based on the flimsiest of assumptions is downright dangerous, not to mention offensive to sufferers since you are assuming they all hate themselves. Science does not have all the answers – but at least scientists go about asking the questions and seeking the answers in a more rational manner than this article!

  • B

    It totally makes sense! All I have to say is “Thank you!” It feels like I was waiting for someone to tell me it is OK to self-love and give to myself not just others.

  • Elle

    I have long suspected this… that all those powerful, heavy emotions we feel have to go somewhere, and if not out into the world to be released then where else but back into the body? There is a quote I love which seems to encapsulate this process perfectly:

    “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

    I often think of this in terms of creativity – letting that deep internal well of creativity flow forth, but I think it applies to life generally. It’s a reminder to feel things deeply, not to bottle up or internalize emotions that will fester inside you like a sickness, month after month and year after year. Acknowledge the feelings swirling within you, decode the messages they bring, make changes if need be and – either way – let them leave you, let them save you.

  • mw

    Would need to speak to you about this stuff in person .. It’s too deep and I’m busy. Will go back and re-read because you are getting close to the core of who we are and the best and worst of our current ZeitGeist. I’m going swimming !

  • T

    Yes. AI for 22 years. My current holistic doctor consistently tells me that I won’t heal until I love myself. Unfortunately that’s a massive blocker :/

    • Pip

      My fully qualified endochronologist tells me to keep taking the insulin that keeps me alive and to regularly check my blood glucose, and that hopefully technology and medical advances in the future can help cure me.

      Love isn’t going to make a stitch of difference to my having had Type 1 Diabetes since 1988 when I was 5.

  • Guest

    Brought me to tears Sarah!

  • Brooke Daley

    Brought me to tears Sarah! I’m AI all over, I only started getting well when I started soul searching- now the anxiety is just a memory.

  • Anita

    This is so true, Sarah! I am glad that an open dialogue can be started and shared. I have personally discovered that the strong connection between deep seated self hatred and autoimmune disease. The mind body connection exists and most chronic autoimmune illnesses are a physical manifestation of deep seated emotional and psychological abuse or neglect in our childhood. This can stem from the treatment by our caregivers during the early few years of our lives, or during our formative years. Often caregivers may not be aware of the damage they caused and perhaps it was not intentional, but the loathing and self hatred can often be traced back in our memories to negative comments made to us by mothers and fathers, or those close to us with influence, during our sensitive and tender years of forming our sense of self and self worth. And usually it is persistent, long term negative reinforcement that tips the human psyche over to physical illness. As a lawyer, I have noticed that victims of childhood abuse and neglect (whether it be emotional, physical) or children with parents with various illnesses/issues themselves, will go on to develop either mental health issues or physical chronic illness which baffles the medical establishment as to treatment and cause (eg anorexia, lupus etc). As children, we are at the mercy of our caregivers to reflect their value of us and give us our self worth, so when this does not happen properly, children do not learn to love their own essence but are taught by the perhaps unwitting parents to loathe their “self”.
    This is another reason to address parenting and care issues on an emotional level, as simply loving, being supportive of, caring about and valuing children and people is great healer indeed.
    I have found that a major step towards healing chronic autoimmune disease is to learn to value, accept and love your self, find out what you are good at, focus on the positive aspects of your “self,” try and block out the negative voices from the past (I know, this is a hard one!). When you are overwhelmed by negativity and hostility, particularly as a child (even if it was not physical), it can be hard to learn that you are a loving, valuable human being with a huge capacity to love and create.
    Absolutely agree that self loathing and anger caused my autoimmune disease. Happy that we can be open and share this as.
    I would love more dialogue on this issue so children can be aware and we can help guide and prevent developing physical illness from stemming from emotional problems. Even weight problems (either anorexia or obesity) is often a sign of emotional problems usually stemming from past abuse issues.
    Happy to discuss this with anyone who may wish to continue the dialogue…
    Love and light to you xx

    • Dear Anita,
      I absoultely agree with every singlke word you wrote here!
      Would love to connect to you and talk more 🙂

  • Taffy

    Oh my goodness! I really responded to your comment: “Sometimes I sit and really feel what’s behind a flare up. The
    only feeling there, behind the pain and shitiness, is a cringy,
    self-fladulating, forward-lunging anxiety. It’s always there, whatever
    the flare. The same feeling.” Thank you for putting my thoughts into words! 🙂

  • $44923

    I’m the happiest I’ve been in years and years. I feel attractive, loved, happy and hopeful. And my colitis is out of control. I wish I could just enjoy this time.

  • Absolutely love this, Sarah, and could not agree more. Just brilliant! xx

  • Emma Sternberg

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Sarah! I practice as a Kinesiologist and treat a lot of AI – and unfortunately my clients are just getting younger and younger. One of my most recent CFS clients is just 14 years old.. As Kinesiology looks at the mind and body connection, I have always been taught and understood AI as “the body attacking itself” and one of my questions I always ask is “what’s your attitude towards yourself?” – particularly when it comes to AI, including skin diseases. It’s such an important part of the healing process. I’ll be sharing this post asap.

    Just to be particularly freaky, you popped into my mind last week and I wondered if you were examining/healing the emotional side as well – random!

  • juliannetaylor

    I’m sorry – but I completely disagree with you. Anxiety may contribute to auto-immune disease and in my observation causes it to be far more problematic in some people – but to say the way we beat ourselves up causes it – that’s like putting the cart before the horse. It is looking for a cause because there just has to be. I’m a pretty chilled person, not an A type personality, nor an AI personality – whatever that is. Maybe the women sitting in the front row writing notes are the A type personalities with AI disease doing what they always do – going full out looking for an answer. What about all the women with AI sitting at home chilling in front of TV, not looking for an answer, but taking the pills the doctor prescribed? So me – I have auto-immune diseases, hashimotos and joint inflammation. My anxiety did not cause them. My mother has the same joint stuff. My very anxious sister has nothing. I was fed numerous courses of antibiotics as a kid, I have the gene for celiac, who knows what caused the hashis. It was discovered completely by accident – I had no symptoms.

    Sure – If I’m anxious the symptoms get worse, but I relax, I don’t overly push myself, I sleep well, I eat well, I exercise I treat myself well. Thinking that I bought this on myself – is just self blame and another way to beat myself up – something I am not going to do. I have these – my job is to treat myself well so that the auto-immune issues stay where they are – symptomless.

    • Lea Krz

      Hi Julieannetaylor,
      Given your story, wondering if you’ve looked in to ‘mercury toxicity’? Genetic predisposition involved given your mother’s story and sister’s anxiety? Ie. genetic predisposition to mercury sensitivity, rather than the symptoms themselves, which are brought about by the mercury.
      Dr “Andrew Hall Cutler ” provides a way of cheaply and effectively determining this. He advocates the only safe & correct mercury removal technique available (he only sells self-written books, no supplements or snake oil!) – frequent, low dose chelation (per pharmaceutical half-life), and is the way to go.
      Many symptoms in the few posts I’ve read so far simply scream mercury toxicity.
      I only found the abovementioned info out due to my son’s circumstances (backed by University Professor in Melbourne)….and over a few years he is defying the contents of his many medical/psychological reports!
      Years of research, thousands of dollars spent, banging down of doors for answers and it has all paid off!
      Cheapest and most effective treatment.
      Google symptom profile for mercury toxicity…
      Oh, and yes, he has awesome self-esteem, no longer depressed or severely anxious.
      All the best to you and others!

  • Jane

    I don’t believe self hatred gave me rheumatoid arthritis. In my case, the debilitating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis appeared around 6-8 weeks after childbirth. I have three children and it happened every time. For me, RA goes away when pregnant. I have now put RA into remission by staying off inflammatory foods eg. sugary/starchy food, dairy, gluten, nightshades and eating/drinking lots of greens and fish oil. Hope that gives some hope for recovery to any new mums with RA.

  • Christopher Michael

    Hi Sarah, this is a good article and its important for ‘everyone’ to be loved on a deep spiritual level. As someone who works with natural fertility I come up against autoimmune dis-ease or underlying issues that will lead to autoimmune disease in 80% of cases of infertility. What I have found in every case there is at least 3 triggers and yes you are very correct that emotional distress is almost always one of them. The others are mental, physical and spiritual. By looking at what’s ‘really’ going on and addressing those issues food intolerance, immune system hypersensitivity, and autoimmune disease usually disappear and the people naturally become fertile again. I’ll be sure to read your other articles. Thank you

  • Lucy

    I have no doubt that the mind and body are inextricably linked but I don’t agree with this way of thinking about AI disease. My mother has an AI disease as a result of an antibody. That antibody was passed on to my sister (who will likely develop an AI disease later in life) and caused me to have a congenital heart defect. My sister and I were diagnosed at birth – before we could ever learn to hate ourselves! Antibodies, not self-hatred are to blame and thankfully, science is developing ways to stop these antibodies from being passed on, so hopefully my family’s history of AI disease will be able to stop with my sister regardless of self-love/hate.

    • Lucy, I believe my AI is partly hereditary, too. My grandmother had Hashimotos too. She also suffered incredible anxiety. Which I believe is also hereditary. Which comes first? And does it matter if addressing the anxiety can help heal?

      • mg

        As someone with Hashimoto’s, I believe that you have it back to front. The anxiety is just another symptom caused by he disease. I have a happy life & love myself and my life. While I do feel better about myself when I eat a healthy diet & exercise regularly, none of this changes the fact that I have this condition, not does it change the amount of medication I am required to take in order to treat it.

      • arthritic chick

        How about your own self hate and the hashies are totally unrelated Sarah? Correlation does not prove causation. You’re just giving reason for lots of sick people to blame themselves…or have other people blame them for being unfortunately enough to suffer a disease that likely a combination of environmental and genetic factors. According to science. You know, science? Have you heard of that?

  • Alli

    Have you read the book Mind over Medicine by Lissa Rankine? It talks about this exact thing. When we are constantly looking outside ourselves for the next thing that will ‘fix’ us, so often we forget to look inside. It’s crazy how much control our minds have over our bodies, sometimes even subconsciously. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Sheralee Angel

    Thanks for sharing Sarah, your timing could not be more perfect xx

  • CJ

    WOW this just hit me like a tonne of bricks… YES!! Thank you Sarah 🙂 Now to work on how to love me again

  • Kate

    It’s never seemed like a coincidence that I’ve spent the majority of my life attacking myself and I have a disease which makes my body literally attack itself. That you for publishing this this, it made me feel sad, but hopeful, and a lot less alone.

  • Oranges

    This is such an interesting take on AI disease. I really wonder if perhaps this disease has a psychological origin. I know there are studies that have shown that people can trigger white blood cells in their blood stream simply by being told to imagine fighting off an illness. It’s very possible that our mind and thoughts are influencing our body much more than we previously assumed.

  • Tamara Armstrong

    Ok yep! Personally I can make this connection. While we may never know our exact triggers, I think this could have been a big one for me. I’m constantly reflecting on my past (which I equally love and hate to do) and this has crossed my mind. I’m guilty of letting my soil become lifeless dirt! Damn self doubt! Even if it was only brief (but quite sporadic), it certainly couldn’t have helped. Thanks always for your insight Sarah and your commitment to searching, questioning and sharing all AI related matters. Xx

  • Rosy

    The mind and body are intricately connected. Of course it’s possible…
    Nicely put Sarah 🙂

  • Amazingly insightful & fabulous article – thank you Sarah. It is IT isn’t it.

  • Enoughbullshitalready

    Sometimes people get sick. Happy people, sad people, stressed people, care-free people. Young children develop AI. Babies can die of cancer. Illness and health are wired into our DNA. Please, lets not get too metaphysical on illness. I call this first 1st world thinking – sitting in our pretty homes, drinking purified water and eating organic apples – we are all soooo stressed and self hating – really???

  • Great, thought provoking post. But self love.. such an overused word and yet we know deep down it is so necessary and yet so illusive.

    Yesterday I listened with great interest to the self discovery, work and eventual remission one woman found in order to heal her own autoimmune disease. I do not suffer myself, but I know only too well the impact and burden needing to be perfect or needing to please others or worrying too much places on our health. It was a light bulb moment and yet it wasn’t, it seems obvious. But we ignore the mind body connection as if they are separate entities when in fact so intimately intwined. Here is a link to Shannon’s website and the film she made about her journey to recovery. https://www.theconnection.tv/
    Sarah, I hope you don’t mind me leaving the link.. but it may help many of your readers.

  • ohmy

    One flaw in your theory, what about babies with AI conditions? I know of a number of very young onset children, one was 6 weeks old on diagnosis of RA. Are you suggesting self loathing at birth?

  • Maybe not self loathing, or self hatred but a stress epidemic

  • bec

    I have recently found out that one of the main reasons for my Crohn’s constantly flaring is due to over production of cortisol in my body. This stems from an unconscious pattern of trying to please everyone and the stress and anxiety that comes from this! As much as I think I’m not stressed and don’t care… Eating well and taking al the right medications and supplements has gotten me so far…

  • Selena

    thanks Sarah – I really needed to read this today 🙂

  • David M MacGregor

    A wonderful post. Thanks Sarah

  • Arabella Forge

    Thank you Sarah – A really beautiful, heartfelt column. Bless you, Arabella (from Melb) XX

  • Tino

    I got on this blog by accident and would totally agree with what’s being stated above – and extend the thesis on men as well 😉 It’s also something I witnessed in everybody I’ve met with an autoimmune disease: some inner conflict that has not been overcome yet. I truly believe that this is the reason for and simultaneously the key to curing this kind of self-attacking disease.
    Nice to read something in compliance with my own thoughts ! 🙂

  • Danielle

    I had always read that autoimmune disease could be caused by traumatic events in ones life, which I suppose boils down to stress/anxiety. I have had symptoms of lichen sclerosis since my father moved away unexpectedly at age 15/16 and I had to move in with extended family. Soon after he passed away. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 21 when my boyfriend at the time cheated on me and I decided to move out. Which led to another move…This article is very interesting! Thanks for posting. xo

    • arthritic chick

      Huge difference between a stressful event in your life bringing on an autoimmune disease and ‘self hatred’. Huge. Its medically accepted theory that some autoimmunes reveal themselves after a stressful event. But these events are often things that happen TO people, not caused by their own self hate.

