I want to be totally honest with you.
I had a really rough week.
As you may or may not know I have Hashimoto’s and another autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis.
And this week I had a flare up of the ankylosing spondylitis.
I feel a lot better today and I seem to have things under control.
And the reality is, I didn’t really deviate a great deal from my normal routine, but I had a flare up anyway.
And what this meant for me was a lot of low back and sacral pain. (It made it difficult to stand in one place for too long and even to sit comfortably for extended periods of time.)
And the worse part of it was that it set off a chain reaction of negative thinking that had me feeling pretty discouraged.
I felt like this was evidence that I had failed.
The good news for me is that this used to be a regular part of my life and now it’s a rare occurrence.
And this is the hard reality of autoimmunity.
Sometimes, even when you do all the right things, you can still, out of nowhere, have flare ups.
But, here’s the thing, the other side of this reality is that sometimes these things happen.
And it doesn’t make all the hard work and sacrifice you’ve put in meaningless.
It shouldn’t have any more significance than the periods of feeling great (which are far more numerous for me these days).
It was just a few days of a storm, which passed.
If I’m totally honest, there were moments when I let that storm over shadow everything else.
Here’s what helped me get back on track.
I keep a journal and I dug it out and read it and what I was reminded of was long term steady improvement and many more good than bad days.
So, with the help of that record, I was able to right the ship and reorient my thinking and realize that while I felt like crap, in the bigger picture, I have made some tremendous progress.
So, there are a couple of big takeaways here, I think.
First, this is one of the important uses for a journal that is sometimes overlooked.
It can provide balance so that you don’t get overly discouraged or overly excited about things.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes bad or unpleasant things seem to occupy more space in my head than good things.
Even though in relative terms, they are fewer and farther between, they can somehow get inflated and seem bigger than they are.
So I was able to check that and see clearly how feelings aren’t facts.
Secondly, I’m going back over the things I did that were different to try and determine if any of them could have been responsible for this flare up.
And I found a few things that, while apparently relatively minor, could be factors. (Like some slip ups in my diet, some things I’ve reintroduced recently, some slip ups in my routine – meditation, exercise, etc.)
So I am also able to recreate the lead up to this flare up and possibly learn how to better navigate it in the future.
Lastly, the biggest takeaway is that I’m here for the long haul and set backs are inevitable parts of life.
The key is to not make them bigger than they are and to learn and grow from them.
Because whether you think you are succeeding or failing on this journey towards remission, you are right.
As much as anything, a lot of the impact of autoimmunity happens between our ears (both literally and figuratively).
The part you can control is the perception of what’s happening.
The judgement about what it means and how you respond to that adversity.
Thoughts, comments, likes and shares are, as always welcome and encouraged.
Today’s Hashimoment: Are You Making Enough Time for You?
In today’s post I’d like to address the issue of taking care of yourself.
I was speaking with a colleague yesterday and he observed that a common theme he has seen with those of us with Hashimoto’s (and I had to admit this described me to a “T”, as well).
And that recurrent theme is that we are generally type A people who tend towards being workaholics and we often devote most of our time to helping and serving others and have very little left over for ourselves.
This was a narrative he saw coming up over and over again.
And this really plays nicely into the stress problem we have, as well. We tend to operate under an enormous amount of stress even though stress is the main villain in our stories.
Right? So many people have had had a major stressful event or series of stressful events that preceded and/or led to them getting sick and diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.
Yet, so many of us don’t really learn this lesson.
We just adapt and power on and we put ourselves at the bottom of our “to do” lists.
Well, I want to invite you to change this.
Let’s all commit to getting free of this vicious cycle.
It’s ok to put yourself at the top of your “to do” list and to make the rest of the list read “nothing but things I love to do and fun”.
Another thing my colleague observed was that a casualty of this way of behaving was that some of us have forgotten the things we love to do and the things that are really fun for us.
So this week, focus on making yourself a priority and on dusting off those things that you love to do.
