“Have you ever wanted to kill yourself?” my husband asked as we discussed my hyperthyroid treatment options.
“Not really,” I answered, giving him my ‘What are you suggesting?’ look.
“Well, I just thought that if you had, then now you could fulfill part of that dream—you know, since part of you would die.”
Part of me would die…
I think that has been the toughest part about this whole thing. Not only was a part of me dying, but an innocent victim was being executed. It wasn’t my thyroid’s fault. It was my immune system’s. Or was it?
Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune disorder, commonly understood to be brought on by stress. Under prolonged stress, the immune system gets…let’s say confused, and it sends false messages to the thyroid, telling it to produce more thyroid hormone. This in turn speeds up the heart and increases metabolism, causing life to get pretty uncomfortable and confusing.
The three primary treatment options offered by western medicine get at the symptoms of the disease, rather than the cause. It may be my thyroid that’s causing my heart to beat erratically, but it’s my immune system that told it to do so.
But before we start blaming the immune system for wrecking havoc on our lives, let’s look again: why did it start telling the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones in the first place? Stress.
Stress causes a whole host of problems in the body, knocking systems out of whack. The immune system is just one of many.
At the point at which we realize that stress is the cause of our illness, many of us want to point our finger at the rest of the world for making it so hard on us. But the fact remains that while we can’t control what our external environment is like—bosses, bills, screaming kids, annoying co-workers, we can control our internal environment.
The sooner we learn to calm the oceans inside of us, the happier and healthier we will be.