  • lucy

    “…there’s always a sneaking feeling that it’s more than the gluten or the toxin or the hereditary predisposition. Right?” Hit the nail on the head, Sarah. I have Graves’ disease and although I have gradually changed my lifestyle (diet, especially sugar thanks to you, reducing stress etc. etc.) and my thyroid antibodies have dropped from over 600 to 0, I haven’t yet been able to go in to remission and deep down I know why. Thank you for sharing. Your post couldn’t have come at a more poignant time. A very evocative read.

  • Kelly Reed

    Thank you so much for this post. Two years ago, after graduating from college, moving to a new (huge) city and returning from living abroad, I stopped being able to digest gluten and broke into full-body hives almost every three months, with no clue why. I experienced this, along with compulsive eating patterns, for 2 years before realizing it was all coming from the same source: self-hatred and overwhelming anxiety. You put into words what I’m still trying to. <3

  • phil

    This also applies to men. What’s with the women only anxiety club?

  • Peter

    This suggests to me an idea along the same lines that is often overlooked when it comes to immune system problems.
    The all too common feeling of powerlessness in modern society.
    Immune system function is very influenced by a sense of control.
    If one feels challenged in this regard due to events the level of cortizol rises and the capacity of the immune system to function is compromised. It applies to women as well as men and is behind many cancers, heart diseases and other illnesses.
    One has to feel powerless to hate oneself.

  • Hey Sarah, I first found your site when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Like you, I tried so many treatments in my healing efforts. Some worked better than others.
    I was hell bent on healing my body, and so I invested heavily in my health. I did my own research and didn’t take the word of the GP as gospel.
    Luckily for me I already had both yoga and Kinesiology in my life. My Kinesiologist at the time referred me to another Kinesi practitioner who had herself, had Hashimoto’s and had recovered from the condition.
    Now, I don’t know what you know about Kinesiology but it’s a form of energy healing that works with the meridian system but also with clearing trapped thoughts, feelings and emotions in the body. I like to say: imagine a kink in your vacuum cleaner hose. As long as it’s there, it doesn’t work as effectively as it can. If that blockage has negative thoughts, emotions or feelings trapped there, they can’t be released. And there’s nothing more toxic to the body than holding onto (consciously on subconsciously) negative thoughts etc!
    Curiously, as we worked on healing my thyroid, EVERYTHING kept pointing back to the various traumas I’ve lived through in my life. Hint: many people with AI have a history of trauma, or even ancestral trauma, which predisposes them to anxiety, depression and AI. Personally I’m the 3rd generation in my family to experience PTSD.
    Each time my Kinesiology sessions revealed another layer of “stuff” to clear, and slowly over time my health returned to me. Then at the beginning of 2013, my blood tests all came back in the normal range.
    Look, there’s a lot to unpack and explore as to how all of this can be possible with Kinesiology – why and how it works.
    But suffice to say that I fell in love with Kinesi so much so that I became a qualified practitioner myself, and have since had the pleasure of assisting others who also have AI, depression, anxiety and trauma.
    And I think the most impressive and telling thing is this: since I started my studies, I’ve never had more than a headache in terms of illness. And remember, I was initially diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and early in my diagnosis I could barely get off the couch, and would regularly be hijacked by the overwhelm of brain fog, hyper-sensory awareness and all the rest. I’ve even been able to completely ween off thyroxine and manage with good quality supplements, Kinesi and yoga/meditation.
    I know some people have commented that you’re blaming people for their illness, but it’s so not about that.
    Here’s what I’ve learned: as I mentioned, some of us have a predisposition for hypersensitivity due to genetic changes that occur when trauma is sustained and not cleared from the physical and energetic body. Which means those people are much more likely to develop nervous disorders if triggered. And those nervous disorders sometimes turn into AI conditions. Also, sometimes trauma can be highly suppressed and we don’t even know we’re living with trauma!
    All of this translates to negative emotional programming in our bodies. This runs as a subconscious pattern that can be challenging to access and clear. Which is what Kinesiology is amazing at doing.
    I’m going to stop here for now but I intend to write a blog post or two on my own site regarding this topic!

  • Mashley

    I really enjoyed this read. I am 28 yr, perfectionist, with an a-type personality (although I sat at the back of the class), who is an executive director of a non-profit. To my dismay, last year I was diagnosed with the first stage of MS – an autoimmune disorder. Living up to my own standards has always been impossible – perfect is never enough, and I constantly second guess my decisions and my emotional reactions to situations. At this time I am living symptom free (my stage of MS is likely remitting/relapsing). I have given up gluten & dairy (which can be MS triggers) but it felt like there must be something else there that’s deeper. I know stress can be a trigger but I’ve never thought about the stress I put on myself to live up to unrealistic expectations and to try and please everyone around me. This is a great topic to ruminate on – I know that self-love is important but I’ve never thought of it as something that could help me manage and even possibly prevent the progression of this disease. Thanks again for posting this.

  • Megan

    Omgosh Sarah, I just had a lightbulb moment. I have Crohn’s disease and this is so true. When I’m feeling down about myself or my looks, my Crohn’s is always worse. Thankyou for this article. It was the light that I needed. X

  • Stephanie Nuttall

    another way to blame the illness on the person .oh you just need to love yourself and you will be al better .are you kidding ? men get autoimmune also I notic you did not acuse them of not loving themselves .and its not just A type who get it .

  • lisa

    really touched a nerve for me with this one. And now I am 50 living in Italy with young children, I don’t speak the language and I am constantly anxious, nervy, run down, and struggling putting everyone else first. It’s all coming at me from every side, and they all tell me it’s just menopause kicking in. I know it’s more than that, yep some TLC for me from me, I love that analogy of the earth…..thanks xx

  • lisa

    PS I don’t suffer from auto immune, and have no chronic illness just an overall feeling that something isn’t right. I mean no disrespect to those suffering illnesses and reading the comments below I see how this could be taken the wrong way. As with anything take what works for you and put the rest to the side x

  • Elizabeth

    An amazing post Sarah! I suffer from ibs, and whereas a lot of my symptoms seem to be caused by certain foods, etc, I find my biggest flares happen in times of major anxiety and stress. Since I’ve addressed this in my life through yoga and meditation, sometimes I can go months and months without any ibs issues. There is something to be said about the mind-body connect and the influence our emotions have over our physical health.

  • Maggie

    Painfully true, and surprisingly comforting to see the label put on it. My AI issues only started after the death of a dearly beloved animal, tied in with my feelings of responsibility, making the grief that much harder to cope with. I thought I finally had things under control, but allowed myself to go past the safe point of resiliency earlier this year. Cue self preservation mode, which when broken by the loss of another loved one and acknowledging the emotions, resulted in a more severe flare than ever before. Trying to nurture the emotional side and be kinder to myself, but the physical pain is escalating and wearing me down. Tears here too.

  • Hana D

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. Certainly we can all work on healing our souls as well as our bodies. But I have to disagree. There is a strong link between sex hormones, i.e., testosterone and estrogen, the gut microbiota, and AI disorders. http://www.hormonesmatter.com/hormones-gut-bacteria-autoimmune-disease/

  • S L Burns

    So, not ‘female self-hatred’. Anxiety, which explains why males and females have it.

  • Rachael Majka

    Wow, this is one of the most sexist, victim-blaming piles of garbage I’ve ever read with regard to health. Nothing like making people hate themselves more because they didn’t like themselves enough to keep themselves magically protected from physical harm. I feel profoundly sorry for you if you’ve bought into this.

  • Jennifer Lauro

    I notice that my negative comments have been removed. You are a disgrace blaming women this way. What are you so afraid of? Your thesis is misogyny at its core.

    • Hi Jennifer, we don’t delete or moderate comments at all, just so we’re clear. The only time a comment gets stopped is when it has a link in it – disqus thinks it’s spam – and we have to manually approve those.

  • LDH

    Anxiety is often a symptom of disease, not the cause. However, it can very much worsen the symptoms. Moreover, many people (women & men) get autoimmune diseases and suffer from depression. It is believed to be for 2 reasons. 1) People not supporting a often “healthy looking” person who is suffering & telling them it is all in their heads & 2) The part of the brain that senses pain & feels depression are right next to each other & probably interact. There is also a lot of scientific research that is very slowly being looked at by mainstream medicine that sees food & environmental chemicals & genetics causing these diseases. Changing one’s lifestyle to wholefoods & limiting chemical exposure has practically healed thousands of people. This same line of research has proven foods have a HUGE impact on anxiety. You say you’ve looked into foods to help heal you, but this blog shows you have never given it 100% go. I was saddened to see this blog. I think you meant well & if written differently could be helpful for people, but I think it is just another example of blaming the sick & trying to tell us it is all in our heads 🙁

  • Chelsea

    This phrase brought me a world of relief when I came across it the other day (and made me want to read East of Eden). Hope it helps you to.

    “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
    ― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

  • For everyone who’s been criticising Sarah for what she’s written, I’ve expanded a bit on the concept in a blog post yesterday. Part II is coming out later today.
    Part I is over here: http://www.returntosourcewellbeing.com/2014/11/19/autoimmune-disease-self-hatred-part/

  • So – in the light of the above … do you ever find yourself thinking “screw you guys, I’m going to chuck this all in and go live in a shack in the woods?”

    Or does the number of people you help through what you are doing outweigh all the anxiety provoking crap you cop every day (subtext: I don’t know how you do it!)

    • Treat it all like a tennis ball coming towards me, I move slightly and just watch it go by… no need to engage or react. xxx

      • Gotcha. Love it. Must give it a go!

        • Lynda

          It’s a shame we can lose decency and respect for persons in the most decisive of debates.I too like the tennis ball metaphor

      • arthritic chick

        So you refuse to learn anything Sarah. Very enlightened. No need to engage? Or react? You are right and that’s that, huh? Do you not understand that you are victim blaming? Everything you say is true of people suffering anxiety. I totally agree. BUT NOt everyone who as an AI suffers anxiety,, or ever did, or suffers self loathing. Tying it to AI diseases is SO wrong. People with invisible, serious diseases find it hard enough to be taken seriously without people like you making it worse. Read. Talk to some really sick people – not people with a minor case of hashies. Learn what its like to suffer from MS, RA, lupus, Crohns….and then edit this article to take the victim blaming out!

        • Sarah

          You need to calm the heck down! Sarah doesn’t have 100% of the answers and she doesn’t claim to, she posed a thesis – a thesis that obviously resonates with a lot of people who have different circumstances to you. Her thesis doesn’t resonate with you? Fine. Disagree, but no need to bring such venom in here to Sarah’s space. She isn’t victim blaming, and she certainly isn’t making light of some very serious diseases. That said, you obviously are making light by insinuating her ‘minor case of hashies’ is less important than your own troubles. Step away from the computer, get outside, and clear your mind.

          • arthritic chick

            She DOES claim to.And I am calm. She did not submit a ‘thesis’ Look it up. “Thesis: A thesis or dissertation[1] is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author’s research and findings”. There is no research here. There are no findings. It is opinion that she is trying to present as fact to generate debate, but she is hurting many people in the process and she doesn’t seem to care. As autoimmune diseases go, Hashimotos IS very minor. Compare it to MS, Type I diabetes, Crohns disease, RA, Scleroderma..I could go on and on. Google those. Learn about those diseases. Those disease can be life threatening. In the vast majority of cases Hashimotos is easily treated, once the correct dose of medication is found, through testing blood levels and adjusting medications, and talking to the patient about how they are feeling. Its not curable, because it needs to be monitored, but it is completely manageable and people have a normal life and normal life expectancy. It only becomes dangerous if people don’t treat the disease and don’t take their medications. The other diseases I mentioned are all FAR more serious. For Sarah Wilson to even COMPARE hashimotos to all the other autoimmune diseases out there, and lump them into one basket, well, that’s just ridiculous. People who have lupus and RA and crohns are treated with chemotherapy. Severe autoimmune disease is just one step down from cancer. Would you tell a cancer sufferer that they just need to love themselves more, rather than taking medication? There is no venom in my statement. That they got sick because they suffered self loathing? Her ideas can cause great harm. They ARE victim blaming. As I said, if she wants to postulate that anxiety is caused by a lack of self love, sure. Makes sense. If she wants to say that living with severe chronic pain is better with a positiive attitude and taking care of yourself, fine, do that too. But DO NOT ever try to say that it is the fault of a serious ill person that they are ill. In my case RA has attacked my joints, is destroying my kidneys and liver, is destroying my eyesight and attacking my heart and lungs. So yes, RA as a whole is a far more serious disease than Hashimotos. I am on chemotherapy, biologicals, corticosteroids…just to stay alive. Sarah Wilson is cutting out sugar and appears to shun medication. If you would READ, this is an opportunity to learn something. the key to wellness is not just self love – its GRATITUDE. You do not mention having an autoimmune disease. Can you not see that all the people who don’t have autoimmune diseases thing this is great, yet all of the people who are in and out of hospital, in constant pain, trying their best to fight horrible illnesses are trying to tell Sarah that she is WAY off the mark And WAY out of line. Anxiety – fine. Autoimmune – NO! Oh, and ‘different circumstances’? Yes, I have several autoimmune diseases, including hashies and it appears you do not. Tell me, next time you meet someone with Type 1 diabetes, are you going to tell them that their disease was caused by a lack of self love? And to put away their insulin, and just love themselves? Really? Because THAT is what Sarah Wilson is saying in practical terms. Please educate yourself. Learn about autoimmune diseases. Have compassion.

