So, I have this theory. And the reason I have it is because I’m a part of several (and even run my own) autoimmune support groups and communities, where I’ve been privileged enough to connect with such amazing people and hear so many of my fellow autoimmune warriors’ stories.

It’s through these stories and connections that have led me to begin noticing patterns. These patterns have nothing really to do with the condition or disease itself though; instead, these patterns have everything to do with common characteristics that keep coming up amongst us within the community.

EVOLUTION & BACKGROUND OF THE THEORY

I think these common characteristics are part of why I think all of you are my spirit animals (aka my tribe) – because we have so much in common and can relate to how each other are wired. But it also got me thinking: are these common personality traits amongst those of us who struggle with autoimmunity more than just coincidence? Could the way we’re wired actually contribute to our conditions? My gut/intuition tells me yes, and there are studies out there (<<just some Google examples) that corroborate my thinking.

In fact, there is even a relatively new study of science that is gaining traction and attention called Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), which is defined by Professor Kavita Vedhara, world-renowned expert in PNI as, “the science of the connections between the mind and the body.” Another definition of PNI that Professor Vedhara gives that taps into the relationship to autoimmunity is “the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body.”  

By now, I think that this is something we all are at least semi-aware of – that stress and our mental states can, and do, affect the progression (and existence) of our conditions. But what I don’t see is a lot of discussion about what those certain personality traits, characteristics and belief sets actually are. That’s why I want to start this discussion, because I believe that understanding ourselves is the first step in being able to unravel some of the puzzle that is chronic illness.

FULL DISCLOSURE…

Before I dive into giving the 15 commonalities I believe may exist amongst those of us with autoimmunity conditions, I need to make three disclosures (please don’t skip over these):

  1. I am not a doctor, a social scientist (although I suppose I do have a college “minor” in Sociology…hehe), or a psychologist, and I make no claims to be one. This is not an official theory or one that I’ve tested or proven or anything like that. It’s just simply something I’ve been thinking about for a while and wanted to bring into the limelight. So, basically what I’m saying is that I have no credentials to support this theory whatsoever, except my own curiosity and tendency to over-analyze the $hit out of most things, while being really observant and sharply inclined to pick up on the idiosyncrasies of most people I come into contact with. 😉 
  2. Sort of ties in with #1 but again – this is not a tried and tested theory. I don’t even know if you all will find ONE of these true for you, let alone all of them. So, take it with a grain of salt. If I do happen to be super spot-on, then that’s great, but don’t overthink it. All of these traits are amazing qualities to embody and make us all freakin’ superheros! It’s just that when applied to our physical systems, my theory is that these idiosyncrasies may have a rougher time being “digested” by our bodies. In other words, this list is not meant to invoke more anxiety or additional feelings of shame, insecurity or self-blame; it’s just meant to start to unveil some commonalities that we all share. Through this connection and self-empowerment through awareness, I’m hoping that we can all help each other go a little bit deeper into ourselves and use this as a jumping-off point for more advanced healing.  
  3. This list is also not meant to say if you do exhibit some of these traits, that you DO or WILL (or that your children, family members, loved ones, etc. do or will) have an autoimmune condition or chronic illness. Now, I suppose my theory is meant to say if you have MOST of these traits, then yes maybe you’d be more inclined towards those conditions (otherwise why would we be talking about this right now? :)) But still, this is not intended to diagnose, pre-diagnose, or lead to any self-fulfilling prophecies. :)

Without further ado, here are the traits/characteristics/beliefs that form the backbone of what I’m calling the “Autoimmunity + Personality” theory. I may add or subtract to this list in the future, but this is just where my head’s at right now.

