Thyroid disease is running rampant in the United States and the sad thing is most people don’t even know they have it or how serious it can be due to a wide variety of symptoms that often get diagnosed as something else including mental illness. I, myself was undiagnosed and misdiagnosed with a myriad of labels for over 25 years. I was treated, the symptoms would subside for a bit and then come raging back with full fervor.
According to Mary Shomon, a leading thyroid patient advocate and Guide for the About.com Thyroid site, “It is estimated that as many as 40 million Americans may be suffering from undiagnosed or misdiagnosed thyroid conditions.”
I was one of them. I just thought for the most part that I was crazy and would never heal, despite my efforts and tens of thousands of dollars spent on a myriad of doctors, healers, energy workers, nutritionists, psychics, seminars, therapists, self-help gurus, etc. I now see the light at the end of a very long, arduous tunnel. But it’s still a journey and while I can fall into the victim mentality at any given moment, it is also one that I now embrace as my teacher. If I change my perspective, perhaps I can see that I am so strong and that I was chosen to experience this, and that I WOULD find the root cause. And along the way, I would find such a deep level of compassion for the human condition so that I could really put my ego aside and be of service to others.
And that is now what I choose to believe.
Thyroid disease has given me so much knowledge and it is my intention and my soul’s path to share my education and experience along with that of many experts, so that others may get on the path to healing much more quickly. My hope is that some undiagnosed patients can avoid what I went through and still struggle with on occasion: the countless hours in bed unable to move from extreme exhaustion, muscle and joint pain, the compromised immune system (frequent colds and flus even while being the healthiest eater I knew), digestive disorders that would keep me doubled over for days and sometimes take me to the emergency room; the constant shame, crying, and depression so bad that I didn’t want to live, yet I judged as ridiculous and melodramatic. The years without a menstrual cycle yet with triple the symptoms, cysts and threatened infertility. The eating disorders that I thought I had and couldn’t control because my hormones made me constantly hungry. The sleepless nights for years and years from extreme anxiety and worry, the isolation as I didn’t want people to know how much I was suffering because I had to be a put-together fabulous designer and I never knew why exactly I was the way I was.
Plus, when I’m in good shape, I’m can be funny and fun to be around! My humor is what has gotten me by. I have even laughed at myself after the fact of some of the crazy situations I have found myself in because of this. Like the one day my roommate came home to find me in bed with stones all over my body, holding a cross in my hand and crying and chanting. Typhoid Mary became my new nickname.
That is the sneaky thing about thyroid disease, as there are good days with glimmers of hope nestled in between such a black hole of darkness, one can go a lifetime without many people knowing including oneself. But in that darkness was so much shame and embarrassment due to my inability to maintain control of my body and emotions, even though with all of my education and soul-evolvement I knew better; hence, the self-abuse. There was the loss of some key relationships due to acting out from bad medications and/or terrible symptoms, the poor decisions that caused my life to unravel because I was in such a fog and incapable of trusting my intuition, even despite my heightened clairvoyance that somehow allowed me to constantly advise my peers.
The extreme fluctuations in my weight went both directions: often I would experience a 15 to 20 pound weight gain in only one month and then hide for months because I was so ashamed and I couldn’t get it off despite my tremendous efforts, extreme obsession and even vigorous exercise which often left me unable to move for two days after. I would take heavy medications yet still try every holistic treatment, every diet on the planet. Little did I know how that would shape my future career but first to be continued was:
The Drama. The Craziness. The Self-Created Drama … or so I thought.
I allowed my once extremely successful interior design business to deteriorate because I was constantly sick, couldn’t focus and the stress of it all made me even worse. So many days I would suck it up on appointments while practically holding my breath and then sob in my car unable to move in between them. I remember shopping with a client once and having to excuse myself periodically to go cry in the public bathrooms. Plus, I simply lost my joy and passion for anything creative. Luckily for me, there is something so loving inside of me that keeps me fighting and searching for answers. I was constantly in school or taking a course to improve myself in the hopes that at any given moment that light bulb would just pop on. No pop for me, my psyche was on a dimmer switch with a slow illumination process.
So I went with that theory.
Having already a large bandwidth for everything holistic and also honing in my spiritual, intuitive gifts by attending a rigorous 18-month clairvoyant training program, I was still missing many pieces of the puzzle so I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, seriously an amazing school that I feel should be a prerequisite for everyone on this planet. It changed my life but unfortunately not for the better initially. I remember flying to New York for the first conference and missing half of it because I had such abdominal pain, fatigue and nausea that I had to stay in bed in my hotel, but upon my return I was determined that I would heal once and for all, yet I didn’t.
