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February 1, 2021

A Warrior’s Journey into Healing Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

 

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A post shared by Anna Ruth Hall (@annembodiedwombman)

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My body and I have been at war for a long time.

At the age of 14, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which quickly turned to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis within a matter of months.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid where my immune system mistakenly targets components of my thyroid gland and thyroid proteins leading to chronic inflammation of the thyroid and a disruption of the gland’s functioning.

I was told I would unquestionably have to be on medication for the rest of my life since there is no known cause and no known cure.

I intuitively knew there was something off with this solution. Why was this happening in my body? Did I do something wrong? Is there really “no known cause” or reason?

As is custom in the western medical world, neither the doctor, nor my parents, asked how this diagnosis made me feel emotionally—nor did they ask what events were occurring in my life as a freshman in high school, how tangled my emotions were around those events, and how this dis-ease in my body could be related to the emotional patterning in my life. 

I lived for five or six years fully believing it was “impossible” to heal Hashimoto’s. I—without consciously realizing it—had given my power over to doctors and specialists who supposedly knew more about my own body than I did.

As I write this article, I’m 24—it’s nearly 10 years after the initial diagnosis, I have been on four different thyroid medications in a host of different dosages, worked with six different doctors, sampled herbs and supplements from seaweed to Schisandra berry, and have gone off of my medication five separate times; the longest period being for two and a half months.

So I am writing this article to say I don’t know how to heal Hashimoto’s.

But I do know how it feels to be encapsulated by terror and shame when you’re told at the age of 14 that you’re sick, no one knows why, and you’ll never be able to heal the pain—then to be handed a bottle of pills with the advice, “If you take these for the rest of your life, you’ll be fine.”

I do know that I didn’t come to Earth to be “fine.” I came here to be alive. I came here to be healthy. I came here to reject anyone’s idea that I am not capable of healing myself. I came here to share my story and speak my truth forward.

I do know how un-numbing myself, diving into my addiction to food, exploring the depths of my sexual shame, becoming intimate with my own needs and desires, feeling emotions from grief to jealousy to ecstasy in my body, breathing in the medicine of nature, whispering to my womb, and moaning in sexual bliss, have all been essential parts of reclaiming my health and feeling vibrant, purposeful, and alive again. 

And none of these processes were prescribed to me by a doctor.

If I could go back and tell my 14-year-old self one thing on the day of her diagnosis, I would tell her that the path of healing Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the path of a warrior. It’s the path of diving down into the icky sticky emotions, stories, and flavors of our consciousness to listen to, respect, love, learn from, and breathe healing magic into those uncomfortable caves.

Everything I long to express about this beautiful journey with Hashimoto’s cannot fully unfold in one article, yet I have included as much juice as possible in these brief pages so that one thread may catch another, beginning to weave a web forward for someone who, like me, is a warrior on the path of thyroid healing.

To begin, let’s get super clear about what an autoimmune disorder is.

What makes an autoimmune disorder an autoimmune disorder is that the cells in our body are targeting other cells in our body as if they were foreign invaders—our bodies are confused about what is us and what isn’t.

Our sense of sovereignty is off in our bodies—our sense of boundary.

An autoimmune disorder is one’s body attacking itself—it’s self-sabotage.

In my lived experience, those of us with autoimmune disorders have not had a clear space to channel our power and emotions into for much of our lives and have thus learned to turn that mighty power and wild emotion back in on ourselves, attacking our own cells and making our bodies and minds sick because it has been unsafe to express the truth of who we are.

If we want to heal Hashimoto’s, we must end the war within and create clear, safe channels for our full expression to come online.

On my own healing journey, I have begun to develop a map, outlining my Hashimoto’s story. Although this map begins long before the diagnosis, I have learned a lot about my story through asking the question, “What if this disease was serving me at the time I became consciously aware of it?”

In the moment, Hashimoto’s allowed me to slow down.

