Updated: Aug 26, 2020
Writing letters to the 'inner child' is a widely used healing tool in therapy. If we are looking to heal from childhood trauma, it can really help writing letters to your 5-year-old self and telling them how loved they are and giving them support etc. It is a powerful method of healing.
This can still work for any past version of yourself. Now, even though I was 26 at the time of being officially diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, I still felt that it would be therapeutic to write a letter to myself back then. I thought I would share this letter with you to hopefully help all those who have just been diagnosed, as I am writing from a place where I've learnt that healing is possible. Some things are more personal to me so may not apply to you, but I had an intuitive feeling to share this:
Dear 26-year-old me,
I know that you are struggling physically and mentally right now. It feels like your whole world is crumbling beneath your feet. You feel out-of-control and completely overwhelmed. After 8 months of constant pain in trying to figure out what was wrong with you despite being told that you are mad and it’s all in your head, you finally found out you had Hashimoto’s.
I want to let you know that everything will be ok, everything will work out, and it IS totally possible to heal from this disease. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy - in fact, the healing journey can be hard, it can be long, it can feel lonely, and it can feel like at times - you are taking steps backwards. However, know that these are all natural parts of the healing journey. You will come up against resistance - but stay safe in the knowledge that this IS a part of the healing journey, and just trust in the process - trust that everything is working out for your highest good. Put one step in front of the other each day. That’s all you need to do - take ONE step each day. But keep going. Don’t try to run or take too many steps at once. This will overwhelm you and end up causing resistance because you are trying too hard and pushing an outcome. Just keep persevering. Stay positive, patient and persistent.
You will go through a grieving process - this is a totally normal when being diagnosed with a long-term condition and a very important step towards healing. There will be denial in the beginning - not accepting that this is a life-long disease and thinking it will all go back to the way it was in a couple of months. Then there will come anger - first asking ‘Why me?’ and then anger at doctors for not picking it up for all those years, and then anger at parents for not doing anything about it despite me showing obvious symptoms of thyroid disease. Next is the bargaining phase, ‘if only this had been picked up earlier then I wouldn’t be in the state I am in now.’ Follow by the depression stage where you feel like giving up altogether. But out of this ‘Dark night of the soul’ experience comes a change in perception and therefore an acceptance of your situation. There will still be sadness at this final stage, but you will give up resistance. You are now allowing healing to begin to take place.
Please be gentle on yourself and let go of criticism. Criticising yourself whilst trying to heal is counter-productive. If your meditation didn’t go well that morning, or if you had to skip your celery juice that morning because you forgot to re-stock - there is no point in beating yourself up about it. Punishing yourself is not going to help the healing process. If anything, its going to interfere with the healing process. You must let go of this constant criticism of yourself. This is just a programme that you learnt from childhood. You don’t have to keep playing out other people’s programmes. You are free to let it go - allow yourself to. This was never your programme to have in the first place.
Start to love and accept yourself just as you are. All humans are imperfect, but also masterpieces at the same time. You will learn that changing your mindset and loving yourself is the most important and powerful tool in healing. It might sound very ‘woo-woo’ right now, but you will experience this for yourself.
Along the way, you may lose some family or friends who are not comfortable with the new you and the boundaries that you have set in place for self-care. This is a normal part of life, and gracefully send them love and let them go - just as trees lose their leaves in autumn. If they do want to come back, (whilst respecting your boundaries and accepting you for who you are) then it is up to them - but you focus on your healing and send love from a distance.
You will encounter numerous doctors who will dismiss you and tell you that your symptoms are ‘all in your head’. Rest assured in the knowledge that conventional medicine does not understand autoimmune disease and chronic disease and so take what they say lightly. Understand that conventional medicine was made to treat acute illness and so doctors are not taught about chronic illness. They are not taught about the thyroid, they only look at organs and parts of the body as separate things, they are not taught about nutrition or the importance of gut health. We must be compassionate towards them as it is not their fault - this is the education that they receive in medical school. Know that there are thousands of thyroid patients in exactly the same position as you - so it is not just you, and you are not alone. It is NOT all in your head.
The good news is that Hashimoto’s can absolutely be healed mainly with dietary and lifestyle interventions. Of course, keep taking your medication for as long as you need to. Many people have used medication at the beginning and then managed to wean themselves off slowly over a period of time with the help of a functional medicine doctor. But remember - don’t rush this. Healing takes time. Just honour where you are at at each stage. Research into functional medicine - it looks at the person as a whole and not just a body part. It also looks at finding and treating the root cause of a disease as opposed to conventional medicine which covers up the symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs which then usually lead to other health problems. So with the help of a functional doctor, it is TOTALLY possible to come off your medication! Take your health into your own hands. You are more powerful than you have been programmed to believe. We all have this innate power within us that is so capable of healing. We just need to give our bodies the tools to do so. Enlist the help of a functional medicine doctor, wellness coach, naturopath and nutritionist. They have a far greater understanding of Hashimoto’s than a conventional doctor will.
Remember that everything is working out. There is a reason why you are going through this. You will come out a better person and you will see the gift in this. It is making you find your true self. It is bringing down the walls that you used for protection and it is revealing the real you. That personality you had formed wasn’t the real you - it was a defensive mechanism which you learned in childhood to deal with trauma and cope with the environment that you were in. You have been given the opportunity to peel back the layers and get back to your true self and live your best life.
Just have trust. You will be in such a better place - you will heal and you will feel better than you ever have your whole life. I promise you that the grey cloud that you were carrying will eventually lift, and you will see the beautiful stunning sunlight and feel free.
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Dumbledore, Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban