Part of my journey to Hashimotos came from the culmination of several forces in my life.
One of the trigger events I believe was a nervous breakdown that exemplified the amount of emotional stress I was carrying around with me. And this emotional stress largely came from growing up in a disfunctional home (which I later came to know was an alcoholic environment).
There were no brawls or drunken fights but there were lots of unspoken rules which I carried on to my adult life and they wreaked havoc on every part of my being.
You don’t get an autoimmune disease overnight. Yes, there are a lot of factors involved – genetics, gut health, trigger events. But emotional turmoil can easily affect the development of such a thing.
Luckily, after my nervous breakdown and way before I was diagnosed with Hashimotos, I found Al Anon. And through it, I acquired many tools that taught me the meaning of sanity and emotional equilibrium.
Today I will share with you the things Al Anon taught me that helped me manage and reverse Hashimotos.
1. ODAT – One Day at a Time.
I don’t know about you but a large part of my anxiety and emotional turmoil came from stressing about the future or the past.
Trying to plan out events or micromanage things that were out of my co trial left me a nervous wreck. Obviously. Because things never turned out how I “planned” them.
Learning to live one day at a time, or in the beginning – one minute, one second at a time, was challenging but became easier with practice. And my anxiety level decreased greatly.
In turn, my immune system had a chance to rest because it didn’t get the signal to “fight or flight” constantly.
A tested immune system is a more balanced immune system, hopefully one that does not attack its own tissue.
2 – Focus on yourself.
In my adult life, I had gotten into the bad habit of running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to manage everyone’s problems while neglecting myself.
Oh there was martyrdom galore!
Lots of feeling sorry for myself.
One of the things Al Anon taught me was to keep the focus on myself. Instead of trying to manage someone else’s life (most likely when they would prefer that I butt out!), I can instead turn the focus inward and ask myself if there is anything I need.
Am I hungry? Lonely? Tired?
I can instead take care of my own needs and make sure my well being is taken care of.
My immune system appreciates not being run ragged and self care always feels nice. I eat better, am more rested, and am happier overall.
3 – Attitude of Gratitude.
It is very easy to get down in the dumps for me when I don’t feel well.
The worse I feel physically, the worse I feel emotionally. And it becomes kind of a self perpetuating cycle.
When my hair was falling out and the fatigue made me feel 60 instead of 30, I was not a very positive person.
One of the things Al Anon teaches us is to look for the silver lining in each situation, even the most seemingly hopeless.
The trouble with the pit of despair (at least for me!) is that once I’m in it, it’s really hard to claw my way out. If I catch myself getting down and starting the downward spiral, I can MAKE myself practice gratitude and stop the descent.
It’s definitely counterintuitive and not something I WANT to do in that moment. But I ALWAYS feel better afterwards and magically the spiral has dissipated.
If you yourself are suffering from a high load of emotional stress, it is crucial to get a handle on it to begin your road to recovery from Hashimotos (or ANY autoimmune disease). Al Anon is a tool that is available to everyone, whether they grew up in an alcoholic home or just a very disfunctional one. You can find a local chapter here:
I wish you luck on your journey to wellness and happiness!