  • Bernice

    I completely believe what you are saying!!! I had to retire for medical reasons – RA – I am so much better now than when I was working in a completely negative environment where I was so belittled!!!

  • LouLou

    This certainly has some truth. I sometimes struggle with do I matter. I am single with no children and a lot of my friends and family have this and sometimes I feel like I don’t matter as I don’t have this. So I am not always being kind to myself. After reading this I will try harder.

  • JJ

    I loved the thoughts and agree with a lot of this, it’s impossible to live up to goals we’re setting for ourselves much of the time … but on the other hand also Coeliac Disease (and other AI’s) are hereditary. So surely the science/genealogy/DNA has to pay a larger part?

  • Rachel Kelly-Hall

    Any thoughts that go against your inner PEACE breaks down your defences. Change your ways to love yourself and see the good in yourself and others. Following your feelings and not your intellect. Being in control of your own life, is the spiritual growth that brings you PEACE of mind. Annette Noontil on the Immune System.

  • Sam

    Probably don’t show this shit to anyone with type 1 diabetes.

  • Ihaveabrain

    You’re an idiot and this is an insulting and irresponsible blog.

  • Jean Healy

    Interesting. I’ve long thought that I don’t lose weight because I use it as a barrier to keep people away. I feel that others are judging me for being overweight, therefore I am giving them something to judge me for? The “I’m not worthy” way of reasoning

  • Allison

    Wow. I don’t suffer from an AI myself but boy do I experience that overwhelming critical self-talk more often than not. Many things have helped in this regard but overall I’ve been most moved by self-acceptance. Regardless of all other factors this one has lead me to the most physical, emotional and spiritual peace. I love the quote “survival doesn’t go to the fittest but the most resilient”. This is definitely one I’m taking to heart. Thanks for this Sarah.

  • I once had a therapist comment that she was amazed at how I just kept going and looking for an answer to my “undiagnosable” neurological muscular disorder, she thought it was admirable that I didnt just give up (suicide or something else??)

    and it was when I discovered that I needed to a. change my diet and b. had Panchakarma Ayurveda treatment to detox, that my “disease” was actually all about making me give myself some attention, some love, focus on me for a change.

    I was an inappropriate caregiver and gave my care away too much, so I believe that my illness was about my body telling me to do some self care.

    And when I did do that on a profound level, then my illnesses were fixed. But it does take maintenance, because our physical issues are really our body telling us to pay attention to ourselves, self love, be present, be here and now. It took me 25+ years to figure it out, and I didnt give up because somewhere I knew I was worth it, and I could live without pain, and without the pills n potions.

    Thanks Sarah for a great share x

  • Guest

    Similarly, having a little cry over here. I lost six years in my twenties to CFS and so much of this rings true. Learning to tame the adrenaline and anxiety that fizzes inside has been my biggest challenge.

  • Maree

    Hi everyone,
    I’m wondering if the seeds for self dislike leading to AID starts off long before we start judging ourselves. Could it also be connected, in some cases to our parents? I’m the youngest of five children, I wasn’t planned and I’m sure my Mother was beside herself having another child.
    My Mum, although lovely was not the nurturing type. I didn’t have a connection with my Mum until much later on in life.
    I made a decision at a very young age that I would not have children. I was extremely shy as a child and full of anxiety. I believe those seeds were sown for me during my Mums pregnancy. Unwanted, a problem, financial burden, blah, blah, blah
    The physical AID symptoms showed up for me when I was 13 yrs old, I’m now 51, have not worked in 2years due to this debilitating illness and struggle with trying to explain to others what is actually the problem.

    Just a thought. Thanks for the post Sarah, very thought provoking.

  • Lynda

    Interesting and thought provoking! Angela Mollard touched on a speech by Gail Kelly in last weeks paper which I think fits. Gail spoke about lessons she has learn’t in her tenure as CEO and reflected on the importance of centering “on something more important: how you treat yourself”. She further stated ”you need a whole life” and pointed out people who had reached the pinnacle of their careers but this wasn’t enough. She stated “they have no interests, they’ve lost sight of who they are, their spirituality, their inner person”. Sarah I love your reflective, pondering mind. We as a society need to dig a bit deeper to understand where this self loathing, self hatred and lack of putting our needs as equal to others comes from. We need to start valuing our voices and the contribution we make. Thank you for sharing.

  • Yes

    Wow. This had just put into words many different ideas I have had before but have never ordered into such a simple explanation. I have always thought there has to be a link between trauma (this can look very different for everyone) and AI. I’ve based this on observations of friends. family members and also clients I’ve seen while working in social work/mental health.
    I had never pinpointed it as a result of self-loathing though but that sits right with me. I have many years of self-hatred (and disordered eating) behind me. Years after I thought I had resolved those issues I was diagnosed with Crohn’s. This explanation just fits. I’ve also explained crohns to a counsellor I saw as “my body attacking itself” and you can imagine how much a psychoanalyst clung on to that. I think it’s true though.
    Lots of people try to “cure” themselves of health issues by clinging to the perfect diet or exercise regime, but this in itself can be another form of striving for impossible perfection leading to more self-hatred.
    Good food for thought, thank you 🙂

  • Deb Chandler

    OMG this is me!!!
    I went to my natropath the other week, proud of myself cos I’d had no ‘bugs’ all winter. Guess who was laden up last week with the mother of all throat infection/flu/blah bugs! Was it cos I mozzed myself? cos i realised I’d not really ‘looked after myself’ all winter and i’d actually put on weight blah blah blah? I know how to heal myself, I just hadn’t done it!
    note to me – hug myself daily!
    thanks Sarah.

  • Tegan

    Ouch, this resonates. I’ve just received results pointing to an auto immune disease after battling with “unexplained” infertility for five years (as well as a host of glorious symptoms). Can anyone recommend holistic doctors/specialists practicing in this field? My gp has referred me to a rheumatologist.

    Thanks in advance and sending big love to all sufferer’sxx

  • Mandalou

    I recently saw a spiritual healer, as a last resort to my Hashimoto’s disease and associated conditions that were drowning me. Looking back on this – I should never have given so much power to the physicality of the what my body was experiencing. it is alway that we must treat the cause, not the symptoms. The healer actually said to me at my second visit ‘You came into the room with a massive amount of physical problems and there just wasn’t any room for a higher solution’. I had known this all along, but the ever expanding advice and answers to every single aspect of the disease had taken over the whole show. I had been seduced and burdened by the totally overwhelming secondary solutions. My everyday was run by what to eat, how to be or not be. It is a wonder my body wasn’t mistaken for a plank of wood. My sister also pointed out the self hatred idea form Sadeghi’s work. I even ignored that. Since seeing the healer, i have dealt with one of the single most important aspects of my life – self love. I am still on the journey, but I have truly shifted, and I know this because the decisions and actions of my life have shifted into the realm of self love. Wow!!! I feel tears of joy as I write this. Everything is becoming clearer to me, and all the cells in body feel more peaceful. I know that in illness, the body is the last to show the signs, and I expect it will be the slowest to show that is has healed. With love to all.

  • Peter Boikowski

    The metaphysics behind an autoimmune dis-ease is ‘Self Hatred’ and attacking self. I take this one step further and call the foundation that ‘Self Hatred’ sits on as ‘Fragile Child Syndrome.’ My wife knows this well and has cleared her Hashimotos disease using an Energy Psychology system that we created called ‘Emotionally Resilient Consciousness.’ It gets into finding out the subconscious programming that causes the ‘Self Hatred, often inherited and learnt through life, that then becomes our own Auto Immune dis-ease, and clearing it using Kinesiology to diagnose the symptoms and the remedy. I’m still working through Diabetes which is also an Auto Immune dis-ease, but my HbA1c now showing improvement without medication. I’d love to help anyone that needs it.

  • L

    Sarah, such irresponsable comments. I felt sick reading it. You mat suffer self haterd, but I got an underactive thyroid at my happiest point ever, and my sister too. We inherited it. Why on earth are you spreading self blame and causing more self hatred in women… oh, must be my fault, i’m not good enough blah blah. Bull. Talk to a specialist in thyroid disease, it’s hereditary. Not caused by self hatred. I’ve noticed, a lot of your articles seem written to make women feel even more insecure than they are.

    I was born with asthma too- is that my fault? Did I hate myself in the womb? No. my dad had it. if someone gets leukemia is that their own fault? No! If someone has a dicky thyroid is that their own fault? No!!!!!!

    Please. Stop women blaming themselves for everything, and maybe, just maybe you’ll start helping women with their selk hatred rather than giving themselves even more to hate themselves about.

    If you take the correct dosage of thyroxine and take iron you will not have thyroid days. If you don’t, you’ll suffer crippling depression and frow a goiter. tere is no natural cure, i’ve searched high and low.

    Very irresponsable sarah, very irresponsable. Anyone thats reading this and has a thyroid condition- not your fault. Don’t listen to her.

  • Bris Vegas

    Self-loathing does not cause autoimmune diseases. They are both caused by immune dysfunction. Women have different immune functioning to men. This explains why women have higher rates of autoimmune diseases and psychiatric illnesses.

    Autoimmune diseases and psychiatric illnesses are also present in animals that are incapable of self-awareness and self-loathing.



  • L

    So you removed my comment.

    really? Are you that insecure that you can’t open a forum. Your words were mean to women, they really, really were.

    Getting sick is not caused by self when it comes to thyroid. bit of a coward not to leave the discussion open, but then, maybe in your self hatred- you need to spread it, because your article made me very angry at you and i don’t like being angry. it was an ignorant article spreading self loathing and self blame to women.

    shame on you sarah. by the way- i live in Byron, i’m healthy, happy and I have a slow thyroid.

  • L

    Apples- don’t blame yourself for being unwell. this lady does not know of what she speaks. Don’t cry- it’s not your fault!

  • Mick

    Try searching for
    Human Cytomegalovirus and Autoimmune Disease

    I think you will find that the cause of auto immune disease has now been identified and tested in the lab with animal models. While the causative agent has been identified (the virus), environmental stress still plays a role, much like getting run down activates cold sores. Both a cold sore and Cytomegalovirus are of the herpes family. Please investigate for yourself as the evidence is now in.

  • Jae

    For anyone who, like me, did not really know what self love consisted of, how to actually do it, I reccommend Kristin Neff’s work on self compassion http://www.self-compassion.org/ its really helpfully specific. (Eg, pat yourself on the back, hold yourself, stroke your face, put a hand on your heart, speak comforting words to yourself as you would to another. All so much more helpful than comfort eating and sweet treats, which was my pattern for so long.

    Jon Kabat Zinn’s mindfulness based stress relief programme is also tangentially helpful for letting go of self judgement, and as a doctor based in a hospital teaching meditation he’s also informative on new research showing the interconnection of mental and physical states.

  • Jane

    Sarah I have 2 auto immune diseases, under active thyroid and type 1 diabetes. I have to say I totally agree with you. I was incredibly unwell when diagnosed with thyroid issues. Years later type 1. (Thyroid is a walk in the park compared to type 1. It is a beast). I recently had a professional raise the link between self hatred and AI. Although i have come a long way, I do think it was a contributing factor. I was always very quick to attack myself with harsh self talk. The cells heard and began to do the same. Just my experience. By the way I wouldn’t be up the front taking notes. Somewhere in the middle so as not to stand out! . Thanks for all your great work.

  • DrFrustratedwithidiots

    Sarah…do you realise had you treated your Grave’s disease correctly from the start you’d have been fine and avoided everything that followed? It’s called medicine, we’re good at it. But then this article gathers more hits than “I got sick so I took my medication, had my surgery and got better”.

  • kim

    I have hashimotos. I take my medication as prescribed by my GP and get my levels checked regularly. The medication brings my levels back to normal. Therefore I am well. Easy.