THE AUTOIMMUNE + PERSONALITY THEORY: COMMON THREADSautoimmunity personality theory

I believe that people with autoimmunity or chronic illness may possess a number of the following characteristics or belief systems:

  1. A tendency towards perfectionist tendencies
  2. Are Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs)
  3. Feel more comfortable “playing it safe”
  4. Lean toward being “Type A” personalities
  5. Have an ongoing fear of letting people down, or being wrong
  6. Have a tendency toward introversion (still may be social introverts though)
  7. Are “Maximizers” or over-achievers
  8. Have trouble saying “no”
  9. Tend to be very hard on themselves; expect and push themselves to be able to meet their own high self-expectations
  10. Self-conscious about who they are; afraid to show people who they really are or let people in
  11. More prone to anxiety and worry
  12. Inclined to be more open to having spiritual and “alternative” healing experiences
  13. Dislike feeling out of control
  14. Have spent a majority of their life feeling like they “don’t quite fit in” or like they are “misunderstood”
  15. Have endured some sort of memorable traumatic event or upbringing (remember, “trauma” is different to the beholder; some may experience trauma going to war, some may classify trauma as being in a car wreck, while others may internalize trauma from growing up around alcoholic parents, being bullied at school, or falling down the stairs in front of a large group of people. Chances are, if the event or situation is seared into your memory and can still elicit a psycho-physical reaction in you, then your body and mind may be holding onto it as a traumatic event)

FEEDBACK & FINAL WORDS

So, what do you think? Did any of these resonate with you? Could you relate to any of these? I’d truly love to hear your thoughts about my list, as well as the general topic of how (or if) common personality traits and experiences correlate to a propensity toward chronic illnesses like autoimmunity, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.

I truly think that if we can continue to get to know ourselves, explore the relationship between personality and disease, and find the links within this “psychoneuroimmunology” area of study, that we are going to be able to take our awareness and understanding of autoimmunity and how to heal it to a whole new level.

And my hope is that by gaining more awareness about the characteristics that make up who we are, we can start to love the heck out of them and find more productive outlets for some of these traits. In this way, I believe we can help our traits and experiences to actually serve our bodies, instead of causing it to fight against itself.

 

103 thoughts on “My Autoimmunity + Personality Theory: Could Common Personality Traits be Linked to Autoimmunity?

  1. Erin

    I can check each of these off (or could have at least in previous years). Thankfully this whole healing journey has inspired lots of self-reflection, diving into my personal muck and mire – and working through it. It’s not easy, pretty, or fun. But I believe it is necessary and allows me to get more healing under my belt (mind / body / soul). Great post! Curious to see others weigh in.

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      Thanks, Erin – glad you found that these were true for you! I agree with you about the self-reflection piece of healing; it’s definitely necessary and to me, is a blessing in disguise because it has helped take my life to the next level. 😀

      Reply

  2. Sophie Van Tiggelen

    Mitch, did you write this post with me specifically in mind? LOL I absolutely recognize myself in almost all of the personality traits you describe. Just like Erin, I have had to delve deep into my past and work through trauma. I am glad I came to know myself better and I understand better now how I “function”. It’s all good. But self-care is primordial!

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      lol yes, basically, Sophie! 😉 Crazy how it’s seeming a lot of us can relate to having these traits, and how our conditions have led us to dig deeper into ourselves and become more aware of how we function. Thanks for reading and sharing!

      Reply

  3. Kerri

    Your post nearly perfectly correlates with Gabor Mate’s writings in “When the Body Says No.” A great read that I highly recommend. And, yes, I have all of those traits and autoimmune issues as well.

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      I’ll have to check those writings out! I’m not familiar, but if it’s along these lines then I’m sure I’d enjoy. Thanks! :)

      Reply

      1. Joanna

        I LOVE ‘When the Body Says No”! Definitely worth looking into, Mitch (especially with your ‘minor’ in sociology!

        Looks like you struck a MASSIVE chord with this theory, my friend!

        Reply

  4. Emma

    This is me!!! I totally connect to each of the descriptions. Love here your take on this as it is often something I’ve thought about. Keep up the good work!

    Reply

  5. Eliza

    Um…YES. I can check 13 out of 15 boxes on that list. I’m just starting to allow myself to consider that a stressful childhood may have contributed to my current situation (it has felt like a betrayal of my parents to even consider it), and it certainly shaped me into an over-achieving, anxious, hard-on-myself person. That worked for me for a while but, nope, not anymore. Thanks for this post, Mitch!