I released the psychiatric and endocrine drugs and it took my healing to a whole new level. I finally knew it was my thyroid, despite so many contradictory lab tests. I tried everything imaginable to detoxify my body. I listened to all of the lectures and so many on how the body was naturally inclined to heal itself and I believed it, and still do … to an extent (there were also the constant reminders that Western medicine was responsible for keeping many alive and it was for every individual to choose the best path for themselves). I was cleansing my body of sugar, alcohol, coffee, food allergies, heavy metals, candida, leaky gut, parasites and on and on. The detox symptoms kept me in bed for days on end again and again and furthered my isolation from friends. I ingested green smoothies by the gallon, every herb and superfood on the planet, had more colonics, took more infrared saunas. I meditated, I prayed. I practiced yoga a minimum of five days a week. I became scared and paranoid of food as I thought one wrong thing would make me sick and often it did. I went with a natural thyroid doctor who convinced me to keep going and that I could heal it naturally. He saw me falling apart for six months, sobbing in his office, reacting with anger, and so weak, unable to work. I felt like a failure and my mistrust and disdain for him and myself grew. Here I was becoming an expert yet gaining 20 pounds and still without energy and still totally depressed when my fellow classmates were curing themselves of cancer, healing themselves of eating disorders, chronic conditions, etc. and I was binging on healthy food.
What was I doing wrong? I wanted to believe so badly, with the school’s scientific data and now many extremely knowledgeable mentors in my life, that I could heal this naturally but I was falling down the rabbit hole even further. I seemed to have glossed over those experts that talked about Armour and other natural thyroid options. The school’s main objective is to really get ALL of the theories out there due to the extreme differences in “bioindividuality,” and it was a classic case of "one hears what they want to hear" based upon their beliefs in the moment. Those around me saw marked improvements (fewer and fewer digestive nightmares and a few more good days here and there), but I was still wallowing in this low-thyroid cloud of hopelessness. I was stubborn and now I was disappointed in both Western medicine AND holistic health.
I learned and firmly believe that all elements of natural healing and high-powered nutrition are completely necessary, but it is indeed a journey and it’s not easy or practically everyone would be healthy. Natural healing takes time. After all, it took us a long time to deteriorate. It is statistically proven that the second cause of death in the United States is iatrogenic, which means adverse conditions brought on by a medical doctor or healthcare facility. Luckily now we have naturopathic medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, functional medical practitioners, functional endocrinologists and other new professions that can fuse the two for the challenging cases like mine and millions of others by treating the ROOT of the problem from every single angle, instead of masking the symptoms with drugs that only work temporarily. I do have to say that some antidepressants and ADHD medications saved my ass temporarily on more than one occasion (though never fully … I was still crazy), but the devastation that occurred once they stopped working after a year or two was infinitely worse.
After completely surrendering and giving up everything, including my home in LA, I started taking natural dessicated thyroid despite over a year of resistance from fear of prescription drugs after so many nightmares and disappointments in the wrong ones. While Nature-Throid may not work for everyone, as my research shows that some people do better on a natural compounded T3 or another combination, for me it is seriously like the universe took out a golden psychic spatula and cleaned the cobwebs out of my brain and soul.
I wish as I wrote this that I could say I was completely victorious; my beliefs don’t want me to put out anything negative for then I have sheer paranoia that I will create more of my illness; and the vicious cycle continues. But I am honestly getting better and better, and now able to really walk my talk. I finally decided that I will love myself enough to not care what others think anymore (especially my ”self-judgmental self”), and share my story and my education as it is now vast … and this is not just about me anymore, it’s about millions. Thyroid disease can ironically be a selfish, narcissistic one as well; one becomes self-obsessed due to constantly feeling bad. The loved ones in my life know this and experience this first-hand. To me (and probably to them), it’s a constant broken record of the “cow chewing cud” in my brain. But this is the reality of my existence which I have kept hidden to most until now. With all of my knowledge as a health counselor and clairvoyant, and from my own clients, mentors and new naturopathic doctor, I will heal once and for all this year or at least be able to cope with the layers of the onion better as they peel away.
And again, while I am doing better than ever, I am still on this path to healing; however, it’s now a loving one wrapped in acceptance which is a crucial factor. In the past, I always wanted to go away, I wanted to know why with all of my efforts I wasn’t getting the results as those around me (compare and despair). What was I doing wrong, where is this blind spot in my psyche that I’m just not seeing, why was I so horribly unworthy of optimal health? I demanded the universe to tell me if and when I would heal! With all of this, what kind of hateful message was I sending to my cells and to the disease itself? How can one heal if they are hating a part of themselves? That light bulb is finally getting brighter WITH the help of proper treatment, especially natural desiccated thyroid; but as the biochemical is improving, it is helping in doing the MOST important tasks at hand: Changing internally, living from my heart, loving what is, and being grateful.
When it gets hard for me to not look at the “why didn’t I try this sooner” or the “could haves” or the “should be’s” I am finally able to “change my script” and know that without all of this I wouldn’t be able to help the thousands that I am destined to serve.
In gratitude, Kristin Kilmer