I recently read the book “Tears Behind Closed Doors – failure to diagnose an underactive thyroid: the truth behind the tragedy” by Diana Holmes, and there were some major insights and shifts that came to me through it. For those who are new to my blog, I have been living with hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue for a good portion of my life. These issues were only mild, and managed very well via natural medicine until I broke my leg (femur) in an accident in 1999 and the trauma and subsequent operation to pin the bones, left me with almost complete failure of those organs.
The journey back to health was quite an arduous one, being bed-ridden and basically unable to function for quite some time, before finding a brilliant integrated doctor who gave me a proper diagnosis and the right tools to help me get well. I stayed in what I would describe as the absolute peak of health for many years after that, very fit, lean and energetic, feeling happy and optimistic, passionate about my work and life in general. However, three years ago I had a major, traumatic, stress, and my system collapsed again. I was confined to bed again for about three weeks with severe fatigue, put on 15kg within that short time, and have since had trouble getting back to my previous level of amazing health.
The weight has stubbornly refused to budge, despite periods of time where I have been exercising heavily – two hours every second day of a combination of weights and cardio – then an hour of cardio on the days in-between. And eating a diet that would be considered abundantly healthy and vibrant, with superfoods, herbs and supplements as needed. Even with living what I know is an incredible life, the depression has been all-consuming a lot of the time, and the fatigue so debilitating, many days are a struggle just to get by.
Despite these issues though, I have still managed to build a wonderful business, travel often and run life-transforming retreats around the country and in Bali, develop an incredible relationship with a very special man, create amazing friendships and continue to live life to the fullest, to the best of my ability. As well as making over a decade-long study of adrenal and thyroid issues, and being able to help hundreds of people regain their health.
So reading Diana’s story was a wake-up call for me. The tragedy of her story is that she didn’t get the diagnosis or help she needed for 23 years. For that length of time, she lived an increasingly debilitated life, misdiagnosed with six separate severe illnesses (none of which she had), ending up 50kg overweight and confined to a wheelchair, in severe pain and desperate for answers. Eventually she did find a doctor who treated her undiagnosed thyroid disorder and she became well again, leaving the wheelchair behind and being able to finally live a normal life, after 23 years of anguish and despair.
I looked at a photo of Diana sitting on her motorised buggy and it hit me, that that could be me. That if I didn’t have the knowledge I have, the resources and skills to look after myself the way I do – then that could be me – I’ve been there, bedridden and distraught – yet I was one of the lucky ones who found the help I needed within eighteen months, not 23 years, and I also had the naturopathic knowledge to keep myself as well as possible in pretty difficult circumstances.
So when I look at myself and see that 10kg extra weight I still have, and when I wake up some days knowing that walking from the bedroom to the lounge room is about all I can manage that day, I need to remember to be much more gentle with myself, knowing that it could be much, much worse. That I am managing my health pretty well overall, and that I am still in recovery.
As my tagline says “Healing is journey, not just a raw food diet”, and the last three years have been a journey that has taught me an enormous amount about myself, about my beliefs and my wounds, and every day there is something new to learn and be grateful for. Knowing that my health will continue to improve and that I’m actually doing OK. And that every piece of the puzzle that I learn, every insight and gem of wisdom that I discover about these issues, will not just be for me, but will be for the many people that I aim to touch through the book I am writing, bringing to light just how many people are affected by these disorders, and are not getting the information they need to get well. So thank you Diana, for my wake-up call.
When have you had a wake-up call from reading a book? Or had something happen that put life back into perspective for you? Where do you need to be more gentle and accepting of yourself?