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      That makes complete sense what you said about your childhood and how it feels like a betrayal to even think about it; I wrestle with that all the time because my parents are amazing people and I had a joy of a childhood, but still…being a HSP, you just absorb EVERYTHING – good and bad. I’m still working on making peace with all of it. :) Glad to hear you’ve realized what works and what doesn’t for you anymore; I hope it’s helping you heal!

      Reply

  6. Judi Sparre

    You’ve hit the nail on the head! I could tick off most of your list. Having recently read the connection between childhood trauma & autoimmune disease I believe this is extremely important in our healing. I’m a psychic medium & on a soul level we have all chosen to experience these challenges on earth to grow our soul. Spiritual people are given many challenges in life. Many blessings for your insight

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      I believe the link between trauma and healing is so important, as well. Thanks for sharing your experience and keep doing your great work!

      Reply

    2. Harriet

      Exactly, I would never have explored my soul like I have had I not had my autoimmune disease. It is a gift. Every time I have a flare I am made acutely aware of the fact that I need to look inward and to love myself. It has made me grow an awareness of myself like nothing else could ever have.

      Reply

  7. Kate

    I’m wondering if those of us who develop autoimmunity have (or developed) these personalities as adaptations as a coping mechanism to deal with the trauma from our childhood. Have you heard of https://acestoohigh.com/ ? Super interesting. I also wonder if you’ve read “The Last Best Cure” by Donna Jackson Nakazawa… that’s where I first heard about the relationship between a high ACE score and autoimmunity. I know that a high score can be associated with other chronic diseases though, so going back to your theory, I wonder if there is something about how we adapt our personality characteristics that influences our physiology in such a way where autoimmunity is the most likely “chronic illness” outcome.

    Thanks for putting your thoughts out there!! 😀 And yes, I identify with almost all of the above, do consider myself to have come from an abusive background, and have an autoimmune skin disorder!

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      Hey Kate – thanks for the note! I haven’t read any of Donna’s books but you’re the second or third person to mention a book from her so it sounds like I need to stock up on her work! Such interesting stuff. 😀

      Reply

  8. Celia Forrest

    Me too, wonderful thoughts and will allow many to see the issues for what they are and start the healing process.
    Alberto Villoldo book “One spirit medicine” is a very good red along these lines.

    Reply

  9. Di

    Wow, totally spot on with my personality. I found myself nodding at every one of them. So uncanny that you have noticed such common traits in people with autoimmunity!!

    Reply

  10. Linda Wenglikowski

    Interesting list of personality treats. I do think more of us are type A personalities that have autoimmune conditions. You know some of the recent studies show that their might be a link between people who have Gluten Sensitivity and depression. Even one study out that found anti-bodies to grain proteins other than gluten in wheat, rye, barley, and malt, like in corn and quinoa to name a couple of GF grains. That study determined that about 56% of the people with anti-gliadin antibodies (and some even had anti-gad antibodies as well). Although I can’t put my fingers on the link to that study, I’ll add some links for people to read up on this themselves. https://celiac.org/blog/2014/07/gluten-may-cause-depression-people-non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity/ https://chriskresser.com/3-reasons-gluten-intolerance-may-be-more-serious-than-celiac-disease/ https://www.glutenfreesociety.org/gluten-sensitivity-a-cause-for-anxiety-depression-and-migraine/ http://kellybroganmd.com/two-foods-may-sabotage-brain/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3641836/
    http://www.wellnessresources.com/health/articles/the_many_faces_of_gluten_intolerance/

    Reply

  11. Leslie McDonald

    This is so fascinating. I was reading through the list and nodding my head in agreement to every single one of them! There’s so much to still learn about Autoimmune Diseases but it’s comforting to know we have a community that supports all of us here!

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      Yes, absolutely, Leslie! I think we’re just starting to scratch the surface in our understanding of autoimmunity. :) Thanks for reading.

      Reply

  12. Michele

    Well, in regards to your disclosures, I am a therapist specializing in the treatment of childhood sexual abuse/PTSD. All of the items in your list are signs/symptoms of trauma.

    Reply

  13. Jenni

    Great post! Yup, all 15 apply to me, and I have an autoimmune disease. #15 reminded me of a book I have seen called “Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal” by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. I wasn’t sure if you’ve already run across or read the book yourself. I haven’t had the chance to read it personally so I can’t speak for it, but it definitely piqued my interest. I hope to read it in the future!
    Thanks for helping us all feel like we’re not alone in this!

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      How interesting – that book sounds right up my alley; I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for reading and sharing. :)

      Reply

  14. Sharon

    13/15
    Many only truly identified after diagnosis with an autoimmune disease….everything open to introspection, dissection and sitting in deep 💩 to be present and open to the acceptance.

    Reply

  15. Deborah

    Yup Mitch. Spot on….and today marks 48 years ago thar my dad died in a terrible industrial accident. I was 8. He was my world…

    Reply

  16. Christine Grisham

    Great article. I’m an acupuncturist and one of my specialties is treating autoimmune diseases. I have one myself, and definitely see all of these traits commonly among my patients (and me, too). It makes perfect sense that people either turn in on themselves or lash out at the world to deal with their trauma and stress, and personality characteristics seem to greatly influence behavior–> and, ultimately, our health.

    Reply

  17. Lorna

    I can see it. Fascinating thing is, this disease (systemic scleroderma) cured me of a lot of that anxiety. I am now being kinder to myself and others because my time may be short. Now I am pretty much Teflon because, wanting to avoid stress in an attempt at self-preservation, I explore other ways to view situations. I have adopted an “everybody wins” approach, ensuring that I also have a win.

    I have also committed to being very honest about my feelings and have pruned my social circle to include only healthy minded people. I come off as strong, but I have always been a ball of anxiety and self loathing. That had to end for healing to begin.

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      Beautifully put, and I’m so happy to hear about all of those incredibly positive changes you’ve made to your lifestyle and mindset! Thanks for sharing, Lorna. :)

      Reply

  18. Deborah Hulsewede

    I have only 4 of these traits. I lived in an alcoholic household, lost my boyfriend in Vietnam. Also, worked in high stress occupation with adult oncology patients and last 18 months with pediatric oncology patients. I have Hashimoto’s and lichens planopilaris causing scarring alopecia. I also have past physical stresses, i.e.,rubella, varicella, mononucleosis, trench mouth, ruptured appendix with peritonitis.

    Reply

  19. Eileen Wosnack

    NOPE! Out of the entire list, I could only find 2 ‘sort ofs’ and the rest were definitely not, or are you kidding me not. While the personality and the AI traits may be true for most, there are exceptions, I guess and I am definitely one. I would say I am the complete opposite of that profile. Food for thought.

    Reply

  20. Michelle

    That is me to a ‘T’! I went down the list ticking them off one by one! I currently suffer from an autoimmune disease the Rheumatologist currently has labelled as Inflammatory Arthropathy. I’m currently going through the diagnostic process.

    Reply

  21. Harriet

    Yup, I have an autoimmune condition and this is me. I’m a doctor and I see a lot of people with autoimmune diseases as well and it fits most of them as well. The body always shows us a very literal picture of what our mental/emotional/spiritual state is. With this type of personality our body shows us how we break ourselves down, we attack ourselves with our thoughts of not being good enough etc, so our cells literally attack each other. Whenever I’m going through a flare it is almost always in a time where I have self doubt and lack of self worth.

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      So great to hear you and others making this connection between body and mind. I hope more and more doctors can begin to see this like you, too!

      Reply

  22. Clair

    I think the biomedical model fails on so many levels to account for illness,more so as it didn’t seem to appreciate that disease could manifest from within, attributed by emotions or thoughts. Psychoneuroimmunology is a breath of fresh air but I think we still have a long way to go. The research carried by the CDC re ACEs (Adverse childhood events) points to an exciting discovery about ‘traumatic’ situations experienced by a body (in this case in childhood) can be held onto and prove better predictors of ill health than lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking etc. When you consider the definition of what a child could interpret as ‘trauma’ it’s likely we are ALL carrying ACEs within in. So the sceptical comment; for medical bodies to consider ACEs, would mean acknowledging illness is not something that invades us and therefore solved with wonderfully expensive pharmaceutical which in turn create side effect that other costly pills could resolve (and so continues the snowball effect and increased bank balance for pharma) but instead the need to look at human behaviour, care and support and invest in talking therapies ie investment in people rather than products to consume.

