How I dealt with thyroid disease diagnosis & lifestyle change
When I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s, my head was spinning and I felt out-of-control (not to mention the BRAIN FOG to go with it all!) . I’d had debilitating symptoms for years and doctors had just dismissed them. How could they have missed this? How could they have NOT known this was an autoimmune disease? How could they have thought this had NOTHING to do with hypothyroidism and the fact I was taking a synthetic drug called Levothyroxine? Again and again I was told ‘its not your thyroid’, but then, it did in fact, turn out to be my thyroid.
The worst part about it was the fact that I was then told that there was ‘no way to treat the autoimmune component’. It was the same treatment as hypothyroidism - take synthetic T4 hormone. And that was it. No help whatsoever with all the debilitating symptoms that were going on inside my body as a result of this disease being left untreated for so long. I almost felt betrayed by the medical system. How could they allow this to happen?
I knew the only way to get better was to do the research myself and look at holistic and alternative methods. This is when I came across leading holistic health experts such as Dr Izabella Wentz, Dr Mark Hyman and Dr Terry Wahls who were speaking SO MUCH SENSE. They were talking about addressing the root cause of the disease and not COVERING it up with synthetic medications.
I learned that we can address our root cause(s) of thyroid disease through lifestyle medicine. Lifestyle medicine is based upon the naturopathic principle that if we give the body the right tools to heal, it will heal.
This made me feel so hopeful but I then realised how much there was that I needed to change about my lifestyle. I had to completely overhaul my diet - that was a HUGE part. It felt overwhelming as there was so much i needed to change. I looked at my current diet and thought ‘OMG what am I going to eat? What will I have left??!!’.
Now having gone through this process, I have come out the other side and I can honestly say that I absolutely LOVE the way I eat. I eat clean, organic, nourishing foods that make my body feel energised and vibrant! I can’t bare to think about how glutenous and sugary foods used to make me feel.
There are many lessons I learnt the hard way during this massive phase of change in my life. I want to share them with you so that hopefully it will save you from making the same mistakes as I did!!
15 lessons I have learnt from this major phase of change in my life:
Don’t try to do everything all at once.
Stop forcing and pushing an outcome - ‘What you resist persists’.
Accept the situation for what it is.
Allow yourself some time to grieve and mourn your old life - journal through your emotions and/or find somebody to talk to about it such as a counsellor, support group or close friend.
Remember the phrase ‘This too shall pass’ - Nothing is forever and the only certain thing about life is that it is always changing.
Develop a routine to help you stay grounded (but don’t be too rigid about it).
Stay organised, write out a plan of action and do your research.
Take small, bite-sized, realistic steps towards your goal daily.
It is okay to ask for help - either from a counsellor or joining a support group.
When you feel yourself going into victim mode and asking ‘why me?’ ask yourself ‘what can I learn from this?’ and ‘how is this making me a better person?’ instead.
Take a break from focusing on the change - relax and do a different activity every now and again. It could be something creative like painting or watching a funny movie. Remember to still have fun.
Be aware and mindful of slipping back into disempowering patterns when dealing with change such as trying to control and manage the change and also overworking and punishing yourself.
Forgive yourself for when you make a mistake - getting stressed is not going to help you think of creative solutions.
Stay grounded in yourself and your intuition - have moments of pause in your day where you are in silence and just listen to your breathing. There is so much noise out there filled with other people’s opinions - but the most important opinion is yours. Ask yourself ‘is this right for me?’. Feel what is right for you, not what is right for other people.
Carving out regular time for relaxation will help you to be more resilient to change and feel more energised.
I have learnt so much from this diagnosis of thyroid disease which then sparked a phase of major change in my life. It was a really painful period of time, but I can take so many lessons from it. I can honestly say that out of my suffering came so much good in the end. I will certainly be using these lessons to help me embrace future periods of change and I hope that these will help you as you embark on your personal journey too!