Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Perseverance and Perspective: Hypothyroidism and Energy Level

Perseverance and perspective: that's what I am thinking about this morning. Oh how seductive it is to jump on the meds bandwagon. Oh how I sometimes crave chucking it all in and just going on Synthroid or some other drug to regulate what my body ought to be doing on its own. And then I remember, my body *ought* to be doing this stuff on its own. I remember distinctly hearing from Dr. L, the endocrinologist, that this hormone, Thyroxine, is something my thyroid should be pumping out and that the *only* thing the Synthroid will do will be just to replace what ought to be happening already. So, with that thought in mind, I persevere and come back to the idea that if it's what ought to be happening, then that is what I will work towards.

That attitude I have? It comes with a price and that price can be too high for many people to pay. When I was younger, my energy and vitality wrapped around me like shining, electrical veils. I could do anything I wanted to do and would still have sufficient energy for all the necessities. As I got older, I now believe, I burned my thyroid out with all of my frenetic activity. Did I party? You bet. Did I under sleep? By a lot. Did I rush headlong from one frantic task to the next? Always. And I never, and I mean never, gave myself any time to recuperate and recover my energy. Add to that my Type A personality, and I had the perfect recipe for endocrine disaster.

When it took me down, it did so hard. When I chose to treat they hypothyroidism naturally, I approached it from my Type A perspective. I jumped headlong into figuring out a treatment. I radically changed my life. The only things I didn't change? I remained a vegetarian despite all the literature that says I need to be eating fish (at least) and I didn't stop or even curtail my frantic and stressful pace.

Here are some of the things I do/have done: professional musician/singer/guitarist/violinist. Leader of various bands and performing groups, author (two books and working on a third and fourth, articles, etc.), volunteer at various shelters (for humans and non-humans alike), professional tarot/palm reader, educator (environmental education, music, violin, voice), website designer, filmmaker, photographer, jewelry maker, spiritual officiant, priestess, friend, and wife. I'm sure there are others, but you get the point.

The reason for the above list? I do them all, now, still. What does that mean for my thyroid? I constantly try to maintain the balance between getting to do all these things and my sluggish energy level. The price I pay: I can no longer do the partying, the under-sleeping, and the stress. Over the last year, my Type A personality has transformed. I no longer attend all (or even many of) the parties. I try hard to get enough sleep, and I try even harder to release the stress whose appendage-like presence has been such a constant for the last 40 years.

Yes, I do believe that my stress began that early (if not earlier). I was born in the former Soviet Union, and I'm sure that in itself was stressful. My early life is a bit of a blur, but I definitely remember when we emigrated. The journey felt exciting at the time, but I am sure it had its share of stressors on me. I was and still am a true extrovert and thrived on the new places, face, and ideas, emotionally and intellectually. Physically, I had an overabundance of energy and raced through life. But, I'm sure that kind of radical lifestyle change has its share of issues. Even if I didn't feel them at the time, I believe they had a long-term effect.

My activities have allowed me an incredible life full of friends, adventure, travel, creativity, and joy. They have also taken their toll on my vitality and now, as I try to regain some of the long-term vitality so I can keep doing what I'm doing (and then some), I am going through a period of relative stillness. I am blessed in that I often receive invitations to events by old and new friends. And right now, I attend almost none of these events. Why? It's because I am choosing to go inward and check in on what I feel I can do, right now, today. I used to jump up and run. "On to the next thing," is one of my favorite phrases. Now, I have to go inward before any activity to see whether or not my body can handle it. You know that saying, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak?" That holds true for me, now, as well but from the thyroid perspective.

Sure, I could push myself and go do whatever it is I want to do. But then, I will pay a steep price. So, I introduced the mental/physical check-in. It's not that I don't want to attend the party or the show or the X. It's that unless I feel like I can actually handle it and not be completely debilitated afterward, I need to step back and bow out. Luckily, my husband understands my current state or we might have problems in our relationship. He often has to attend events solo because I am not able to go and he gets that it's not that I don't want to go. It's much more that I just can't go.

As an EZH, I often sacrifice the immediate activity in order to maintain the fragile balance that will allow me to function tomorrow. That's where both perseverance and perspective come in. I have to persevere in my choice to make my health a priority, and I have to maintain perspective on the balance between what I might want to do and what is best for my health.

Until next time, Izolda. http://izolda.info
If you like this post, please consider sharing it.


  1. Thanks for your inspiring story, which resembles mine enormously. I am also from the former Soviet Union, and also was involved in too many activities. What a coincidence!
    Presently I am in the same state as you. It was tough to make a switch from an exciting, energetic, and vibrating life to a sluggish and debilitating existence. Our bodies know better what we need. Not allowing a rest and not replenishing it with new energy always results in such pitfalls.
    I'd like to know if you have achieved any success in your battle since then. As for me, I am still struggling and resist to take synthetic drugs. I'd appreciate if you could share your progress at l.dnoian@sympatico.ca

    Good luck!


    1. Hello Laura!
      Thanks for writing. It is tough going and it takes constant vigilance but yes, things have improved. I have to eat a lot of iodine-rich foods. I do need to do yoga every single day. And I need to keep my body moving (not high aerobic exercise which tends to cause hypothyroidics like us to lose energy rather than gain it) in some sort of activity every day as well.
      The other big part of this is releasing stress. The more stressed I am, the tougher it is to have *any* energy. The less stressed, the more physical energy my body has to do things.

      Also, I do take L-tyrosine, evening primrose oil, and vitamin C. Despite the fact that a lot of people and literature says that we need to have a lot of vitamin B, it works the opposite for me so I don't take it.

      I also need to balance out my iron intake (can't have too much of it) as that can cause me issues as well.

      These activities make a huge difference for me. The biggest is de-stressing. The second biggest is regular (daily) yoga that is not too strenuous.

      Keep me posted on how things go for you.



Please Note

Welcome to Natural Thyroid. This blog details my process of treating my hypothyroidism naturally. Please note: I am not telling you *to* do or not to do anything with my posts (remember to work with your medical practitioner, whether it's an allopath or an alternative medicine practitioner).