    Reply

    1. TroyH

      And mobilizing systems and efforts to support optimal early childhood development (e.g., healthy, secure parent- or caregiver-infant attachment relationships, quality affordable child care, longer paid parental leave policies, quality early childhood education, etc) and reduce risk/prevalence of ACEs. Optimizing early childhood social and emotional development pays dividends in improved short- and long-term health and well-being outcomes! Very exciting!

      Reply

    2. Mitch Post author

      Thank you for this really insightful comment, Clair! I’ve also done a lot of research on ACEs and think that’s such an important component to healing ALL types of chronic illness, as I think trauma built up in the body contributes to a lot of disease. Keep the discussion going so we can fight for acknowledgement from “larger” bodies of medicine! 😀

      Reply

  23. Karin

    Interesting theory! For sure there been some trauma in my life and I can recognize myself in the personality you describes.

    Reply

  24. Barbara

    Oh my, out of 15 I’ve ticked of 12!!! How accurate is this & so enlightened!! So been working on these for the past 15months, I firmly believe that I can win this battle tho, as I tell myself everyday that I’m healed & that’s that!!!!

    Reply

  25. Athena Roxas

    Hi yes thank s all my sister she has Hashimoto’s. She finds it hard to deal with life sometimes. She needs to meet people that she can relate to..

    Reply

  26. Leanne

    Wow, yes to all of these and agree with everyones comments. Its an espensive and draining all consuming process working through things from the past, the body and mind and mind are incredible, learnt so much about spirituality on my journey. Accupunture and reflexology and chakra cleaning has been incredibly helpful for me

    Reply

  27. Inge

    Yes! I can tick off most (if not all, when I include the past and who I was at the start of my autoimmunity) of these 15 characteristics. Extraordinary :)

    Reply

  28. Andrea

    Yes, these traits are clearly present. But through this autoimmune journey the last 5 years (hashimotos) its caused me to rethink my health my diet my purpose my partner because its made me to take a closer look at things. The psychological side is definitely the toughest hurdle. I also have an overwelming concern for the undiagnosed. If more people know they could feel better then they would psychologically feel better. We need to keep working on this gut brain connection to make a more peaceful world.

    Reply

  29. Jan

    Jan, October 22, 10:00 am
    Yes, I think that you have opened up a new truth about autoimmune problems. I have most of the “qualities” on your list. I am so sensitive to other people and their feelings, and I feel what they are feeling. I internalize everything, and worry is my middle name. My mind is always going, always thinking. I am a first born, so I thought that is why I always have to try be “perfect”. Your list makes so much sense. I have been following your website, and appreciate all the help you have given me and others.

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      Thank you for following along, Jan. And I’m glad to hear this resonated with you – I’m the same way about internalizing everything and having my mind move 100 miles per hour all the time. I have to be really careful about that and I have turned to meditation to help quiet and calm my mind. Best wishes to you!

      Reply

  30. Vera

    Great article. I’ve thought about writing about this topic based on the number of patients see with gut issues and that have unresolved trauma. I would like to add here that my research has also led to the discovery that “co-dependent personalities” exhibit much of these traits and are prone to disease.

    **Check out these links for more info:

    https://www.recoveryconnection.com/top-ten-indicators-suffer-codependency/

    http://coda.org/index.cfm/newcomers/patterns-and-characteristics-of-codependence/

    Reply

  31. m ree

    This totally describes me also. BUT I know many, many people that it does NOT describe that have these same AI problems and due to their way of thinking, will not consider doing anything alternative and just stay sick. So, I agree that the ones who find/seek resolution are as described in your article, but I also know there are just as many with the same problems but don’t have the mindset to seek resolution outside the mainstream because they are not independent self thinkers but only followers.
    Thanks for the article, it’s always nice to see like minded people join to help each other.

