In many of my previous blogs or social media postings I have mentioned that I have the auto-immune disorder Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I’m always alluding to the fact that I will talk further about my story in a future post, but as of yet I haven’t done so.
The truth is, I’ve been hesitant to write this post because I live with a firm belief that ‘energy flows where attention goes’ and being a victim to my own body isn’t something I’m really willing to flow my energy to anymore.
Also, the way I look at the sufferings of my body is deeply personal. Looking within for a root cause is the most important step to me, and practical and logical healings are secondary. In the world we live in not everyone agrees with this, so sharing my viewpoint publicly is scary.
However, I have received countless emails from other women who suffer from this disease, or other auto-immune diseases asking for advice, help or an ear. I would love to be a positive and authentic point of reference for them, and anyone else who is suffering.
When I receive these emails I am aware that most are likely in ‘the crazy researcher stage’ (I was in mine for way longer than I’d like to admit). I know all you need is someone positive to tell you it’s going to be okay at that point. And since the internet is filled with medical chat boards that only house comments from mean trolls who hate all doctors and their bodies (and mostly, themselves) – an encouraging viewpoint can be really tough to find.
From personal experience I know it can be so overwhelming, discouraging and scary trying to navigate and educate yourself when you first get diagnosed. With Hashimoto’s, and with all illnesses, I am sure. I’m also sure that what I am about to say will apply to more people than just those suffering from auto-immunity.
Today, I live a healthy and happy life I love – and I know you can too.
However, it took a lot of looking within, letting go and stepping into my authentic truth to get to a place of peace, where I could then start my path to healing.
I will tell my story because I choose to be the light.
If you feel like it’s ‘you against your body’, this blog is dedicated to you.
Part One: My Story
I was always a really confident kid and teenager. My body was often very different than most of my friends, regardless of my age or life stage. I was much taller and had a bigger structure as a kid. I developed earlier than most girls I know and as a teenager I had a fluctuating body-weight that usually mirrored trauma I was going through. But honestly, there are only a handful of times I remember letting my self-esteem take a hit for my body being different than those I surrounded myself with. Really and truly, for the most part I was extremely outgoing, connected and the life of any party or activity I participated in. I sometimes wonder if that was a cover up for what I was really feeling deep down, trying to cover up childhood trauma or not feeling like enough. But my confidence never wavered and if it was a cover up, it wasn’t a conscious one.
I moved to Toronto at 20 years old. My same old bodes of confidence found me a huge group of friends and very social jobs. Life was ‘super fun!’.
Except this is the first time I can remember starting to feel the pressure of needing to be thin and beautiful. I always felt worthy enough in the past no matter how I looked. Now I was worried about my weight and my looks more than ever before. I had a girlfriend who taught me how to go on my first diet at 21 years old. I attracted relationships with people who were also obsessive about image, which only furthered my spiral. All the while I was getting more and more attention for the way I looked. So it was a vicious cycle.
In my mid-twenties I ended up becoming what I like to now call a ‘pretend fitness model’. I competed in bikini competitions and did photoshoots and even started a very successful nutrition company based on the attention I got from doing so. The problem is, the criteria to be enough in the fitness industry is the definition of impossible standards. Especially for me, someone who is not a natural athlete and is a naturally curvy woman. So, once again – I was never enough. Not enough for the industry, but mostly in retrospect; not enough for myself.
When I finally decided it wasn’t worth the pain of beating myself up to be a certain body type anymore and decided to quit the extreme lifestyle, it was a sigh of relief.
However once I realized that; my new truth came at me roaring and would change my life forever.
“I am meant for so much more than teaching women how to be skinny for a living.”
That sentence screamed from the depths of my soul. It was so loud I couldn’t stand it and when I tried to ignore it (and trust me I did) my flourishing business mirrored my feelings and quickly took a turn for the worst. Almost immediately I began to attract shitty customers, lose big corporate business or feel so unmotivated it would cripple me.
The issue was that this was my whole identity. I had spent years going to school to become a nutritionist, building a business and personal brand, and living my life around this identity. As many millennials do, I took all the steps I was ‘supposed’ to take in order to ‘make it’ in my chosen identity. If I lost this I would be nothing. That’s how it felt anyway.
Without getting into too much detail today on the details of my great fall, let’s just say I was in a really tough place that year. This is hard for me to admit, but in truth I lost my business, my home, a lot of friends (or those I thought were my friends), my identity and worst of all, I hated myself and my body.
You might be wondering at this point what the heck this story and my background has to do with my current auto-immune disease. So let, me explain my personal thinking on my illness, and all illnesses for that matter.
(*Disclaimer: I’ve had very special people in my life affected by disease and sickness that was hereditary or genetic, some that was caused by lifestyle choices, and some that there seems to be no explanation at all. My heart knows that sometimes bad things can happen for no reason or reasons we might not understand. The viewpoint I’m about to express is only my own experience. So, please take what I am saying or leave it.