  • Julia

    Thanks Sarah, this made me cry as well.
    I have inflammatory arthritis, which I have struggled with for about 4 years. I have spent so much time wondering what causes my “flares” and have been asked so many times by people what I think causes it. only with hindsight have I been able to look back and see that the times it has flared up has been when I have been the most hard on myself, feeling inadequate and anxious. it first started when I arrived in Italy for a university exchange, it flared up like no ones business during my first year in my first “office job”, and during other significantly (emotionally) stressful periods. I have been on trips overseas and been so relaxed and I have had no trouble. Funny isn’t it? I used to think it was so random. What a useful thing hindsight is.
    Even though I have to accept it will be something that may well plague me for the rest of my life, there is some comfort in knowing what “causes” it. it is somewhat liberating as weird as that sounds. this condition can act as a sort of ‘headlight’ for danger and a mirror for situations when I need to be taking more care for myself, or need to take a break, or change my job, relationships, thought patterns about myself.
    I have often thought how amazing it is how my body as it does when it produces the insane amount of fluid it does around my knee joint is literally and physically trying to fight off some (perceived) threat. arthritis is in essence the body attacking itself, but it is also, however misguidedly, trying to protect itself. my body is doing what it knows to protect me. and perhaps giving me a mirror and sending me a signal for self-awareness. Xx

  • LoveLife

    Self hatred is only one small part of it. And anxiety might cause a
    boat load of problems, but… what caused the anxiety. You haven’t
    ‘stepped back far enough’ to see the real causes of your issues.
    Mineral imbalances in your body, hidden metal toxicity, adrenal burnout
    etc these are where your problems lie. Take a looksie at
    mosesnutrition.com and also drlwilson.com A wealth of information that
    will change your life. Do a hair mineral analysis with Moses nutrition
    and you will find your answers 🙂

  • MJ

    Thank you Sarah. This article really resonated with me and it reflects exactly how I am feeling right now. As someone who has gone through 2 bouts of Graves Disease, in my gut I’ve always known it was periods of extreme stress that triggered the disease. My body has been reflecting my current mental state with GD symptoms, even though a recent blood test says my thyroid is functioning normally.

    I am a little shocked with some of the negative reactions. I saw the article as a personal observation and as encouragement that we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves, not as a view that sufferers always instigate their own illness. I appreciate and admire that you put yourself out there in the public domain with the intention of helping others. I have been feeling isolated and alone and reading this article and comments has genuinely helped me feel like I’m not suffering on my own.

    • Kirsty Forsberg

      MJ.. My heart goes out to you. I was diagnosed with Graves 11 years ago after a miscarriage. I was convinced to have my thyroid nuked with radio iodine and have had awful problems staying balanced ever since. I take synthetic thyroxine. Even when my blood tests are in the so called ‘normal’ range, I still have symptoms. I have come to terms with this. I have had a low stress threshold since I was a child and this is who I am. I now accept that my body cries for help, and I try and nurture it with nourishing food, enough sleep, love, fun, fresh air and meditation. Cutting out all sugars and grains has really helped. When my energy goes, and I feel burnt out, I indulge myself with a sofa and movie day. However you like to relax and treat yourself, do it and don’t feel guilty about it!
      Stay strong. You are definitely not alone x

  • Jo

    I think this could be a what comes first the chicken or the egg story. When I have a flare up I feel crap …this can lead to depression/ anxiety etc…im thinking you have the symptoms mixed up with the cause

  • Jayne

    Thanks for being so open and honest. I don’t have a disease as such but suffer from anxiety in a big way after sustaining a massive accident in April 2013 and now a paraplegic. I’m 42 yo married female. I’m interested in what Psychological techniques you suggest for use in anxiety? I’m into my third Psychologist but not getting much success. My main anxiety trigger is pain but also the guilt I carry in sustaining my accident. Whilst the other driver was 100 pc at fault, I still carry guilt which has made me suicidal. The guilt is not really the loss I have suffered but mainly the horrible circumstance for my family of being told by doctors that I was going to die on several occasions having several emergency surgeries to save my life.. I was brought back to life by the paramedics at the accident scene and was in ICU for 6 weeks in a deep coma. I’m really interested and need help in how to get the guilt out of my mind about feeling responsible for putting my family through a tragic and horrible 18 months? I simply hate myself.

  • Val Longmire

    I have been suffering with Graves for over 2 years – TT in May and now TED is wreaking havoc on my eyes. I do believe these auto immune diseases were triggered by something. I don’t believe I’m an “AI” type. My auto immune diseases were triggered after an horrific birthing experience with my son leaving with PTSD – with coincidently came with a tonne of anxiety. I think that is what triggered my condition, not having had any thyroid issue pre baby. That being said, I almost don’t recognise myself since the graves and TED – emotionally more than physically. (Although the additional 14 kgs I’ve put on since being on anti thyroid meds and TED steroids are adding to that).
    There needs to be more research into “auto immune” disease. It sux. Thank you for writing about this Sarah. It needs to be talked about more so maybe people will begin to understand the horrors of thyroid (& other AI diseases).

  • Anju

    I half agree, half disagree. To think that I have brought Irritable Bowel Syndrome on myself, extreme fatigue yadiya all this bad stuff…what an awful thing to do to myself! The thing is, yes I do have self hate more then I would like and am extremely perfectionistic and hard on myself, and yes I do suffer from depression and IBS, BUT I know plenty of women and men who hate themselves more then I (from what I can tell) and get this, they have no ailments! My sister barely eats just so she can be this ideal size 6, she has a LOT of body hate and loathing, rarely exercises, eats junk food, smokes…yet she looks 10 years younger then she is and her body is pretty much fine! No IBS, no fatigue. Nada. So to me this theory makes sense, but then also doesnt make sense. Cause everyone who hates themselves dont develop some kind of auto immune disease crap heap…There must be other contributing factors! And how does one self-love? Is there some kind of book on making peace with your thighs? I’d love to know 😛

  • Kellie

    Omg thank you thank you thank you!!
    I found out I have graves this year. Clearly I’ve had it for a longer weight loss and tiredness and a personality change.
    I can’t help but think stress and anxiety are the major key rolls in my graves. I’m not on meds, they make me feel worse. I have been using a lifestyle change for my graves. I know which foods and drinks set it off. I have a amazing TCM doctor and together we have worked hard to bring my levels into line where
    I feel good. I still have “those days” but they are becoming less and less now!

    I have always been so hard on myself, my biggest judge. Why am I not doing this? Why don’t I have that?

    You know what… None of it matters learning to love myself is helping to heal myself 🙂

  • VFS

    This has sparked me to listen to Caroline Myss a lot more – Why people don’t heal is my jumping off point.


  • Maria

    Aaaaaamen sister

  • Michelle

    This article hits the nail on the head. I can directly relate flare ups of my UC to thinking patterns, self talk and anxiety. I follow a strict paleo diet which keeps most of my symptoms under control, but when I am stressed I have severe flare ups. When I focus on nuturing myself, flare ups disappear. Interesting the mind-body connection is.

  • Kate m

    My medical history is incredibly similar to yours, Sarah. However, I was diagnosed with coeliac disease about 8 years ago. I have read that the leaky gut caused by untreated coeliac disease can trigger other auto immune diseases.

  • Kirsty Forsberg

    Great article. There is so much truth here.
    Every Woman I know is hard on herself.. but I think us AI types let that negativity completely take over. We blame ourselves over and over again. I’ve been doing it so long I can’t remember being carefree and unaware of other peoples sodding opinions!
    It get worse with age I’ve found. My confidence is at an all time low and at 42 I should be saying ‘F**k You’ to my inner hater, not cowering at it’s feet.
    I have an amazing husband, family and friends, gorgeous dog, great house but I constantly berate myself, and feel so much guilt and responsibility about things…because I am petrified of letting people down. So, in fact am living my life for other people and not for myself. It’s so tiring!!! Thyroid has recently gone wonky again, which I’m pretty sure is stress related. I keep telling myself, this is just a blip. Rational brain, please engage!
    Thank heavens for the paleo/ clean diet, mindfulness meditation and blog’s like yours Sarah!
    Keep sharing, it’s a huge help. We are not alone.

  • Me myself and I

    So … I take one little white tablet every morning on an empty stomach and … I don’t have any symptoms, unless I forget to take my little white pill then one of the symptoms of Graves is forgetful, the inability to recall either little facts generally, also, I suffer osteoporosis as a consequence of my bodies inability to use vitamin d, bummer, so I take extra of this and calcium and evening primrose oil (to keep your hormones balanced). You know what? It is not in your mind, next you will tell me that someone has ovarian cancer due to the guilt in her mind over aborting a child that was the product of abuse of some kind! Please mind over matter works, but also modern medicine has its place, your symptoms of your illness (have you in fact been medically diagnosed?) would be simply and easily removed and the risk to your health minimalised to a great degree that why would you spend years just changing diet, exercise, self mind games etc when a little white pill does the trick! Worry about how to fix Ebola with this attitude, please tell me the ‘natural’ ways to do it. I and one sister have graves, the other (baby) sister has hashimotos (yes, rarely you can also switch! I in fact am one of those, but I digress), my dad in his late sixties found out he had graves (very rare as it is a female, sibling, daughter thing generally, I believe), my mum does not, my dads side however is riddled for all of the women, the men? well my dad was the only one that made it to 71, the rest last to 64… he was diagnosed after the age of the average death age of the males in his family line. My baby sister almost died, almost lost her vocal cords, and having to have a trach put in, she lost 40 kgs and has never been able to put it back on, no matter what. For the rest of the people who think ‘this is what I have’ go have a blood test, you will get your results along with a script, fill it and get on with life. For the rest of you who ‘fail’ the blood test, get over it and get a life also. Love yourself but don’t drown in excuses for lack of spine.

  • Ali

    I couldn’t disagree more! My autoimmune disease has nothing to do with self hatred. I don’t even know what that means. It’s sad that you have felt self hatred in your life. It sounds like you need a cuddle not elimination diets. This post is dangerous Ms Wilson. If one person stops taking their medications and has a flare or even a little increase in their pain and discomfort then you should be ashamed of yourself. By all means learn to love yourself but Self love and autoimmune disease have nothing to do with each other.

    • Me myself and I

      Thanks Ali, I was starting to think I was the last person left with common sense, sure self love is good, but goobledy goop self love without common sense is ridiculous in this day and age of modern medicine, I am upset that so many people are believing Ms Wilson’s (medical) opinion, it is dangerous. I haven’t had a flare up of any symptoms in 30 yrs! But stupid people will spend years and a small fortune to change their diet etc when that is not what is wrong or even the remedy. I work hard, 7 days a week and if I get a ‘cancer’ it won’t be from hard work, that really has never killed anyone, seems more like todays youth who want everything without working too hard. Grow up and look at the facts Ms Wilson, but then again, you got your 5 mins of fame with this publicity, just remember that the consequences for other people are now her responsibility for relaying this ignorant opinion.

  • MJ

    I think you’re right on target with this written article. Thoughts are real! So choose them wisely! Not an easy thing to do when our ego self continually puts us down.

  • Alan M

    Hi Sarah,

    I came across your article on a news website. I have a few diagnosed auto-immune conditions from minor such as psoriasis to more serious regarding my blood platelets.

    You described me perfectly. I am that person people describe as intense, really hard working, driven and never gives up. Sounds like a great career person and it has been great for my career. It however is a curse. What you achieve never seems enough. I am a 41 year old man and through trial and error have started to discover ways to overcome this. For me this is three things: Simplify life wherever possible which includes breaking free from material possessions. Enjoy each moment you are in. Have the courage to follow your heart and recognise when what you want is not what you really need.

    I stumbled on these things by accident. They have improved my health no end and also my happiness.

    Good luck and great blog.

  • Wendy

    Your determination to get to the root of the problem and your consistent attempts to rectify it through diet et al, is to be admired. You’ve been through a lot and have still managed to not only come out on top but to keep on keeping on. Bouquets to you Sarah. Wishing you all the best and continued success in fighting the battle.

  • Gem

    My experience from persons who seem to follow gurus and fads, they are highly corporate women. Full of stress, Everyone else is wrong. They are always right. Yet they lead a lonely existance full of mental troubles,, which they change in there minds to be physical troubles. Oh i cant eat this and that. Yet there physical is not even the problem. Lead a campaign against tv, magazines which drain the existence out of us. Turn away from these, begin to chill out by your self at home and get to know yourself. You maybe lucky enough to have two real friends. No one else cares about you. Its only you. Now set yourselves free.

  • Sue

    Your so right Sarah! I have an underactive thyroid and anxiety.. i have self hatred. That brought on so many other health probs as well. Ask your doctor to do full blood tests including B12 in particular and VIt d. Because of self hatred with the above mentioned making it worse, it feels like my body is shutting down. Be kind to yourselves ladies. Do it for you and only you. You ARE worth it! xx

    • nikki989

      sorry she is so wrong,anxiety is symptom of your thyroid problem not the cause

  • Me myself and I

    Oh, that’s right, Sarah also does not believe in vaccinations! Really a forward thinker, aren’t you Sarah…

    This is to quote Sarah on vaccinating children ‘What they say is that the gold standard studies, right, that are done
    to really absolutely conclusively prove things, the double-blind placebo
    cross something or other tests have not been done and it’s almost
    impossible to do that on human beings, especially children.’ tsk tsk tsk

  • Dr

    I agree positive thinking is important in coping with any chronic illness. But really, Sarah? Self-hatred as the cause of autoimmunity?? I have seen patients with kidney failure requiring dialysis as a consequence of lupus. I have seen patients in ICU with bleeding in the lungs from Goodpasture’s. I have looked down a microscope and seen the bright pattern made by antibodies attacking the special lining of the kidney. I can assure you these things were not caused by self hatred.

  • nikki989

    trash lies,

  • MS Nurse

    So MS is caused by anxiety is it? i’ll be sure to tell all my patients this. Honestly, this article is dangerous and highly uneducated.

  • Kez

    Mmm … anxiety and self loathing doesn’t help with any condition. But…I can tell you… I love me just fine, I have no problem with time spent in my own company and don’t suffer a fear of rejection!… Pity the sun don’t love me as much as I do and that my lupus can be difficult to manage.
    I live my life managing the varying levels of pain, fatigue, nausea and all the other joys that come with it…but I still choose happiness… but unfortunately while it helps at times to choose to love one self , choose to be happy….it is far from a cure.