    Reply

  32. Lisa

    I *know* with absolute certainty that events from my childhood that shaped my personality into the adult I became that seemed to have a target on my back and the word “sucker” across my forehead were the reasons I developed autoimmune diseases. I may have had a genetic predisposition but AI was a foregone conclusion for me before I ever hit my teens… I tick every single box. This makes all the sense to me in the world. Wouldn’t it be amazing to find a way to circumvent all the triggers?

    Reply

  33. Laura

    YES to all of the above!! Thanks for this post. Any suggestions for starting to work on all this? Also, you are very funny, so thanks for the laughs (when reading your other blog posts)! :)

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      Thank you – I’m glad you find the posts funny and inspiring! I am working on developing some content that is more “actionable” so hopefully we can all start turning this self-awareness into actions that can help us heal and dissolve those things that are maybe holding us back. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

      Reply

  34. TroyH

    Spooky, 15/15. I am new to this community and the autoimmune connection, but am very familiar with HSP literature and my sense of belonging there. Almost makes me teary to find another group of similar-minded people (really felt like an outsider, freak and square peg most of my life). Seems to be fewer men/males again in the responders, something I have also noticed in the HSP sites. Maybe not. However, I’ve noticed it is hard to be a heterosexual male and be accepted by both men and women in many similar groups (by men, because there seem to fewer numbers and by women, because of the inherent societal pressure to not have opposite sex friends in adulthood outside of “couple friends”). Therefore, I might add “tendency toward” or “prone to isolation and depression”, as well.

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      I hear you on the issue of men being a minority in the AI space; I’m actually working on an blog post to explore that very topic coming up here soon! I’m glad you’ve been able to find us, Troy – it sounds like this is right where you belong. :)

      Reply

  35. Sue Pidgeon

    I can relate to nearly all of these myself, and agree that the totality of our being, our past experiences, our self image, our ways of managing stress, etc. all impact our physical being. My one caveat to your ideas is that your experiences with others in the on-line communities is somewhat skewed toward people who are choosing to pursue a similar approach to healing, and may not be representative of all people with autoimmune diseases.

    Reply

  36. Sally

    So accurate!! I have lupus,hashimotos and shortens syndrome with a dash of reynauds on the side. I can relate to many who have responded.

    Reply

  37. Cindy

    Yes, my adult daughter who has NMO, meets all these traits. I always felt that she’d get very ill one day because she’d take the weight of the world on her shoulders.

    Reply

  38. Kylie

    It’s wonderful to see these thoughts articulated, Mich, and how you have brought together so many people who feel the same way. I have Graves Disease and yes, I am firmly an A- type and have observed much of what you have in the people I meet and read about with autoimmunity. I have also read broadly about trauma, gut health, immunity and various holistic approaches to health and have tried many. I have been on the healing journey long enough to see the way body responds to mind and mind responds to spirit. I live in the UK but have lived in the US also (though hail from neither place), and it interests me that there are such high numbers of autoimmunity in the US. As a result, this is where much of the really interesting research is being done – for instance in functional medicine. I wonder if the culture of fear (guns etc) is as much part of that profile as the high-sugar and high-carb diets, pollution, food additives, and also other toxins, including consumerism, certain types of media etc. We are living in a time of great change and, to my mind, the healing path can be profound and self-revelatory as so many of your wonderful respondents here have confirmed. If we can first heal ourselves then we can do some real good in a world that sorely needs it!

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      I think our culture certainly contributes to the formation of autoimmunity! There’s definitely a reason there’s more autoimmunity now than ever before. Great points and thanks for reading from the UK! :)

      Reply

  39. Gab

    I found much of this true! The Only ones that are not true of me are: I’m not Type A and I’m not an over-achiever.
    You mentioned tendency toward introversion (even if a social introvert) did you mean to say a social extrovert? Because I’m an introvert who is very outgoing socially.

