Thyroid Disease: The Invisible Illness

Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease has redefined who I am. It has taken me on a journey of self-exploration, transformation, and reflection. It continually reminds me of what serves me and what I have to relinquish to be my best self. It is an ongoing transformative process, a delicate dance with my body. Acknowledging this practice is imperative to my health. 

The invisibility of autoimmunity was a considerable struggle. Initially, I grappled with thoughts that family and friends did not believe me. I am Type A, talkative, and social. I talk fast, think fast, and move fast. Only those who know me well could see the symptoms. My eyes glazed over with dark circles, deepening voice, and annoyingly indecisive. I would drop significant bodyweight, generally complimented as part of being healthy and fit versus the result of over-medication and hormone shifts. Referencing thyroid felt defeating since most people I encountered took their levothyroxine and felt just fine. Why was my experience so intense?

Social events were a huge stressor. I was hesitant to commit or plan in fear I would cancel and face judgment. And when I was exhausted enough to cancel, I felt tremendous guilt and sadness. I judged myself much harsher than anyone else ever could. Negative self-talk, compulsive behavior, and anxiety led to depression and a feeling that I had no control. My body had gone rogue. And I thought I had no power over what was happening. I was afraid to speak my truth and cater to what my body needed. I would feel relief when, on a rare occasion, someone would comment on my symptoms or could see my struggle. These comments felt validating, and I clung to those who saw the truth. 

I have come so far ahead of the dark days. Do they pop up now and again? Yes. But they are not nearly as extreme, and I have the tools necessary to treat them. My mantra is “it’s just information.” It is my body communicating and saying it’s time to slow down, release the gas pedal, and yield to the flashing yellow light. Instead of living in a fear-state, I accommodate and make shifts necessary to refill my cup. I focus on anti-inflammatory measures, rest, and balance. 

It took me so long to grasp these concepts, and they are an integral part of my healing path. I hope that by sharing these experiences, it will give you peace of mind and the insight to step back and open up to what your body needs to thrive. 

It’s a journey…

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