  • tracy

    I am curious as to the science behind this view?? As someone who has suffered for years and yet am happy in myself and my life I think this is an attack on women… anxiety is a very real issue as is low self confidence… women do not need to believe they are responsible for very real illnesses as well..an irresponsible blog based on I am guessing very little fact

  • Hi Sarah. I have a chronic illness and I love myself sick. Yet you believe self-hatred is making us sick.

    What’s love got to do with it? No matter how much I love myself I won’t be cured. And a lack of love didn’t cause this. I wrote a piece here, I hope this makes you realise how dangerous your messages are.


  • Emily B

    Lots of love to you, S. xo

  • Maree

    Making women feel responsible for diseases which are out of their control (usually genetic) is completely disempowering. This is one of the worst articles I have ever read- just because you hate yourself and you have an autoimmune disorder does make the two connected. Did your self-hatred also cause you to have brown hair or was that genetic too?

    • Absolutely. I am high fiving you through the screen.

    • It is so disempowering and victim blaming. I have a chronic illness and love myself. doesnt mean happiness and self love will cure it,

      • Maddy

        But Carly, yours is an odd disease. You’re not autoimmune, you have the odd skin disease

        • You can call it odd but that’s a little disrespectful.
          It does effect the immune system, as I’ve mentiiiones on my recent blog post.

          • Maddy

            So you’re here to comment, to publicise your blog? Gotcha.

        • Wow. How rude.

  • Hi Sarah. I have a chronic illness and I love myself sick. Yet you believe self-hatred is making us sick.

    What’s love got to do with it? No matter how much I love myself I won’t be cured. And a lack of love didn’t cause this. I wrote a piece here, It would be good for you and your readers ro see an opposing opinion.


  • Danica


  • Gill

    I’ll be sure to share this with my friend who has rheumatoid arthritis, a scientifically proven disease and her team of specialists who have a combined total of 42 years of study behind them. Clearly the last 20 years of her life, impeded by disease, could have been avoided if she ‘loved’ herself more. And her specialists have wasted their time researching and helping those in pain. Be careful what you peddle, Sarah, it could have disastrous results.

  • Maddy

    Hi Sarah,
    Since mamamia (or dramamia as we all call it!) is sending hateful people over here, I’m just going to leave a short note saying I thought your point came across really well and it’s a interesting point to ponder.

    And since the dramamia site won’t publish any comments in support, or challenging the writer respectfully, I look forward to a polite conversation here.

  • Phil

    Yay no more insulin! Thanks Sarah you’re a champ!

  • Kitty

    So the only or main areas you “looked into” were gluten, cosmetic toxins and sugar??!! And based on this very thorough list of research areas covered, you concluded that a lack of resilience due to poor levels of self love was the answer to both the cause and cure of auto immune disease??!! Honey, I would love to go point by point into your article and share why what you have said is ultimately concerning for the now neglected areas of your mental health(think I saw your most recent post was actually on the topic of balance-your clearly lacking balance hun) “self love” as you put it is one of many aspects of healthy and positive emotional and mental state-best you go back and ask your Indian Hollywood star healer how to rebalance the soil coz too much self love makes one self centred and depletes the “soils” ability nourish other equally essential aspects of overall mental health and stability. So I’ll not bother digging through the dirt you’ve written, I can say there are a few things you said I don’t completely disagree with but for the most part it’s “dirt” and I lack the desire to dig through that pile of dirt on levels that extend from saving my body the discomfort of getting more agitated than I already am right down to not wanting to have to clean the dirt I’ll get stuck under my nails! Before I go and try to cure my insomnia with self love(and that doesn’t sound a little wrong at all haha!) just have to point out one small hypocrisy in your article. You listed some examples of external things us self loathing chronicly ill women use to rely on and one such “thing” was “gurus”. Is your article not inspired by and heavily referenced and extensively quoting a “guru” or does his ability to reduce complex medical mysteries into an episode of Burkes Backyard combined with his reputation of “healer to the stars” (and they never buy into false mumbo jumbo so following their lead will definitely always be a wise decision!) do these stellar credentials elevate him above being titled a “guru”?? Think you a call to Don Bourke would be a good idea-your article, advice and opinions, when considered as a pile of soil….frankly it stinks of blood and bone! Or is that what self love smells like? I wouldn’t know apparently coz I’m still suffering my chronic illness’ so I must be still hating on myself….but now I know thanks to your help-I just need to enrich my soil so I’ll go find some cow crap to roll around in and fertilise my self to freedom of illness coz that will have as much chance of curing my ailments as what reading your article has!
    Can you imagine how long my post would be if I did decide to play in the dirt and dig through ALL the bad advice and opinions you have in there?!! On the other hand I could have taken up your whole day and with any luck rob you of the time to post another load of manure that’s comical in it’s insanity and offensive in it’s ignorance….please for the love of all things sacred-don’t self love so much that you think your helping women by sharing fantasies….your coming across as the teenage boy who didn’t listen when his mother told him if you self love too much you’ll go blind….wait what?! So it blinds teenage boys but cures women….I have to stop….you’ve given me so much to consider it’s overwhelming and while no cure for my insomnia, at least a good way to pass the time….

  • M

    Self hatred is not the same as anxiety. Do you even have ANY relevant medical qualification??

  • CD Mother

    Struggling to understand your logic, my now 3 has Coeliac Disease and has been suffering since before her first birthday. How on earth does.a baby “self loath”? Or are you suggesting this is only women and that children and men get autoimmune disease for another reason?

  • merliyn

    thanks sarah, this is soo true! … a great post!
    the empty jug syndrome! …
    “flogging will continue until morale improves” … ??? a goody though!
    yes one must nurture oneself and women need to support each other
    in a genuine way! … which I do see happening when there is a maturity
    and competition doesn’t reign supreme! … cheers m:)X

  • Romlette

    Hi Sarah, beautifully put and I know you are spot on. My question is ‘HOW’??? I’ve tried meditation, journaling, positive affirmations and much more and just can’t get there. I know the why but can’t make it happen.
    Any suggestions on how you managed to turn it all around? My diet and supplementation is spot on for healing but the self hate and anxiety remains..
    Any words of advice???

  • Jack

    I have followed the IQS program and purchased the books and believed that giving up sugar and gluten will eventually help my autoimmune disease, but I refuse to believe that I am personally responsible for what has happened to me. I’ve suffered since I was a child so I call BS on your theory. How dare you insinuate women are responsible! This is making me question whether I want to continue to follow you at all.

  • HS

    What a load of rubbish. How dare you blame disease on feelings of negativity. It’s a silly, silly thing to suggest, and insulting to many people who are battling diseases. You know, it’s entirely possible to be an anxious self-hater and have an auto-immune disease independently of that. In fact, it’s much more likely. A serious anxiety disorder can lead to psychosomatic symptoms that might resolve with better mental health, but it’s something else entirely to say it creates hereditary disease. The only link you’ve provided between the two is the opinion of Gwyneth Paltrow’s favourite snake oil peddler. Irresponsible.

  • Lucy

    I was born with Rheumatoid Arthritis, so my question to Sarah Wilson is … how is it possible that my self-hatred begin as an embryo? Negativity does not cause auto-immune diseases or flare ups, of course I get down and hate the fact I have RA but that is a side effect of my illness not the cause. It is also my opinion that you were (lucky for you) misdiagnosed and never actually had the diseases that you ‘cured’ yourself of. I actually have one of your books on my bedside table to read but instead I’m going to bin it. I never actually thought that you could cure my Rheumatoid Arthritis (maybe help with my IBS and possibly drop a few kilos) and it actually scares me to think that you believe you have the knowledge, and dare I say power, to cure auto-immune diseases. I wish you all the best but I think you need to investigate the science behind your outrageous claims because what you are saying is, at the heart of it, damaging and hurtful!

  • Robyn Oyeniyi

    I disagree entirely. Stress may well prove to have causal links, via cortisol production, but self-hate? Please people, by all means de-stress your lives, but get the right medical help when you need it.

  • Mandy Henby

    Yeah, sure. My 2 year old daughter with a disposition so sunny I called her an angel in my life. She had this anxiety, this drive that wore her out, this self hatred, that caused her to develop an autoimmune disease (type 1 diabetes). My 4 year old son with a zest for life that cheers all who meet him, he obviously had this self hate to cause the same disease. Or sorry, their causes are obviously different because he’s a boy. This article is so insulting it’s not funny.

  • disqus_mLm4MA7EQ5

    In the last few years, I have pulled myself back from the cliff’s edge, both metaphorically and literally. With self-care that I didn’t know I had in me, I nurtured myself out of the deepest depression I had ever experienced, coming out of it healthier in both mind and body. But fibromyalgia and AI hit anyway, and they came in a physical and emotional climate that would be the complete opposite of self-hatred. In short: I love myself. I got sick anyway. So this logic does not work. It’s an interesting theory, but be careful about insinuating cause and effect. (I would also recommend picking up “Autoimmune – The Cause and the Cure”, which provides valuable information about the enzymes and neurotransmitters that are deficient in people with AI diseases. It’s not a lack of love and good vibes, it’s a biological deficiency.)

  • Lucy

    I was born with Rheumatoid Arthritis, so my question to Sarah Wilson is … how is it possible that my self-hatred begin as an embryo? Negativity does not cause auto-immune diseases or flare ups, of course I get down and hate the fact I have RA but that is a side effect of my illness not the cause. It is also my opinion that you were (lucky for you) misdiagnosed and never actually had the diseases that you ‘cured’ yourself of. I actually have one of your books on my bedside table to read but instead I’m going to bin it. I never actually thought that you could cure my Rheumatoid Arthritis (maybe help with my IBS and possibly drop a few kilos) and it actually scares me to think that you believe you have the knowledge, and dare I say power, to cure auto-immune diseases. I wish you all the best but I think you need to investigate the science behind your outrageous claims because what you are saying is, at the heart of it, damaging and hurtful!

  • Gemma

    Sarah Wilson this is really difficult for me to say. For such a long time I looked up to you, looked toward you and looked for you in order to try to attempt to control my AI diseases. I have three of them, Diabetes (type one), Hashimoto’s and Gastritis. There is no family history of Diabetes, every woman in my family has Hashimoto’s and again I am just plain unlucky when it comes to my gut problems. I always found what you said inspiring, and motivating. I looked up to you.

    When I read this article you wrote at first I was genuinely interested. I thought to myself ‘this has got to have some good advice’. Usually most of what you write is in some way helpful or at least hopeful to me.

    No Sarah, it was offensive, ill thought out and worst of all, it was disappointing. You are such a smart and clearly capable woman and you are poisoning the world with this nonsense! How many doctors told you when you were yet to be diagnosed with Hashimoto’s that you need more sleep? Or you should speak to a psychologist, or worse yet that there is nothing wrong with you so go home and continue to cry at nothing and feel like someone is choking you, because you are 100% healthy?

    In answer to your pathetic statement about needing more self love; here is how it works. Diabetics, feel like pretty rotten most of the time. When our blood sugars plummet to 1.9 at 3 o ‘clock in the morning and have to go to work the next day, it’s like we were run over with a bus. On top of that we are expected to be able to perform, talk with the public, teach, learn, drive, breathe, walk and eat like every other human being. ”Self love’ isn’t going to change the fact that’d a majority of us would do everything to live with out diabetes. That a majority of us would love to wake up and not think ‘what’s my blood sugar going to be this morning, classic me – if it’s above 7 I know today will be just awful!’.

    Did you give any thought to the parents of AI sufferers out there? How careless and offensive your article is to the millions of mums and dads doing everything they can to keep their children comfortable while they learn to give themselves injections. Or watch their children stop developing because they have Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    My children have a 70% of having diabetes, that’s not self loathing, that’s science. Do you hate yourself Sarah? Maybe if you added a little sunshine and self love to your bone broth on your next thyroid day you’ll feel the world better for it.

    You Sarah Wilson have done nothing positive with this article for any AI sufferer, you’ve turned away yet another reader with your baseless, scientifically unproven rhetoric . Worst of all you have made every single attempt from every AI sufferer on this planet to better themselves worthless; because at the end of the day instead of using my insulin pump or another diabetic having the 18 needles a day we need to survive – not live – survive. We could have just given ourselves a little more ‘self love’.

  • Linda F Correa

    I would like to know your medical basis for your assumption. While it is your right to assume what has caused your disease, making the assumptions based on your own feelings is really self serving and will cause harm to many who are searching for answers. I have multiple automimmune issues and I most certainly think that I did not cause any of them. Several that I have are contributed to heredity. My autoimmune liver disease was neither caused by stress or self loathing. My liver is not killing off cells because I am stressed. Unless you have professional or medical training, you are not serving anyone by spreading this useless nonsense

  • arthritic chick

    You know what? Everyone who does NOT have an autoimmune disease, medically diagnosed by a specialist doctor, does not have a valid opinion. Sure, you can have an opinion, but if you don’t know what its like to live with severe, chronic pain, and/or a severe autoimmune illness, you really cannot possibly understand how offensive this truly is. So everyone, please state your disease, severity and your treatment protocol, and your opinion. And then Sarah’s ‘question’ can be answered on this forum by people who have actual lived experience. And then perhaps she can write up the results.