To me in this life, what resonates with you, is for you. Leave the rest).
My personal belief is that during the time I began attacking myself for not being enough is also when the disease first manifested in my body. My doctors believe it too, based on my antibody levels. They said I had likely had the disease for about 5 years before being diagnosed. I’ve been diagnosed for about 3 years. The attacking really began to run my life at about age 25; and I’m 33 now. So, mathematically it all adds up.
But to me it adds up on a much deeper level.
Let me explain.
In auto-immunity, the body is attacking itself. In the case of myself and those who suffer from Hashimoto’s; it’s the body attacking the thyroid.
The throat chakra (where the thyroid is located) is also the house for your creative identity.
As my life circumstances began to crash around me, I began to pull away from any expression of myself. I turned off my creative side for a while, scared to put myself out there and fail or make the wrong choices for the wrong reasons again. I hid behind baggy, grey clothing. I stopped being as social as I once was. Also, a major symptom of Hashimoto’s is weight gain. So I was also hiding behind my weight. Something that has always been a theme in my life when trauma is involved.
It is my belief that my mind manifested in my body. Hiding my creative self, attacking myself daily and no longer using my voice – showed up as a disease that attacks my thyroid. Which is the neighbour of the of the voice, and located in the house of the creative self, the throat chakra. The physical symptoms of this disease also mirrored my actions of keeping myself hidden with weight gain and extreme fatigue.
My body attacked my thyroid as a mirror of what was going on in my mind and soul. So simply put, if the mind, body and soul are operating as one; I wasn’t just attacking myself in my mind, I was attacking my whole self. What was manifesting in my thoughts, also manifested in my body as a reflection.
Obviously there are many theories on this disease and all illnesses. There are many factors to consider and I’m definitely not closed minded to the fact that there is a whole picture affecting my own (and everyone’s) health. However, Hashimoto’s cause is unknown and it’s incurable. For me, when answers defy my logical brain – that is my cue to look within and reflect.
For me personally, connecting the dots on this was one of life’s incredible light bulb moments. Where you feel that everything has meaning and happens for a reason.
I literally could go on and on about this topic for hours. But I hope this gives you enough of a general overview to see my viewpoint on the relationship between our life circumstances, our relationship with ourselves and how it manifests in our bodies.
If you are a sufferer of Hashimoto’s ask your self this:
Have you been concealing your truest self?
Are you scared to put yourself out there?
Have you been holding back or controlling your inner-creative?
Do you abuse your body physically (ie; with dieting) and mentally (ie; with self-hate) ?
Are you being someone or acting in a way that doesn’t mirror you really are deep down?
What are you hiding from and why?
My hope is that you can make the metaphysical connection in your own life to this disease and the way it may have manifested for you personally, so you can start your path to healing.
Also, if you are a sufferer of another disease or illness; I urge you to do research on the mind-body connection and look up the metaphysical meaning behind what it is you have. I bet you’ll be able to do a reflection on your life and connect the dots as well. There are also many wonderfully trained naturopaths and intuitive psychotherapists that can help you with this journey if you want to explore this realm of healing.
This thinking also doesn’t just apply to those with physical issues. Whether your trigger point is disease, being broke, having a hard time keeping a relationship or any other painful personal issue – it’s all the same. Digging deep to heal the underlying causes will set you on a path to healing and realign your life.
Again, this may be to ‘heady’ for some of you. Please just take what you like and leave the rest.
For me personally though, when I began to address these inner demons and let go of the past, a life beyond my wildest dreams began to fall into place. In warp speed timing, too. Seriously!
And most importantly, for the first time without me even trying to force it. Instead of trying to create a life for myself based on how I felt it was supposed to look (which was previously my whole life) – I finally let go. I allowed healing and began to express myself again as my true self. I put myself out there however it felt right in that moment, without expectation of how things were going to unfold or look. So many beautiful miracles have occurred in my healing, in health but also in my whole life.
In part two of this blog series, I will share some more of the details of what this disease actually is, how I was diagnosed and how I choose to treat it and work at my healing to live a healthy and thriving life. I hope this to be especially helpful for those who suffer from auto-immune disorders, because I know that it’s hard to find an encouraging viewpoint on a dark day.
For now, I’d love to leave you with this mantra. Please say it in meditation, out loud while looking in the mirror, or repeat it silently throughout the day.
“I am grateful for my healthy body. My mind and body are in perfect balance. I love myself!”
For those of you that this feels uncomfortable for, please know this means you need the self-love the most. So I urge you to just give it a try! Start in private, in your mind, or even writing it down. Rewiring your internal thoughts from self-attack to self-love words can feel wrong at first as we are wired not to ‘boast’ or have an ‘ego’. Loving yourself is the biggest blessing you can give your partner, your family, your children and most importantly – yourself.
Part two of this blog series can now be found, here.