Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Strategies to Overcome Hypothyroid-Induced Depression

As anyone who is an EZH* can attest, having your thyroid out of whack causes all sorts of troubles. When you choose to treat it naturally, you are jumping into the deep end of the pool with a bunch of lead weights tied to your waist. And then, of course, you have to figure out how to swim back to safety.

Even to me, it sounds pretty dire as I write this. As an EZH, you are constantly trying to tread water any way you can. You don't have the energy that healthy people have. You don't have the oomph to get things done. And on top of everything else, you tend toward depression. It's enough to make you just want to go get the water wings of Synthroid (the medication that helps replace the Thyroid hormone your thyroid should be making but isn't, for whatever reason) and be done with it.

But, if you stick it out and go the natural/holistic route, you need some strategies to handle the depression. Below, is a list of things to think about and perhaps do to help.

First, and foremost, increase your awareness of what is going on with your body. Pay attention to what it's trying to tell you and act accordingly. So, if you have been pushing yourself and your poor body is vainly trying to tell you to slow down, listen. Leave the dishes in the sink overnight if you are too exhausted to clean them before bedtime. Keep your exercise to a minimum (more on this in a future post). Don't go out to the next event if it's going to exhaust your further. Even though they say that being out and being social can help alleviate depression symptoms, I believe it's different for EZHs. If we try to party like it's 1999, we will pay dearly for it later. Perhaps, you might think about inviting people over to your place for an early movie night rather than going out and partying. Whatever you do, don't overdo. 

Second, Frankie says: Relax. Yeah, I know. It's way easier said than done. But, you still have to. Often, part of an EZH's depression will be a certain amount of anxiety. And if you aren't relaxed, those two (depression and anxiety) will combine to stress your entire endocrine system even further. So, what's the first rule of relaxing? Breathe. Breathe, breathe, breathe, and when in doubt, breathe some more. Here are a couple of techniques and exercises you might consider doing to help with breathing.

First, have a seat and relax. Put one hand on your belly. Take in a deep breath. Feel if your hand moves and your fingers expand. Notice if your shoulders came up as you inhaled. If they did, try the same thing again and this time try to keep the shoulders relaxed and down. Instead, as you inhale, imagine that your belly is a submarine. As you breathe in, let the air flow all the way down into the submarine. When you exhale, let the air come back out the periscope that is your air passage and your mouth/nose. Try to breathe this way three more times. When you feel you have the hang of it, put your other hand on your side, a bit higher than the hand on your belly. This time breathe into your belly and then when that is full, let the breath keep entering your body and feel your sides expand (the hand on your side should move at this point). Try these two steps for the next three breaths. Once you have done that, breathe into your belly, then into the sides, and then last up to the top of your chest. Keep your body expanding and opening. Your breathing apparatus is like a ballon that is being filled as you inhale. Your entire trunk can expand and you can get lots of good oxygen into your lungs this way. Try this breathing technique for three more breaths. That ought to help you relax. Take a minute and note how you feel. 

Here is another set of breathing techniques. In addition to breathing, this one contains a bit of vocalizing. We as a species generally begin to vocalize right after birth. In fact, when we are born, that is one of the ways they test to make sure all is okay. If we aren't crying our presence out into the universe, they think something is wrong. So, in addition to breathing, another relaxation technique is to use your voice (we will get a lot more into using your voice and speaking your truth at a later time). This technique is accompanied by an audio guide. Here is the link to Breathing3.mp3. Feel free to utilize it to help you relax. The instructions that accompany the audio file appear below.

1. Deep breathing correctly. Your stomach is relaxed and expanding out on inhalation. Your ribs are relaxed and expanding and your shoulders are relaxed and down. (You’ll find when you breathe deeply like this, that your shoulders start to ride up and get tense around your neck. Consciously lower and relax them whenever you notice this.
a. Inhale and exhale full deep breath five times.
b. Inhale a full, deep breath using good technique and exhale on a whispered “Ah.” (five times). Horse noise is great for finding where you are using your breath.
c. Inhale and exhale on a closed-mouth low “Mmm.” (five times)
d. Inhale and exhale on an “Ah” sound.
e. Yawn an “Ah” sound. (five times)

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Until next time, Izolda. http://IzoldaT.com

*EZH: Exhausted Zombie Hypothyroidic

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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).