    • Kitty

      CFS/ME, fibromyalgia & autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes diagnosed at age 29. Initial illness Thyroid Cancer diagnosed age 26. Severity-suppose that’s relative really. Unable to work, trying to find work from home options but no success so far. Mum of 3. Aged 8, 10 & 12.
      Treatment protocol-ranging from extensive to non existent!
      My opinion? Prob made that clear in my massive post last night but happy to summarise-I wonder how ppl like this become “media personalities” and have somehow gathered a following who lap up her “blog” without questioning her credentials, knowledge, research or ability to even effectively discuss or defend what she actually wrote herself! It’s nothing more than a convincing and persuasive writing approach using hypocritical and uneducated offensive psychological propaganda!!! I don’t like it much I guess you could say!!!

      • arthritic chick

        Thank you Kitty, for sharing and I’m sorry for your health conditions. Try googling ‘Enabled Employment’ – a new website for placing disabled people in work-at-home jobs. Good luck.

        • Kitty

          Thank you that is so kind! I’ll look into that for sure! Xx

  • Alan

    You can’t be serious? There are many people, including myself, who have very loving relationships with themselves and others and are shocked and saddened when they learn that in fact does not shield them from illness. Of course self hatred is painful and stressful I’m sure but the sheer cluelessness and ignorance of this piece is astounding. Bad things happen in life to perfectly good, happy people. It’s not alwYs because of nutrition or environment. Birth, illness, and death ARE life. Unfortunately, part of life is also dealing with self absorbed people who need a personal reason for everything that happens to them. That energy might be better spent helping others instead of exploring the equivalent of your own navel.

  • Alison

    I truly believe that our health is our responsibility but nobody has educated us correctly about how to love yourself in a balanced way so the whole concept seems well, weird but I think that you are on to something Sarah because once you have exhausted all questions, answers and solutions, it is fair and reasonable to have an opinion about an observation made in your own life’s experience that the root cause of AI is seated in self loathing. If this is true for you, then be it so and let the haters go love themselves out of feeling too touchy about the connection made and recognized in your own life and body. I think that your intentions to uplift and find the truth about wellness is invaluable and kind of you to share with many ladies who are desperate for answers. Thank you for being a bold Example of what it means to speak your truth. Love Alison.

  • Cuppacheer

    Wow, pretty impressive presumption into autoimmune diseases. Funny, I don’t think my TWO year old experienced any self hatred or anxiety when he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. And I don’t think that it caused his celiac disease at age 4, especially since we responded with nothing but love, support and resilience. I would advise you to be very careful making these kinds of assumptions, Ms. Sarah. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that has no cure, it is NOT caused by anxiety or self-loathing, and if you are providing unethical medical advice, you could be pushing people down a very dangerous path. Be careful spreading ignorance and misinformation, that is worse than self loathing or anxiety combined. Oh and by the way, Type 1 Diabetes isn’t caused by sugar either, just in case you want to recommend they quit sugar too. Don’t be blinded by the hype , my dear, science and mental health should be grounded by facts not fantasy or fiction. Keep looking for autoimmune “types,” but they won’t all be at your lectures, many of them are kids out playing on the play ground, laughing, having fun, being loved and loving themselves.

  • Lara Schenk Lopez

    You’ve got to be kidding me right? So the reason I developed Type 1 diabetes and hypothyroidism at the age of five is because of self-loathe? You are a danger to society and I pray to God nobody actually believes you.

  • Kaz

    I have hashimotos, gut problems and crippling anxiety. I grew up in a family who put unreasonable demands on me and I was constantly critisized for everything. This led me to develop self hatred, stress and insecurity into adulthood and I definitely believe this has contributed to my health problems. Is anxiety the direct cause of hashimotos? Probably not, however I do believe they feed off each other, it’s a vicious circle. Every time I am anxious my gut problems defintiely get worse, I can’t sleep, feel like crap. There is a definite connection…

  • Kaz

    Sarah, I think you’re a very courageous person to keep expressing yourself so openly and authentically when people dive in and attack in response. Self hatred is hard enough (I know) without random members of the public having a go. Kudos. Anyhow, your words here touched my heart. I get it. I relate. I’m having a cry:-)
    I garden in my backyard and think about how to nourish my soil (soul?) because nothing will grow and thrive if the soul/soil isn’t nourished. I’ve just pulled lots of weak and pest-riddled spinach from a bed of poor soil. Contrast it with the bed I took time to green manure and mulch and compost…astounding. So yes, a very apt analogy.
    Just realising how the times I give up on sugar free, gluten free, healthy eating etc it’s when it has ceased to be about self care and love and has become another way to control and boss myself about with should/shouldn’t/ought rules. Yes indeed, the heart of the matter is self love. Thank you.

  • Penny

    This post really spoke to me, with my own health issues and with so many women around me with ongoing health struggles i’ve often wondered the same thing. I was really fired up (in a positive way!) after reading it because I think it’s a really important topic to be considering. I really don’t understand people interpreting this piece as blaming oneself for illness and i think it’s really disappointing that other blog (that shall remain nameless) shared such a negative and twisted version with so many women who need the message of the importance of self love the most! Thanks always for sharing Sarah x

  • Guest

    Gorgeous post Sarah – kudos to you.
    I am all for self-love and truly believe that as women if we only put ourselves first there would be so much more love to give.

    I also believe that we can heal anxiety; that the ‘self-hate’ that you refer to has come from the beliefs that we created at a young age because of our perception of our environment – things your parents said, life circumstances, kids at school etc. and those self-limiting beliefs can be changed. Hand on my heart. We underestimate the power of our mind. Change you mindset, change your life.

    Big love to you xo

  • Guest

    Great post, Sarah kudos to you!

    I love that self-love is becoming more and more known and I definitely think that women do not practice it enough and it is such an important part of being balanced. Self-love definitely us but I also believe that it important to heal the cause.

    I believe that ‘self-hate’ is caused by beliefs that were formed in our childhood based on our perceptions of our parents and things they said, our environment, kids at school, friends and life experiences. Self-limiting beliefs that have resulted in fear, anger, resentment etc. all have a cause. Change your mindset, change your mind.

    We underestimate the power of our minds.

    Big love x

  • Great post, Sarah kudos to you!

    I love that self-love is becoming more and more known and I definitely think that women do not do it enough.

    I also believe that ‘self-hate’ is caused by beliefs that were formed in our childhood based on our perceptions of our parents and things they said, our environment, kids at school, friends and life experiences.
    Self-limiting beliefs that have resulted in fear, anger, resentment etc. all have a cause and they can be healed.

    Change your mindset, change your mind.
    We underestimate the power of our minds.

    Big love x

  • Rua1

    So when my 9mth old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disease), it was caused by self hatred and anxiety!?!
    Thank you so much for clearing that all up for me!!! (NOTE: SARCASM!!)

  • T1D Parent

    Hi Sarah, just a few points for you to ponder
    a. millions of dollars are being spent on research to find the root cause of auto-immune disease – check out the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation website
    b. mental health is a symptom of an auto-immune disease, not the cause
    c. poor media representation of auto-immune disease feeds unhealthy mental health
    d. good mental health enables good management of an auto-immune disease, it makes the disease invisible not absent. it is still there just well managed
    e. if you are talking about hashimoto, say hashimoto. please do not scale up the article by saying ‘auto-immune disease’
    f. sugar is a simple carbohydrate with high GI, starch is a complex carbohydrate with low GI. The only difference between sugar and starch is digestion rate. By quitting sugar and replacing it with a complex carbohydrate is simply the low GI diet.

  • Lisa

    I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (an autoimmune disease) at the age of three. I wasn’t even old enough to understand self hatred, let alone have so much that it “caused my body to attack itself”. And to think, if all I needed to do was love myself for the last 30 years I could have saved myself all those injections and finger pricks. What a load of bollocks, this is the biggest piece of rubbish I’ve ever read.

  • SJ

    Sarah I feel so sad that you have receive such a negative response to such an important topic. As someone managing Hashimotos ‘Drug-Free’ I could not agree more that self-care, self-awareness & self -love are key to me living the symptom free life I deserve. Be gentle on yourself through out this storm & thank you for all you offer.

  • Tash

    A lot of autoimmune disease has a genetic component to it but is only activated once the body has certain stress put upon it, whether that be physical stress or psychological stress. Modern day life means that we spend a lot of our time in a state of sympathetic nervous system firing or better know in a fight or flight state (anxiety stems from this). In this state the body is prepared to run from danger or fight for life (or to catch our food) so blood is taken away from non essential bodily functions such as the digestive system or kidney (yes they are essential for long term life but not to run away from a tiger and survive in that moment). We no longer have to survive in a world where we have to catch our food so I think more and more we are forgetting how to transfer from sympathetic state to parasympathetic state. Our parasympathetic state is our rest, digest and heal state where our kidneys and digestive systems are flooded with blood to digest food we’ve put all that effort into catching (historically anyway). Look at a Lion on the hunt, so intense, so focused then he catches his food eats up, then spends the rest of his day lazing around sleeping and digesting that food and then when it’s time to hunt again the cycle repeats itself. If something in you life is constantly keeping you in a sympathetic state, whether if be self loathing, your job, lifestyle what ever, the body never really gets a chance to heal properly, digest food properly or even filter out it’s wastes properly and I think that’s where a lot of modern day issues of food intolerances and anxiety comes from. Perhaps Sarah’s journey has allowed her to find ways to spend more time in a parasympathetic state and her body has now been given the chance to heal itself, which it’s actually really good at doing if given the right environment. I know that is simplifying the human body but I think we could all spend a little more time in our rest and digest state. Next time you feel stress out, run like you life depends upon it (or like you need to catch you food) then have a meal but now the hardest bit, sit down and relax and let your body transfer into it’s rest and digest state.

  • LLL

    I was advised Hashimotos is genetic, so can it be self healed? I don’t feel at all I was anxious when it was diagnosed (in fact I was about to get married, was a gym junkie, enjoying my new home, loving my job). I don’t feel anxious now – except when I have both my 2 year old and newborn screaming at once. I’ve accepted that I have it, take the appropriate medication and live a happy fullfilling life 🙂

  • Ash Wearing

    Hi Sarah,
    I read this article via the link you posted within your response to the negative backlash you’ve received recently.
    Reading some positive comments below I can see that your explanation that AI is caused (or worsened) by a lack of self-love or “nurturing” obviously comforts some people.

    However, you’re blasé and broad comments about women in particular have clearly upset many people. I think it’s unfair of you to blame the backlash on some minor re-headlining and a negative response from MammaMia. You should take responsibility for the fact that some people have seen your article and your comments, felt that the were directed at all sufferers of AI (or really any disease) and have rightly felt very upset.

    Whether your original article was misconstrued or not is beside the point. You’re discussing a very sensitive topic and some people have taken your comments as a personal criticism of the way they cope with their illness. As a writer, you should be well aware that the written word can be misconstrued or taken out of context, or even interpreted differently based on each individual’s perspective.

    Therefore, I think you should take responsibility for the negative impact your article had on some people instead of blaming it on other bloggers or journalists.

    It’s unfortunate that the backlash had a negative impact on your health, however it’s even less fortunate that your original article had a negative impact on many others. I completely agree with MammaMia’s comment that sick women do not need to be told to simply love themselves more. And whether that’s the point you were trying to make or not, that is the point many people have taken from your article.

  • Mishmash

    Well I’m throwing away my insulin pump, blood glucose monitor and giving myself a big loving hug! Yay Sarah!

    You’ve cured me from 30 years of the auto immune disease Type 1 diabetes! Go you!

    Please provide link to the article you get published in Lancet Medical Journal!

    All cured with a hug 😉

    Can I ever thank you enough for perpetuating such drivel – as if life wasn’t already hard enough with all the misunderstanding out there.

    You moron.

  • Jaclyn Schultz

    Not really sure why people feel the need to discourage and be mean??! I’m sure Sarah Wilson is just spreading the word on self love and positive thoughts and relating it to her world. Take the positives from her story and ignore what you don’t believe people, no need for nasty comments.
    Thank you Sarah for the pep-talk, it always helps to remember that we’re all trying our best to love ourselves and everyone that is in contact with us. From Jaclyn.

    • Mishmash

      “self hatred causes autoimmune disease” – that’s a pretty big (dumb/stupid/idiotic) statement. Do you have an autoimmune disease Jaclyn? I got an auto immune disease at the age of 10. So perhaps you can then understand how offensive that statement and this blog by Sarah is? How about she donates some money to charities / research into curing AI diseases – rather than telling us that the cure is to just love ourselves a bit more?

      • Jaclyn Schultz

        Sure Mishmash…. your opinion is very valid. I am a health professional and I may not have an autoimmune disease but I understand them thoroughly and I also don’t believe entirely in the article written. However, I strongly believe that cyber abuse is not going to make the difference that everyone is so passionately fighting for. Being kind to each-other doesn’t cost a thing and never hurts. Perhaps we should concentrate more on that…..!

        • Mishmash

          I guess I found the whole ‘self hatred causes autoimmune diseases’ as pretty discouraging personally. I don’t think that there is any amount of “kindness” that will ever cure my disease and I spend enough of my time educating people about incorrect stereotypes regarding diabetes – it is extremely disheartening reading articles like this that just perpetuate more misunderstandings.

        • Julie

          And isn’t cyber abuse a form of self loathing? Which given some of the negative comments attached to this post it seems there is a ton of it around…

  • Ella

    but how can you change this? I have been in a violent domestic relationship for the past 5 years – abused mentally and physically by my own mother and sisters. I am away from them with no contact but I have the anxiety and self loathing as after effects and it has been so difficult to change these feelings even with professional help. It’s hard to love yourself when you’ve been loathed by the ones you loved and trusted for so long. I have had to start life over alone in a new city and I have no support. Everyday I can feel my health deteriorate more and more and I feel that I can’t stop it. I just want to be well again.

