“Female illness is not all in the mind” and 19 other things I’d like you to know about unreasoned e-blowouts

Last week I wrote a post that discussed my personal experience of how my anxiety affects my autoimmune disease. News Ltd asked to share (an extended version) on their site, too.

I have written about autoimmune disease – as well as my anxiety – regularly for four years. I write such posts with a lot of care, and mindfulness, and from a place of vulnerability. I’m aware of the vulnerable position others with the same disease are in, because I’m usually in that exact position when I write the posts.

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via This Wild Idea

I write when I feel stuff. I write autoimmune posts when I’m in pain.

I try very hard to not engage in online nastiness nor arguments where the protagonist and/or line is one I don’t respect. I write about this often, too.

But I do feel an obligation to make things clear to readers here on this blog who’ve become confused – or are hurt and defensive – from online blowouts that implicate me.

There was one such blowout over the weekend, which I will now respond to with care and vulnerability.

1. I do not claim to know why (all) women get sick. I was accused of this over the weekend by one blogger writing on Mamamia.com. I posed the question (in my headline): Could female self-hatred be the real cause of autoimmune disease?  I then wrote about my personal experience with this phenomenon.

2. I did not speak out on all illness. My post was about autoimmune disease very specifically. I refer to my take on the theory espoused in the very clear context of Hashimotos, the disease I suffer from.

3. It’s always good to read the original post. I invite anyone inclined to opine on this subject to please read what I actually wrote.

4. News Ltd erroneously went with the headline “Is self-hatred making us sick?”. This was not my headline. This morning I requested it be amended and the team at News very kindly are doing so.

5. Please be aware the mind-body connection with autoimmune is already well-established. It’s not woo-woo speak. Please feel free to do some background reading here and here.

6. Please also be aware that science can’t pinpoint a “cause” for many autoimmune diseases. Anyone with such a disease knows how frustrating and depressing this reality can be. And so all kinds of factors need to be explored. I do this regularly and by way of a wide and open discussion with readers here on this blog. I invite feedback and ideas and sharing. I share other experts’ ideas and theories. All of this assists with my own healing, and that of others. Knowing you’re no Robinson Crusoe is quite the salve. (Check out some of these posts  here and here.) My post last week is part of this ongoing series of inquiry.

7. Context is king…  and it’s always good to read the original post.

8. Self-love does not cure autoimmune disease. I don’t believe in cures. Ergo, throughout my post I put mention of “cures” in “inverted-so-called-tongue-in-cheek-knowing-commas”.  Management and modulation is key to staying sane and (as) well (as you can) with AI. In the post I refer to self-love being a way to heal not cure the damn disease.

9. Did I mention context is king and that it’s really good to read the original post? Hey, knock yourself out and read my backlog of AI posts.

10. Genetics is also a “cause” of my autoimmune disease.  I say as such in most of my AI posts and, indeed, in the News Ltd post. I can’t speak for others…that’s the thing about AI, it’s different for everyone.

11. I have also previously discussed the role of environment, gluten, cosmetic toxins and sugar. I refer to there being a clusterf*ck of factors that can contribute to AI.

12. Pointing out a mind-body connection is not the same as saying something is all in the head. It might be fun and easy to plant such an idea. But simple reasoning can’t sustain it. On a personal note – I really am personally hurt that I’d be accused of something so odious after writing about mental illness and anxiety for so long. I don’t make a song and dance of my utterances, but I expect them to be considered and respected before I’m e-shredded.

13. I’m insulted and frustrated that harmful reasoning has been applied to my writing and to such a personal subject. And that such “reasoning” has led people to become upset.

14.  Please note: Prior to Sunday, my post garnered wholly positive, grateful feedback. People had read the article. It resonated. I also got a lot of direct feedback from other journalists, some wanting to republish the piece as they’d seen the positive response.

15.  Mean, harmful reasoning spawns mean unreasonableness. I avoid this in all aspects of my life. I don’t respect it. I ignore it mostly. And I think it’s incredibly irresponsible and base for journalists and writers to fuel it in humanity. This is not what we need right now.

16. I don’t write these very vulnerable autoimmune posts as click-bait. I don’t troll. I’m deeply committed to this. 

17.  I’m insulted and upset my careful, mindful sharing about my disease has been likened to Mark Latham’s recent attack on mothers with depression.  Although, that said, I really can’t see the reasoned parallel.

18.  Some responsibility is required when dealing with topics such as anxiety and illnesses affected by stress. I say this is an experienced, trained journalist, not as someone who suffers chronically with anxiety and Hashimotos. Flaring up issues unnecessarily, erroneously and/or carelessly when it involves someone who suffers either a mental or a stress-related illness is unethical and irresponsible. I will speak personally on this, too. I spent the weekend managing the e-blowout as best I could. It all took its toll. Thankfully I’ve been exploring this topic for so long that I do have considerable resiliency these days.

19.  As I also quoted last week, “Resiliency always resides in the richest soil”.

I invite you all to feel free to comment below. But implore you to read my original post and to keep your comments mindful and reasonable. Please do speak out, however. I’m at the end of my tether with the baseness of these e-attacks. I’m fed up with what it brings out in everyone – it’s not good. It doesn’t serve humanity. It takes us backwards. For the purposes of making sure you can “always read the original post”, I’ll place a link to what ignited the blowout here.

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