Dig them out of the garage or the attic.
Take them for a spin again and allow yourself what you deserve. Time and space to breathe, laugh and heal.
For me, it’s playing my ukulele. It’s a blast. I actually schedule time to play it a little every day.
Please share with us some of things you love to do that you haven’t done for a while.
Just to give us some good ideas!
Have a great day! (Unless you have other plans. 🙂 )
TODAY’S HASHIMOMENT: GIVING UP TO GET THINGS BACK
In the phone conversations I had last week, I was reminded,
once again, of one of the ironies of dealing with Hashimoto’s.
That is the fact that for many of us, we have to give things up to get things back.
And also for many of us, this is not something that we do willingly.
We fight, kicking and screaming.
And often, we don’t get to that place of surrender until we’ve been forced to our knees.
I know this is true of my own struggle with Hashimoto’s.
I basically lost my life as I knew it: my business, my health, my ability to function like a regular human being.
And then I hit ROCK BOTTOM.
And once I did, I had no choice but to start giving things up.
I gave up gluten, dairy and soy. Then I gave up all the other grains, beans, most nuts and seeds and nightshades. (Some of those foods I’ve since added back into my diet.)
I gave up a stress driven life and created a real daily stress strategy.
I gave up drinking so much caffeine and not sleeping enough.
I gave up all the drama.
I gave up alcohol.
Then something amazing happened.
Through all that giving up I started to get things back.
I got my energy back, I got my thinking and memory back.
I got hope back.
I went whole days and then the better part of weeks without pain.
I got a new, simpler life.
I felt joy again.
A life that I am truly grateful for today.
My favorite analogy about all of this is that some of the greatest paintings in the history of art were painted with very few colors.
There is an amazing freedom and abundance in doing and having less.
If you spend all day long thinking about everything you can’t have, you’ll be miserable.
If, instead, you can see that you literally have a universe of abundance open up to you by having less, then you open yourself up to receive it.
And you create space for healing. 🙂
Please share your thoughts, comments, observations.
Are you at peace with giving things up to get your life back or are you still fighting it?
As many of you who follow this page know, I believe it’s really important to stay positive.
And in order to do this, we really need to say “yes” to things.
“Yes” to commitment.
“Yes” to loving and forgiving ourselves.
“Yes” to being kind and compassionate to everyone (including ourselves).
“Yes” to our highest good.
But today I want to you to think about the importance of saying “yes” to “no”. ?
When you are struggling with Hashimoto’s, stress is not your friend. It is a major trigger of autoimmunity.
Virtually everyone I have spoken to (and this is also true of my own journey) went through a major stressful event that happened just before their health crashed.
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back and it ushered in autoimmunity or it was the final insult that led to major flare up and downward spiral.
So we really have to be extra careful about where we decide to put our time and energy. With Hashimoto’s these are super valuable commodities.
And sometimes, we need to build up our reserves and save them.
Any type of savings requires some discipline and some restraint.
I was speaking with someone this morning and she remarked how living with Hashimoto’s requires us to kind of be permanently on “island time”.
I love that!
It’s ok to say “no”.
Say “no” to your kids. Some people feel like they can never say no to their kids. In the real world they will experience an abundance of “no”.
It won’t hurt them for you to say “no” every so often. In fact, it’s better off if you do.
Say “no” to to that personal trainer or yoga teacher who is pushing you to do 10 more minutes or to go farther than you know you should.
They’ll get over it.
Say “no” to other relatives or spouses who are being too demanding or too needy. In the long run, they need you feeling better.
They also need to understand that an important part of you getting there is giving you time and space to heal.
Say “no” to the part of you that says you’re not good enough if you don’t push harder and get less sleep.
Say “no” to the guilt that surges into your mind when you embrace these “no”s. There’s a good chance that voice is not coming from you.
Healing requires us to learn how to still love ourselves even when we say “no”.
Comments, thoughts, ideas likes and shares with anyone you think might benefit are encouraged.