    • Ket

      Hi Ella, sounds like you’re going through a hard time. Fr self love and releasing stress, I’d recommend reading two tinybuddha posts a day…it helps keep me on the straight and narrow. Or lisaesile ‘s website, she has some great articles about finding peace and calm. And a free book 7 things you mind doesn’t want you to know,me hitch I read and reread, – it’s super short.

      I don’t know what your illness is, but I must say, I doubt self love will cure it, but it will make it easier to cope with.

      How to be sick – a Buddhist guide to being unwell by Toni Bernhardt also has lots of great techniques for coping with stress and illness.

      There can be physiological causes of anxiety like overactive mast cells l as well.

      I wish you the best, good luck,

  • Bd

    Hey rheumatologists and immunologists of the world… Sucked in!!!!! What a waste of time spending all those years studying and training and doing research into autoimmune disease. You could have just done an online course in “integrative health” and started a blog and you would have been “curing” people left right and centre!!

    Your arrogance is astounding.

  • Sean

    What a stupid, dangerous, and uninformed composition this is. Just in case anybody read this and felt inclined to think any of it true – take a break – It is TOTAL nonsense. The author is uninformed and childishly ignorant.
    I wish pop culture ‘celebrities’ would stop preaching bathtup ‘top of mind’ ignorance, and think twice about the impact they are having when they gush out gutter sniping, headline grabbing trash that preys on the vulnerable like this.

  • Jennie Dell

    What if it’s not self-loathing but self-absorption that’s the (exclusively First World) problem here? I get pretty sick of myself after too much introspection!

  • tnt

    You made some hurtful and foolish assumptions there.

  • Julie

    My mum suffered type2 diabetes and eventually vascular dementia as a consequence, which sadly cause the premature passing of her life. I have no doubt in my heart and soul that my mum’s illness’s although linked to genetics were made far worse and hastened the onset due to negative thoughts, worry, stress, anxiety and depression. Which all are intrinsically linked to self love or the lack of it. Thank you for your brave post, despite the barrage of negativity you yourself have now had to endure. It was merely opinion and sure, some may say as a public figure you have a responsibility to censor your opinion, but I honestly think you were and always are clear that what you write is really a dialogue you are having with yourself that you wish to share as it may help others.

  • Ket

    I really like your writing and often enjoy your funny takes on life with AI.

    But …yep there is a but.

    I’m very concerned with this article. I had a hospital stay that made me much sicker as a result of my immune dysfunction triggers being ignored due to nurses and doctors choosing to blame me for my illness.

    A year later and I am still sicker. About six months after my hospital stay, I got some answers that have helped and I’d like to share what I was told.

    Like you, during a symptom flare, I feel not only more pain, but also anxiety, and I’ve also noticed that anxiety can trigger my symptoms.

    Yet I was very rarely anxious before becoming ill.

    I’m lucky in that my brilliant GP and Allergist figured out that over active ( aka sensitised) mast cells are part of the immune system dysfunction picture for me.

    mast cells have lots of triggers (smell, touch, vibration, stress, foods, sunlight etc etc) as they are part of our first line response to invaders and also part of the flight or fight response.
    When activated they release lots of histamine and other inflammatory agents, either in spurts (causing shock and difficulty breathing eg an asthma attack) or leaks (causing a slow increase in symptoms).

    So of course I feel anxious during a flare, – my body is full of itchy, burning histamine.

    And anxiety is a trigger because it triggers mast cell activity as it is part of our flight or fight response (and gets them ready to heal any wounds we might get).

    But this doesn’t mean that chemicals, noise and exposure to too much stimulation or exertion won’t make me sicker.

    And about the male:female ratio..maybe it could be explained by symptom flares caused by hormones, as mast cells are involved in causing periods.

    There is often a misunderstood or underdiagnosed physiological explanation behind diseases and symptoms. Like overactive mast cells. (there is a good website alwayswellwithin that covers mast cells and destressing and medications /lifestyle changes to make – it’s not my website).

    Its so important to remember this and not blame the patients for how they’ve lived in the past and to encourage proper investigations and research into disease causes.

    After all…scurvy was said to be caused by laziness …as its first symptom is lethargy – so if you didn’t get lazy lethargic, you wouldn’t get scurvy.

    But lastly – I want to say thanks Sarah, for writing so honestly and fearlessly about your experiences online and for leaving the comments open on what is clearly a contentious post.

  • Rachel

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s at the age of 8. I am told it was brought on by a severe illness I had as a toddler. please don’t try to mislead sick people by telling them all they need is to love themselves and then they will get better. This post should be removed. It is damaging at best and dangerous at worst.

  • Hashimoto’s
    disease is most definitely NOT ‘the most minor disease there is’, or
    even a minor disease! It’s a serious lifelong dysfunction of one of the
    major glands of the body, and its results can be physically devastating
    throughout the life cycle. Children born with Hashimoto’s were medically
    described as ‘cretins’ because of its effects from such an early start.
    However, it is one of those diseases that, despite there being clear
    signs, symptoms and laboratory findings to be found, is often dismissed
    as being psychogenic, wherever medical knowledge about the condition is limited. Psychogenic explanations like Wilson’s here are based on magical thinking in the face of medical uncertainties, sadly an epidemic among doctors as well.

  • Isabella_Ebbitt

    I pondered this question quite a lot over the four years I fought (ultimately unsuccessfully) to save my thyroid and I am not convinced that this notion is any more true than saying that the root cause is diet, or genetics or infection or anything else that gets blamed for causing disease.

    I can relate to having an air of ‘I’m not good enough as I am’, but I also stayed up late, sat all day, never exercised, ate an appalling diet and drank too much coffee and alcohol.

    Pema Chodron often writes about how we are all subject to “the stubborn attitude of having to have things be a particular way”. It seems to be human nature to search for a simple answer and then cling to it. AI diseases are incredibly complex and they don’t have solutions, let alone simple ones (I was shocked when my endocrinologist told me that they don’t know what causes Graves disease, they do have a treatment for it, and some people take it and get better and some people take it and don’t get better, and they don’t know why that is either) and here comes Dr Sadeghi with a nice simple solution, you just have to love yourself.

    I do think it is important to “nurture your grassland”, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse to stay up late, sitting on the couch, eating trans fat filled potato chips and pesticide laden chocolate, while drinking a bottle of wine, because I believe that sleep, whole foods and exercising are important too.

  • Say WHat SYdney

    Hi Sarah! I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease last year, and I need to start eating healthier, but the problem is that I absolutely HATE fruit! I want to get better but I don’t know how. Could you possibly pass on some tips? Thanks 😀

  • Well i wrote a comment on the mamamia website in response to the article and it was removed!! That pretty much sums it up really – they will write what they want in response to an article but i’m not allowed to have my say in response! What a load of crap. My removed comment – > “Wow. When i read your article Amy it feels like a massive negative rant and just plain old mean! Not a very intelligent piece of writing especially in the context of trying to counter argue Sarah’s article. I expected more from a Mamamia journalist.”

  • BethMarie

    I think this article is great! Sorry there are so many haters :/ I agree that self love is part of the healing process! Thank you!

  • jp

    Nice one Sarah … I feel the same. It is about not loving oneself. I don’t know what it means to love myself. I just don’t feel it. I’ve been ill all my life. I’ve been clean for three years. By ‘clean’ I mean; no processed, no grains, no corn, no soy, no dairy, no pharma and actually no fun. Sometimes I think it’s time to call-it. My husband and son are always concerned. I just don’t feel like I’m not worth their worry. Sorry some troll got you jacked up. Thanks for all you blog.

  • Alana

    Wow. Amazing. You should really contact the appropriate medical authorities and make them aware of this incredible discovery!
    I’m sure they’ll be floored when they find out that all of those millions of lives lost due to autoimmune disease could have been prevented with “self-love”.

  • ryan

    if you were happy and at one with yourselves you wouldn’t be posting such nasty comments! great post Sarah – keep up the astonishing work you do Satnam xo

  • Hi Sarah,

    I have watched the outrage and backlash over your post – I’m sorry this has happened. I am a Mind Detox Therapist and part of what I do is discover if there is an emotional or mental root-cause of illness and disease in the body, and I must say I completely agree with you.

    In many cases Anxiety is caused by an attack on your own self-image. In all of my clients we have linked chronic anxiety to fear – the fear of not being good enough.

    We have also linked self-hate, self-bitterness and self-rejection (coupled with guilt) to the clients who have auto-immune diseases, keeping in mind they may not be aware of this hidden pattern or ‘belief’ – which has a fear, anxiety, stress rider attached. Ultimately deep down the woman feels unloved and unaccepted either in the present or felt this way in the past, even from the womb. In one of my clients her auto-immune disease began after a specific event in her life where she felt rejected by her husband and carried shame, guilt and self-hatred over her own actions.

    I rarely comment on anything online but I wanted to reach out to you and offer my full support. It’s just a shame that others fail to do intensive research and are quick to make a judgment or have an opinion when they have no experience whatsoever on the issue they judge.

    Unfortunately we can never control the reactions of others – I just hope that this will not prevent you from speaking out about alternative/ controversial topics in the future. There is extensive research out there supporting the mind-body connection and how our beliefs about ourselves can alter DNA – I commend you for bringing this into mainstream media.

    With love,
    Debbie x

  • Aphra H

    Self loathing and lack of self worth is a huge problem for so many women in society today, thank you for opening up the discussion that our attitude towards ourselves may indeed influence the way we feel physically, mentally and emotionally from day to day. Self care and self love – bring it on. At each moment when I bring awareness to my own actions and attitudes I am awarded with a bit more understanding of just what makes me tick. Instead of being harsh on myself, i am kind and there is enormous power in that for all of us.

  • Suzanne

    Could you spend more time on this topic? It really gets to the root cause, and I could sure use some help in learning how to support myself more — as I think most of us could.

  • Myrtleandpine

    Sarah thank you for this post and for all your incredible work. I have personally benefited and am so grateful.

    I agree: our relationship to ourselves has to be relevant to health. And the pain of self-hatred – or shame – is clearly worth addressing in any case.

    We all know we’re not perfect, but it’s surprisingly hard to deal with. That alternating between perfectionism/activism/narcissism on one hand, and hopelessness/paralysis/self-hatred on the other: I think all of us humans are susceptible!

    For me, the only way off that emotional see-saw is receptivity. To let my inadequacy and my imperfections be covered with the blanket of God’s love and goodness. To let God love me just as I am.

    This doesn’t make me perfect of course. God has perfect covered. I just get set free to be me, by God’s unconditional love.

    I may be imperfect, but I was made to be loved.

  • Brooke

    There are many ways that lack of self esteem can cause physical illness. I can speak from experience here. I’ve recently discovered (through therapy) that my low self esteem was behind my excessive binge drinking for over 10 years, and I am also convinced that it was a large part of the reason I frequently gorged on sugary and fatty foods to try and cheer myself up. For years I punished myself with unrealistic expectations; nothing was ever good enough and I was never good enough. Then I would eat crap food to feel better. There are no other auto-immune diseases in my family, I am the first. I am convinced my Hashimoto’s is due to stress, binge drinking and poor food choices in the past, which all stemmed from self hatred. So I can absolutely see how you would pose this question Sarah. I am sure every individual case is different, but I believe that self hatred can cause auto immune disease. Regarding the people who think you are saying that illness is all in the head, I think they are willfully trying to misunderstand your message. Hashimoto’s has a blood test. From what I understand, so do most auto immune conditions. The blood tests show it is real, the symptoms are real and the illness is 100% real, as you know as much as anyone one of us. Auto immune disease is not all in our heads. But our heads and our thinking may have caused us to make bad lifestyle choices, feel excessive stress or put ourselves last, and that can cause physical illness. I have been eating mainly paleo for several years now, and my blood tests and symptoms have significantly improved. But the greatest improvement in my health has come from finding an excellent counsellor. Before I went to see her, I absolutely hated myself. The way I spoke to myself was so horrible that you wouldn’t speak to your biggest enemy in such a way. Now, I no longer hate myself and I am learning to love myself, which involves feeding my body lovingly what it needs, getting enough sleep and taking time out when I need. It is hard work for sure, but I’m worth it and the results speak for themselves. For all of you on the journey of healing from chronic illness, YOU CAN DO IT, but only if you believe you can 😉

  • DNix

    This article is confusing to say the least. So, only women get AI from self hatred? I agree with the lady who made the comment about being born with RA. Was she born then a self hater? I have a son who is only 13 and last year was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis & hepatitis & your saying if he was a female he would be considered a self hater? My simple suggestion works be to please understand what you’re are saying as your words are powerful & harmful. Hundreds of things play a roll in AI diseases including anxiety, stress, depression etc. But they are NOT the cause of AI. Example: MS is the snowflake disease. No 2 people have the same exact symptoms or causes. One might have high anxiety another might not. I’m all for fixing the spirit with the body but your article is 100% your opinion & not medical fact.

  • Laura

    Sarah, I noticed from one of your recent posts that you are now treating your thyroid hormone imbalance successfully with Oroxine (T4). Are you able to (briefly) discuss the process which led you back to Oroxine? Apart from your incredibly sensible and important lifestyle habits which have contributed to decreasing your thyroid Ab’s levels, (my thyroglobulin level is currently 840), did T3 hormone play any part in your results and are you free to discuss the reasons why you are now able to successfully treat this awful disease with simply the Oroxine T4 hormone.

