Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, this is simply my experience with hypothyroidism, anxiety, and adrenal burnout. Please seek the advice of a medical professional.
About 4 years ago, shortly after my third child was born, I was experiencing symptoms ranging from extreme anxiety, paralyzing fear, and debilitating exhaustion. Of course, I was tired because I had a newborn baby girl, but this was much more than just the “newborn tired stage” that I had experience twice before. During that year of experiencing a range of intense symptoms, I wasn’t able to focus on what was wrong with my health in the midst of a whirlwind of circumstances that kept us busy and focused on other family members who were going through their own suffering. I kept telling myself that I was just tired and needed rest.
My anxiety was continuing to get worse, with more extreme symptoms such as my heart beating so fast that it scared me, paranoia, and constant “butterflies” in my stomach. My coping ability was diminishing and I knew I needed help. I had seen an endocrinologist who said I had hypothyroidism (low functioning thyroid), and gave me a small dose of medication to help level out my thyroid. When I asked about the other symptoms I was experiencing even after he put me on thyroid medication, he shrugged his shoulders and told me to be less stressed and that he didn’t have an answer for me. That was not encouraging at all. I felt helpless and hopeless that I would ever feel better.
I started researching different diets that could help with these symptoms and immediately came across numerous articles about going gluten free. Not what I wanted to hear! I reluctantly went gluten free and resented it, even though I started to feel slightly better in the process. After several months and a little bit of a change, I decided I didn’t need to be gluten free anymore (such a hassle!) and so I went back to my previous gluten filled diet. My symptoms started to return to their previous state, and at that point I knew I needed to get some real answers.
I went back to the endocrinologist who continued to have no answer for me. He even told me that most people who go through this will just have to learn to live life this way. This negative experience propelled me to seek out a holistic doctor who was skilled in functional medicine, applied kinesiology, and nutritional therapy. From the very first appointment, this doctor gave me hope that I could regain what had been lost to anxiety, exhaustion, and other various symptoms. I was so happy to hear that there was hope! He told me that numerous people come to his office for the same reason: they were told that nothing could be done to help them, and that they basically had to learn to deal with it.
After a few comprehensive exams and blood tests, he found that I had several issues going on with one main root cause. The issues with my thyroid and adrenal glands were connected, and the root cause stemmed from blood sugar issues. Since learning this, I have seen time and time again the connection between the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland. It took me almost 9 months of following a very strict diet, taking several supplements, and practicing stress reducing techniques to reach a level of health that I never thought I could attain again! In fact, I realized that I had never felt so good in the last 10 years after following this strict health journey. I was sleeping peacefully at night, my heart racing had stopped, the anxiety in the pit of my stomach was gone, the fight or flight reflex had been fixed, and my hormones were all balanced! Hooray!
When I first started following this protocol, my adrenal glands were past the point of fatigue and were on the verge of burnout. They were almost non-functioning! There was no way to solve this issue on my own without the help of this incredibly knowledgeable doctor! My thyroid issues were also resolved to where I was off all of the medication since my levels are now within normal range. The intense anxiety that plagued me for a few years was diminished to an unnoticeable amount, and even then, it was easily dealt with since I had functioning adrenal glands! My doctor continues to monitor my thyroid and adrenals closely to make necessary changes to avoid them from ever crashing and burning again!
Blood sugar regulation plays an enormous role in my health. This is an area of weakness for me, since I tend to have a sweet tooth! It is difficult to stay away from sugar, but the benefits are incredible when I follow that path. When I do have larger amounts of sugar, I can see how negatively my body responds. I limit my sweets as much as I can and make better choices when I feel a sugar craving. I choose berries and fruit, but even then, I have to be careful! Everyone is different, but I know that my limits of having sugar are much lower than what most people can handle.
Each person will have a different experience and protocol, but here is a general outline of what I did to change my health under the care of this doctor.
- Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, GMO Corn Free
- Avoid processed sugars and processed foods
- Avoid high sugar fruits (mangos and bananas)
- Supplements for hormonal balance (life changing!!!)
- Vitamin D (supplement and naturally from the sun!)
- Deep breathing, relaxation techniques
- Go to sleep before 10:30pm (this is tough, since my husband is a night owl and I have become one too!)
- Reduce the toxic load by not using synthetic beauty products, and chemical cleaners.
- Drinking lots and lots and lots of water! (Post coming soon about the importance of water!)
- Essential Oils (these have been so beneficial for my family and me!)
(I am not a doctor, I am just sharing my experience. Please consult your doctor before changing anything in your diet, medication, or exercise routine.)