Freshman year of high school, my system was running overdrive from social, parental, academic, societal, and personal pressures, and I had become numb to knowing the nuances of my own needs. The exhaustion from Hashimoto’s was a clear, loud, message to rest, create spaciousness, and receive caretaking.

On one hand, Hashimoto’s has brought me deeper in touch with my truth, as it has required me to stop hiding and be honest about feeling unwell, yet, paradoxically, it has also given me a way out of sharing my truth in a big, powerful way. The narrative, and often physical reality, of being “sick” has allowed me to implode, shrink, stay small, and not step fully into my wild power.

Over the past few years, I’ve chosen to start sharing my truth. I’ve begun shaking my body, sounding any primal sound that seeps out, and singing for the sheer sensation of the healing vibration pulsating through my throat.

The epicenter of Hashimoto’s energy lies at the throat chakra—our connection to self-expression, creativity, purpose, truth, boundaries, and our voice—so, of course, opening up the throat would be a key component of healing the disease in the body.

My biggest Hashimoto’s symptom is exhaustion. The less holding on and more flowing, creating, and sharing I do, the more energized and less exhausted I grow.

As I shed aspects of myself that no longer serve me, I have begun to notice my attachment to the label of  having “Hashimoto’s” and how this label has allowed me to connect with others who share a similar story. Part of my healing now lies in fully honoring the specific code of Hashimoto’s and all I have received from this illness while simultaneously shedding the identity of being sick.

I am shifting into the understanding that Hashimoto’s is but a label created in the West to neatly categorize an imbalance in the entire body, not just the thyroid. In other medical philosophies, such as Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda (just to name two), disease is viewed more holistically. I wouldn’t have Hashimoto’s, the mystery disease, but rather the health of my gut, my liver, my spleen, my brain, my breath, my womb, and voice would all be taken into account in rebalancing my body, mind, and spirit back into a state of harmony.

Following the thread of Hashimoto’s not being isolated to only the thyroid, the vitality of our liver and gut are central to full body health. Yet, when we open up the conversation around gut healing, changing our diet in rapid and drastic ways is often framed as the fix-all solution.

And I fully agree that what we put into our body profoundly affects our health—food is our first medicine, and the gut is the center of our body’s immune system.

But what’s often not talked about, or even remotely acknowledged as real and important, is the deep emotional patterning and wounding being worked through when giving up caffeine, gluten, dairy, eating meat again, or making any other dietary change.

For me, it was not possible to alter my diet in any major and consistent way until I began exploring, unpacking, and healing my disordered relationship with food.

The food we put into the temple of our bodies reflects how we feel about them. As we get more in touch with the emotions and sensations present in our field and physical body, we will gradually grow more attuned to what foods make us feel good and what foods don’t. Our relationship with food and the process of eating will change.

The stories and powerful cravings that arise as we begin to feel into the way we eat, the nervousness that bubbles up as we share our truth, the shame that resurfaces as we set strong boundaries, honoring our “yes” and our “no,” isn’t something to be “gotten over” quickly so we can get on to the real healing. This process is the healing. I’ve felt it. And little by little, I’m witnessing the reflections in my lab results. 

The more I un-numb and let myself feel, the more I begin to heal on every level, physical included.

I am learning to hold myself, my entire self, un-fragmented and whole. To have gratitude for all those antibodies attacking my thyroid for so long. To have full faith that my sweet body is doing the absolute best she can, in every given breath, to keep me vibrantly alive with all the information she encounters. I am ending the war within and, in doing so, re-coding safety within my system. My body and I are playing on the same team, at last. 

I’m writing this article for myself and all my fellow Hashimoto’s warriors who’ve been told they’ll never heal. I feel us creating the cure, together, through sharing our truth, through proclaiming our boundaries, through softening into safety, un-numbing our needs, and nourishing our bodies with the medicine of vibrant food and fresh water. I feel us calling each other into a culture where the war within is released and vibrant health on every level becomes the norm.

If you’re a Hashimoto’s warrior or have a thyroid imbalance and would like to connect with others on the path, come join our Thyroid Story Sharing Circle.

~

 

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