    I’d like to add a few characteristics to your list.
    1) highly intelligent
    2) very kind
    3) incredibly good looking.
    😊😜

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      Lol I like that last one! And nope, I meant social introvert. It’s a misconception, I think, that just because you’re introverted by nature means you also dislike being social, or can’t have moments of extroversion. So I really like to point out the distinction between “introvert” and “social introvert.” :)

      Reply

  40. Lynn Olijnyk

    This seems to have some serious significance. I am wondering if the genetic mutation is always there, but trauma triggers a response from the body? Very interesting!

    Reply

  41. Lori

    Yes to most of these. It is uncanny the way we all have these traits in common. I wonder if maybe part of it is these personality characteristics also lead us to be more demanding patients that don’t give up until we have a diagnosis? I know there are many people who have issues / symptoms but just flit from doctor to doctor without getting a diagnosis or proper treatment. Just a thought. I totally believe the whole nurturing our soul aspect of having a chronic illness. I have learned so much and grown so much on this journey, and plan to continue to do so for many years to come. Interesting survey, and I hope to read more on the subject with the books / works mentioned in the comments.

    Reply

  42. Scot

    Mitch and Britt there is a HUGE logical problem with the argument you are tabling. While there may be a statistically significant CORRELATION between disease and the traits you list, that does not confirm CAUSATION. In fact, based on the last few years of research being done on the effect of the microbes in our gut on our behaviour, it is far more likely that we will soon confirm that our “idiosyncrasies” have a lot more to do with the microbial cocktail in our guts than anything else, such as past traumas (however, if a trauma was acute enough to suppress one’s immune system it could allow a microbe to take root in the body whereas if the immune system was acting normally it would easily deal with the microbe). Many papers on the new microbiome research are available on the net and I recommend everyone read them before perpetuating notions that our thoughts, conscious or unconscious, or behaviour patterns are the primary cause of disease. This is a summary of some from Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-health-may-depend-on-creatures-in-the-gut/

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      Thanks for your comment and offering your alternative perspective, Scot. I very much agree with the literature that supports the idea of the gut and microbiome playing a huge role in out health, particularly when it comes to autoimmune disease. In regard to this particular conversation, it just sounds like we’re approaching it through different philosophies, both of which may very well be valid depending on if we’re looking at things through a medical or emotional/mental lens. :)

      Reply

  43. calli blau

    Yes! Everywhere I go I notice patterns and connections like this. I think it’s my specialty. I’m working on the externalizing part. Probably a major key in healing is feeling comfortable talking outloud. Thanks for sharing your observations!

    Reply

  44. Katie Townsend-Merino

    Yes. Yes and Yes. So much to learn still, but I think it may be one of the environmental/social factors that influence our biology. And why, beyond nutrition, the changes I have made in my life to reduce stress have been so instrumental. Trained to teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction with UMass as it provided me the tools I needed to reduce my own reactivity to being sick. That and retire after being a Psych Prof for 30 years!

    Reply

    1. Mitch Post author

      Yes – the mindfulness piece is so important. My symptoms (and I think all AI symptoms, probably) are 100% correlated with my stress levels. So glad you’ve been exploring these environmental/behavioral factors as well!

      Reply

  45. Kat Risley

    Have you noticed any correlation between specific types of diseases with specific traits? For example; if lots of allergies/sensitivities are common among those with PTSD and fearful anxiety, or if osteoarthritis is at all linked with people who put unrealistic demands on themselves in the name of seeking purpose through taking care of others? Since a fellow autoimmune sufferer mentioned this hypothesis to me, I’ve been hoping to find more such examples. I’m attempting to use SDN (Self-directed Neuroplasticity) to reshape myself a little, and hopefully even rewire some of the personality traits that may be influencing my hippocampus’ disfunction.
    Please let me know if you hear of any such thoughts, or especially if there are any actual studies.
    Kat (a sufferer of allergies, degrading spine, digestive issues, etc…)

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    1. Mitch Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Kat (and sorry for the lag-time in responding). I personally believe there are commonalities between certain diseases and traits, yes! Still, there’s not a ton of studies out there to support it – it’s sort of just a theory I’m exploring. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend looking into the book Messages From The Body – it is like an encyclopedia of every single disease / condition / injury possible, and the emotional or mental reasons associated with it. It is uncanny how spot-on it is! Best of luck in your journey :)

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