Every person’s depression and thyroid-disease story is different. And if you have been impacted by thyroid disease, you might be able to relate that there’s not really a beginning, middle, and end:
I have made a lot of slow, but perfectly beautiful changes in my health over the last nine months and, well, as I like to say, “little hinges swing big doors.” These changes have culminated into decreasing my needed thyroid medication by 38 mcg and maybe more still. I don’t have a thyroid gland and was placed on medication in infancy—at seven months.
So there begins a long list of symptoms if we have too much or too little. My biggest personal struggles: fluctuating estrogen hormones, depression, and slow bowels, dopamine, cortisol, escapism. I am petite so weight gain for me takes a while for anyone to notice, but my body will begin to suffer with just 5-8 lbs extra—too little T4 and my bowels are in a standstill, my metabolism crashing. Add inadequate stress management with fast-paced, no-room-for-error jobs and you likely have a recipe for pain and grief.
One of my noted beginnings was as a teen with shifting hormones. When I was thirteen a doctor suggested I didn’t need the Synthroid. I was too “normal”, he said. This was based off of his training, I didn’t fit the hypothyroid description. Synthroid worked really well for me as a child. They took me off of it and about two weeks later I battled sliding into a coma for a few days. While this ended up being a really good lesson in what would happen to me if I didn’t take my medication, it was also the instagator of major depression and a waking nightmare for my family when soon after this event, I became suicidal. I learned how to get help when it got bad, but I had lurking suicidal thoughts until the year of my 40th birthday—the year I finally fell in love with myself and suddenly, whole-heartedly, could live forever.
Over this last year I have had my labs tested every few months… I am grateful I have a doctor that understands how sensitive the endocrine system is. The biggest shift is being able to feel my body. Since 2008, I have focused on natural choices in all areas of my life. I have always been a cook, rarely ate fast food, I cook a lot of veggies and pretty-close-to balanced dinners, learned about herbs, studied mindfulness and crystal healing, and all these are wonderful things… but I still had ground to cover in order to feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally.
For years my body had been overloaded with toxins from daily sugar, alcohol, eating too much, not eating enough greens, eb and flow of getting enough exercise, and a four-year span of chronic abdominal pain from inflammation and a not-so-great appendicitis recovery, plus a myriad of female organ issues.
I have been on a really high dose of thyroid (for my body weight) the last six years. Then in August, suddenly all my tests started coming back too high! When we started decreasing it, I was scared of becoming depressed and constipated, so this last time when the labs were still too high, I began to meditate with the intention of discovering why the decrease was happening. I was totally amazed by what my body said to me “It’s okay, Brandy, without all those toxins and inflammation, I can UPTAKE so much better.” And I immediately felt relief in the truth and wisdom of hearing my body talk. There was less interference.
Oh—that’s a new thing—my body has a few voices that were hiding behind coping mechanisms for a really long time. There’s another story about how I reduced toxins. It didn’t happen for me overnight, and I have a feeling there’s more change to come.
My thyroid journey will never end and menopause is only about ten years away, ready to add its very own dynamic. Thankfully, I know I should find a health coach when I get to that stage! I feel like I am finally on the right path. My plan to live with vitality until I’m 102 will succeed if I maintain the path I am on, listening to my body wisdom, slowing down, changing the way I handle stress, creating beautiful rituals of self-care, presence & planning, meditation, and loving and honoring myself.
With you in realizing, chasing, and achieving the dream,
Brandy Bell, CHC