Addressing Fatigue and Hashimoto’s
I hope this message finds you well. Today, I want to focus on something near and dear to my heart… overcoming fatigue and getting your energy back!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I once experienced debilitating fatigue and that I missed out on life for most of my twenties due to the fatigue.
The fatigue started when I was 18 years old, during my second semester of my first year of my undergraduate studies, when I was taking three science classes that were required prerequisites for pharmacy school. I didn’t understand what had happened. While during the first semester, I got numerous colds, “strep-throats” and the like while living in the dorms which would often interfere with my schoolwork, during the second semester, I went from an ambitious, energetic straight- A student to a shell of my former self. I was so tired; I felt like a walking zombie.
I started missing classes, and my grades began to slip. I would fall asleep while trying to study, and once slept through an 8 am exam; having laid down the evening before at 6 pm for a “quick nap.” I started withdrawing from social interactions and spent most evenings after my classes sleeping. I often slept through the dorm room dinner time and was too tired to get food elsewhere… this resulted in me losing so much weight, that a few of the girls in my dorm began writing me anonymous notes about my “disgusting eating disorder.” The worst part was my brain-fog. I couldn’t think straight enough to make even simple decisions, yet alone study!
I barely passed my classes that semester and spent the first part of summer break in bed, seriously considering dropping out of college- how would I ever get into pharmacy school, when I could barely pass my prerequisite science classes and could barely drag myself out of bed to shower? Without setting the alarm, I would go to bed at 9 pm, then woke up at 3 or 4 pm the next day.
My parents wondered what happened to the bossy, busy-bee teenager they sent away to college and thought that I must have become depressed. They took me to a psychologist who told me that all of my problems were in my head and that I needed to change. I was told I would need intensive counseling to get better.
Learning to “Live with It”
I couldn’t stand disappointing my parents, and I decided that I was going to do my best, fatigue and all. I enrolled in summer school so that I would be able to take fewer classes in the fall.
I still kept getting sore throats, and eventually, one doctor did some advanced testing, and I learned that I had “mono”, a condition caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (known as glandular fever in the UK), and was told that the fatigue would get better, but the fatigue only improved slightly..
I sought out the advice of numerous physicians and was told I was stressed, depressed or just “getting older.” I later learned that this virus had been implicated in triggering autoimmune thyroid conditions, chronic fatigue syndrome and other autoimmune conditions.
I thought that I had chronic fatigue syndrome and believed the conventional medical opinion on the condition; “the condition is thought to be psychological in nature, and there’s nothing that can be done to improve it.”
I eventually learned to compensate and live with the fatigue, allowing me to finish my undergraduate studies, pharmacy school, and start to live a seemingly “normal life.”
A person who has her health has a thousand dreams, she who does not has just one…
When I turned 25, I moved to Los Angeles, CA right after my wedding. I had dreamed of living in Los Angeles for many years, and was so happy to be there, but was too tired to experience all of the things the amazing city had to offer.
I had so many interests, dreams, and goals, but never enough time (or energy) to pursue them. I wanted to take adult education classes, get into great shape and dreamed about having little children to push in a stroller along the beach sidewalks. But I was too tired to pursue any of my dreams! In fact, I was too tired to do anything but go to work and come home to watch TV, day in and day out. I had no energy to exercise, spend time with friends, or pursue any hobbies.
When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2009, I was relieved. I thought my fatigue would be solved by thyroid medications, but the medications only helped a little bit. I had to take charge of my health to get on the path to recovering my energy! I started to see gradual improvements with all of my interventions and finally felt like my old self again in February of 2012! I ended up writing a patient guide sharing all of my interventions, Hashimoto’s the Root Cause.
Today, I’m living in Boulder, CO, and spent my Saturday Mountain biking through the Colorado Mountains! I never thought I’d be an outdoorsy type of girl because these kinds of activities would leave me so fatigued, I would have needed days to recover from any strenuous activity. But I feel so great today; I even went to a Barre Fitness class this morning. My brain fog is a distant memory, and I am working through my “bucket-list,” turning my dreams into reality!
It’s not in your head, and you can get better!!
It breaks my heart when I think that some of you may still be suffering due to debilitating fatigue. I want you to know that you can get better, you can get your energy back and feel like yourself again. Maybe even better! You don’t have to “learn to live with it.” Life can be good again, and you can do all of the things you dream about. When you get your energy back, so many doors will open up to you!
Fatigue is your body’s way of telling you that there’s an underlying root cause that needs to be addressed. It could be food sensitivity, an infection, a nutrient depletion, deficiency, toxin overload, hormonal imbalance and/or an improper brain response to stress. Many times, it’s a mixture of two or more of the above that creates a perfect storm that results in poor energy.
Be sure to check out my article on strategies to overcome fatigue for more information!
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