    Kind regards, Laura

    I don’t access facebook, could you please reply via your weekly newsletter?

  • Charmaine Connolly

    I found this article so powerful. I find I cannot even write a comment that captures my feelings other than OMG!! Sarah this is exactly my experience of having been recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s..my reflections, my analysis and of self worth, every word that was written I felt to my inner core.. ( I wrote about self worth in my blog https://changeahead101.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/what-we-think-we-become/ and I made reference to yourself..putting a link in to this article)..Thankyou I do not feel so alone with my thoughts now after reading this 🙂

  • Awesome sharing, thank you Sarah. From where I sit, you’re on the money. Self-degradation (metaphorically and literally), anxiety – and I would add nervous tension – have all impacted my body too.

  • guest

    you’r totally onto something here. It needs a lot of responsibility to be able to come to see that we are the creator of our own illness. It is hard to understand for some how they can be born with an illness and then having to hear that they supposedly have created it. It only starts to resonate when we understand that we are energy first and that we have lived many lives before this one. Thus we bring our dispositions in as an energetic packages … to just live them again and again until the day we start to take responsibility, as you have outlined, and as you have started to, and then choose differently for ourselves. I too have an AI and have come to the same conclusions as you have. Healthy conscious life style choices are only one part of the full picture – it also is about truly supporting and loving ourselves and to no longer engage in the thoughts that drive us down the rabbit hole. But instead choose to claim the amazing being we all are in truth and that we by no means have to fit in to the imposed ideals that society has accepted as the norm. I am now a living proof of what a change of life style that is.

  • Victoria Lister

    There are many factors behind an AI condition. Through
    my own explorations I’ve come to understand that we carry our choices with us,not just in this life, but from life to life. If we have unresolved issues (and let’s face it, we all do) we simply carry them forward for resolution next time around. Thinking this does not happen is analogous with thinking you can leave town with your baggage behind you.

  • Nicky Peet

    I so get this. Working with auto immune sufferers in my art and reiki sessions I have found that in all cases it comes back down to lack of self love, in so many forms -anger, guilt, shame, abandonment, We have sooo many roles to be, and the one we forget is the one to be ouself and love ourselves. 78 per cent of a.i. cases are women, and the medical people still don’t get it! Reading the comments below, no-one can cure the disease, only the person living it can learn to heal. There is a huge difference. Cure comes from the outside, the medical to irradicate. Healing comes from the inside.
    Self hate, shame, guilt or other associated emotions stem from beliefs we hear as a young child that we take on and become our beliefs.
    I only see it from another angle that having such a condition is teaching us to stop, take time for the self, to enjoy being that person, and to live in the present.

    • Victoria Lister

      I really like what you say Nicky. As women we are often so busy being so many things to so many people or striving in our work
      roles that we often leave ourselves behind in the process. The statistic you quote is quite revealing! If AI diseases are fundamentally about the body attacking itself, what is this saying about us as women? We can be our own worst enemy.
      Time to make some different choices.

  • Fortune

    Great article, hereditary may play a part including epigenetic changes and the ghost in your genes. You have tried very hard to get well and I believe I understand what you have gone through. In fact twice I have come across your articles by chance mirroring my thoughts. If you have a moment, please email me on [email protected]

  • HashimotosHappiness

    Sarah, I really like your blog and your work, but this post does those with autoimmune diseases no favors, and instead perpetuates the myth that women are hysterical and AI diseases are “all in people’s heads”. This viewpoint may be excellent clickbait for those suffering and feeling sorry for themselves, but this post is not empowering. TRUTH – Most AI disease is causes by a combination of genetics (many are hereditary – its not IF its WHEN), long-term environmental/medicinal/food-based systemic toxins in the body, and often triggered by viruses or low-grade illnesses that people are completely unaware of (a doctor will not bother to tell you that you had mono that you thought was the “flu” & it triggered your newfound thyroid disease, sometimes they don’t even know or its too late to bother) I agree that GI health and overall health can be affected by stress or anxiety, but it does not CAUSE autoimmune disease. #hashimotoshappy

  • Diana Michael

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  • ellie

    I can completely see this being one of the culprits. I recently began reading a book: Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, by John E Sarno, MD about repressed emotions such as anxiety and anger (which is not your own fault) are causing chronic pain. (I have a chronic pelvic pain disorder that I am replacing the words back with) The book has been teaching me a lot about the type of person this happens to and how to heal yourself, which fits me perfectly! I want to do more research on what Dr. Habib Sadeghi has on the matter but thanks so much for your insight!
    and to all of the people disagreeing, I think that each autoimmune disease is different and caused by different things, I think she has valid points but it may not relate to ALL chronic illnesses. her post is more towards people who can relate like myself, and I greatly appreciate her post.

  • Miss Bell

    I really like this article and had similar thoughts recently. I believe self-hatred or self condemning could occaisionally be a cause of autoimmune disease for some, but I believe that it is actually a side effect of auto immune disease. Once the causes of auto immune disease are corrected and put back into balance, your emotional health will correct itself as well. If this isn’t happening for you, you may need proffessional alternative help in healing your autoimmune condition. There are many factors involved and a complex process to heal from.

  • juntjoo

    Yes I agree and am ashamed(self hate?) to admit I’m not a woman but a man, supposedly, so it seems… or not(?). Where’s the men with auto-immune diseases page? There isn’t one. You have to be a woman to qualify. Well I don’t know where my comment is going but yes I agree that disease is rooted in one’s or the collective mind and I’m trying to find my way out and it’s definitely turning out to be more of a spiritual journey rather than physical one.

  • J

    Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

  • J

    Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

  • Alle

    I have rheumatoid arthritis and have since age 19. The disease causes anxiety, not the other way around. Diagnosis and treatment brings hope. This blogpost is pure bunk. This line of causation and correlation is from the dark ages of psychoanalytic reasoning. Science has come a long way with more to go. Terrible.

  • Lenn

    Hi, came across your article via a google search. This same principle popped up in my head today.

    I’m dealing with Graves disease for the third time in my life. You may know of it – Graves is a disease where the thyroid is attacked to work harder and harder – effectively making a person very ill.

    This morning I saw a parallel with how I feel about myself during the times that I have a flare-up. I always feel like I’m not getting enough done. Like I need to work harder and harder. And I’m frustrated and stressed that it’s not getting done.

    It’s… a very direct relation, now that I look at it in that manner. Last time I gave up that attitude as soon as I got sick, and I got better very quickly. I never related that to how I viewed my work ethics. It’s not until now that it happened the third time, and instead of giving up that view I started working harder ( I felt like I didn’t want to give up my goals for being sick ) and my bloodtest showed that the medication wasn’t working, that I was starting to put things together.

    I also think of cosmetics and food first, but now I’m thinking I need to work on my soul rather than my body…

  • Jami

    I had this theory also . Totally spot on.

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    and after he had fished making the cure he send it me in England through
    the help of (DHL) then i took it with the way he ask to now and am free
    of(lupus) you can email this doctor on his email at([email protected])email him for your cure. he also can any
    disease of any kind

  • Sarah unger

    Thought of anti depressants? Apparently they can settle the anxiety & digestive issues.

  • Randel DeWees

    Hi, I’m a chiropractor and science teacher in American Samoa. I came across your blog when I googled “correlation between prior emotional states as the possible cause of autoimmune diseases”. I have had this hypothesis for many years after seeing people I know directly and those, like Michael Jackson, who I don’t know directly come down with vitiligo, an autoimmune disease. What was common seemed to be there emotional states. We all know that Micheal had an obsession with how he looked and most likely some other deep seated emotional turmoil. The person I know was dealing with other conflicts like being a pastor of a church with a family but having homosexual in-the-closet relationships. While I’m not judging homosexual relationships, the fact that he was living a duel life totally opposite in philosophies must have caused some real emotional stress for him. Thanks for the blog as it shed some more light on a possible cause. What do you think?

    Dr. DeWees

  • Avidrae

    I’m glad I found this as I’ve been thinking my thoughts are manifestations of disease. Also how I behave …when it goes against the grain of who I am, just so I don’t upset other people or make them feel uncomfortable. It’s a learned behaviour passed down from my parents. Which is probably why we are predisposed to it……

  • Sarah

    Ever thought that the flare of anxiety that accompanies an autoimmune symptom flare…could also be a flare symptom. Ie the immune system attack is also triggering anxiety inducing chemicals…like histamine. Just a thought.

    I’m not negating the importance of sitting still and riding out those anxious feelings, of acknowledging them and separating them from yourself and of being careful not to fed them (and the flare)… but I think it’s JUST as important to drop the outdated Freudian thinking that goies behind simplistic statements like : self-hatred causes autoimmune diseases.

    That smacks of blaming the patient.

  • Lauren

    I usually enjoy Sarah and her honesty but I have to disagree with this dangerous and damaging opinion. Women unwell with serious, debilitating and invisible illness are trivialised enough. Yes we do need real cures as many of us suffer living deaths NOT anxiety or female self hatred. I’m disappointed with this trivialising from someone who has a voice to help women too ill to fight for awareness.

  • According to nitwit Sarah Wilson “female self-hatred is the cause of autoimmune disease”. Wonder how that works with me considering I’m a man with multiple autoimmune diseases. But off course its insane New Age nonsense, to put it mildly. What Sarah Wilson is speading is hate by blaming the victim and she is actually encouraging self-hatred by blaming, in this case, women for apparantly not loving themselves enough and thereby making themselves sick or at least preventing themselves to heal. In that case we can easily turn the table on Sarah Wilson and blame her for inflicting damage upon us by the spread of (self-)hatred. We could even say that, considering that stress, sadness and anguish worsen autoimmune diseases, Sarah Wilson is the cause of our worsen illnesses so we should get rid of her. And suddenly it all sounds so much more logical, doesn’t it?In other words, ignore this fool! It will heal you 😉

  • Cara

    This is such a provocative article! I admit I was stunned and taken aback by the title, Could female self-hatred be the real cause of your autoimmune disease? But I think you are onto something. I’m very interested in childhood trauma and how that plays a part in autoimmunity. Women have learned to self hate, it’s not something we are born with. After a number of adverse childhood experiences, we learn we are not good enough as we are and therefore have to push ourselves, deny the expression of our emotions and creativity, and focus too much outward. Is it a coincidence we are living in a patriarchal society? I don’t think so. So how can we nourish ourselves, celebrate ourselves, accept ourselves, express ourselves and love ourselves more each day?

  • caroline veunac

    Dear Sarah

    Thank you so very much for this wonderful post. I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s a few months ago (but I’ve been suffering the symptoms for years), and I’m sill on the recovery path. Dietary changes, yoga and meditation and a fair amount of Levothyroxine (I firmly believe in an holistic approach with takes the best from western medicine and alternative approaches) have already make my symptoms a lot better. But I still have some pretty bad flares up, and I now deep within that if I want to find the balance, I have to let go with my perfectionism. I’ve been moved to tears when you tell about you sitting and feeling what’s behind the flare up, that same self-anxiety which I know too well myself. This urge to control everything about yourself and your environment, as if a catastrophe could happen if you stopped doing it… Of course it’s a women’s burden, I can see it because in my case, a flare up often starts when I feel angry with the man who shares my life, when I resent him for not helping achieving my perfect unreachable vision of the world. Through him I think I resent all the men for putting this burden on women’s shoulders. And it’s not fair because my mate is a loving and understanding person who just happens to have a type B personality – I wish I could be that way too, maybe it’s easier for men and that’s not fair too.

    Anyway, I’ve come to think that sisterhood is a key element to understand autoimmune disease, share experiences and find new perspectives to get better. A blog like yours is a place where every women who feel isolated can realize they’re not alone. Its very precious, than you very much. I live in Paris, France, but I hope you can feel my gratefulness and good feelings form the distance. I’ll keep visiting your blog !

    Best regards !

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  • Alice Grange

    Hi there, Have you tried EFT Tapping on those feelings of self hatred and anxiety?

  • Trish

    I love your book and everything about it, First we make the beast beautiful….how utterly enchanting is that title for starters? My daughter presented it to me for mother’s day and I have to say I shed a few happy tears. It was simply the acknowledgement of my struggle. And you really have illuminated a very powerful healing path….love and acceptance of self.

  • Lynn Brown

    This was reposted in a group — I hope you are still looking at this blog post or get a notification — because I sincerely want to tell you that you are full of bull clear up to the bull’s bum. — auto immune illness are genetic; just like more men tend to deal with muscle wasting dx, women tend to have more immune issues —- it is how we have passed on genetic illness …. you’re misguided and should remove this dangerous post. You are simply adding more guilt and stress on to people that are already distressed because they have health issues that are difficult to treat. When you get a cancer dx you ask how long before your cured; when you get an auto immune dx you wonder if the treatment will make you feel better — unlike cancer there is NO cure and people DO die from ai issues …. horrible horrible horrible way to treat other women.

  • sjm

    Really?! Really?! Autoimmune diseases have yet to skip a generation in my family. I was the kid that hated to be called on and sat in back of class. This “hypothesis” is laughable. So far the theory making the most sense is The Cleanliness Hypothesis, you might want to read up on that one. 😂

  • Katarina Gonzalez

    I wish i knew how to love myself though. No matter what i try, it doesn’t come
    And the fact that i have MPD doesnt help it either. I wish i knew the answer