When the journey gets tough, finding gratitude is key.
Healing an autoimmune disease and gut issues is hard. I’m not going to sugar coat it and say it’s easy. It takes consistent, conscious effort towards your goals every single day even when you don’t see immediate results. That requires a different mindset, new beliefs, new lifestyle and dietary changes that are needed. Setting the right expectation at the beginning of your journey is paramount to helping you appreciate the struggle and overcome the obstacles that pop up along the way. It is completely possible to heal your autoimmune thyroid symptoms, but it’s going to take a strong mindset and gratitude to get there.
Mind Versus Body
At 17, I started experiencing thyroid issues, swinging from hypo to hyper symptoms every few months. It took 6 years to get diagnosed properly and start any treatments. During a time when my friends were worrying about what college to attend or latest movie to see, I was worrying about whether I would have enough energy to make it to work (I was sleeping 15 hours a day), if my hair would ever stop falling out or if I would be able to eat without feeling sick each night.
Every year it seemed a new symptom or issue popped up (even after thyroid medications) that I would try to fix. It was like playing whack-a-mole trying to figure out why my body was attacking me. I’d get one thing under control, or so I thought, and then another symptom would appear, making me feel like a complete failure.
I didn’t have the right mindset then. I didn’t know what I was getting into really. Within about a year it became apparent that doctors would be of little help and I would be on my own with these issues. I struggled to get my body to work with what my mind wanted and my mind to stop berating my body for not cooperating. This internal struggle catapulted me into emotional sugar cravings to try and soothe the discomfort. I know now that only led to worsening gut issues with candida overgrowth and SIBO bacterial overgrowth.
Strength Comes From Struggle
It took many years before I realized that during my struggles, I was building strength, courage and a better mindset along the way. I started to realize there was a lesson to be learned during each struggle or issue that came up. I learned to ask myself what I needed in order to get through the struggle and then I changed my mindset to achieve that.
For example, when I was afraid of having more panic attacks (as happens when you’re experiencing hyper thyroid swings) I asked myself what I needed in order to feel stronger and less afraid. I needed to feel in control so I started doing things that helped me feel like my mind and body were working together like with yoga and light exercise. Or I would use affirmations to remind me that I have internal strength. Similar to affirmations, using visualization of who you want to be can help you create the traits and habits of that desired version of yourself.
"What you desire is deliberately placed out of reach so that you can become the person it takes to obtain it." - Mastin Kipp
One of my favorite quotes is by Mastin Kipp and it reminds us that through our struggles we are becoming the person we need to be in order to achieve our goals. This was so relevant to my healing journey. At 17 I was nowhere near the person I needed to be in order to heal autoimmune disease and gut issues. I wasn’t willing to change enough back then.
When I realized the things I wanted in life were getting further from my reach due to my health issues, I re-evaluated who I was and what needed to change. That’s when I really began my healing journey and it was much more about becoming a better version of myself than just eating better or finding the right diet (which was also important).
Through my struggles I realized the things I thought I wanted were not really what I valued. I valued my health, friendships and quality of life and that led me to become a health coach to help other women break through their barriers so that they can heal.
Over the course of my healing journey I found success in reducing my Hashimoto’s thyroid antibodies, reducing my medication dosage, eliminating severe SIBO overgrowth and candida overgrowth, as well as eliminating IBS (symptoms and markers on tests), sugar cravings, depression and anxiety.
While none of this was easy, I did get stronger and more resilient each time I faced a new issue to overcome. Below are my practical tips to help you appreciate the struggle in your healing journey.