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5 Lessons Hashimoto's Disease Has Taught Me

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Hashimoto’s can make the simplest things, like eating out or taking a shower, complicated and sometimes traumatic. However, it has taught me a few useful lessons about myself and my body.

1. Listen to your body.

Your body will tell you when something is wrong; don’t ignore it! Had I not started losing hair, I would never have taken any notice of my emotional instability or unbeatable fatigue. Yep, the superficial stuff got my attention first. Don’t try to “stick it out.” And don’t discount what feels unusual to you just because they are not “serious” problems.

2. Patience.

Results take time — with anything in life, be it exercise, healthy eating or one’s overall wellness. My blood test results have been progressively better, but it has been slow-going. My body is going through a lot, fighting more battles than it should be. This knowledge has brought me a small measure of patience, a virtue I have lacked in my life thus far. Drinking bone broth, eating coconut oil, giving up gluten and having an arsenal of supplements is healing me. I have come to realize I cannot expect results overnight. I have also drawn on my new pool of patience to not get mad at people when they give me the “But you look fine” line.

3. A support system is essential.

There is no way in hell I could have done this alone. There have been so many times I’ve been comforted while I cried about having no energy, and times when friends have tried out gluten-free recipes to give me ideas. The point is, we need people. Dealing with anything alone makes it hurt so much more, and an autoimmune disease is no exception. Putting on a brave face for the world is great, but the facade is difficult to maintain. Having people around who listen and genuinely care makes all the difference.

4. Be grateful.

I know it sounds preachy, but hear me out. I used to complain daily about my wild hair: the frizz, the thickness, the sheer amount. Now, I want to weep when I wash it and avoid brushing it at all costs, because I inevitably pull out handfuls. All I’m saying is, be thankful for the small things that make you you. My big hair has always been a part of who I am, and losing it has been heartbreaking. Is it superficial? Probably. Nevertheless, I genuinely regret every second of whining because my hair wasn’t straight or shiny, and bemoaning the humidity because of the frizz-fiesta it would bring.

So, before a few years pass and I regret complaining about something else, I’m going to say what I am grateful for. I am thankful for the new relationship I have with my body. I treat it with a lot more respect now than I did pre-Hashimoto’s. I exercise, eat right (for the most part) and can now immediately tell when something inside is out of sync.

5. Real food > processed food for me.

Going gluten-free was a turning point for me. Not only did I give up gluten, but I also cut out most (not all) of the processed food I had previously eaten. Five months of eating whole, real, nutritious food (with the occasional Cadbury’s indulgence) has definitely contributed to my improved health. I usually keep it very simple. Veggies, meat, chicken, fruit, rice and nuts make up the majority of my diet. To keep my sweet tooth satisfied, I use my Deliciously Ella cookbook to make healthy treats.

Hashimoto’s disease is a part of who I am. Many of my decisions now depend on what effect they will have on my health:

Divania: “Okay, you know what, screw it. I am going to Pizza School and no one can stop me!”

Voice in head: “You’re the boss! But don’t complain when you’re sick for the next three days…”

Divania: *throws tantrum, stays home, and Googles pictures of pizza*

It is a pain, but I am more self-aware for it. I guess this is me finding the silver lining of a really pesky cloud.

Follow this journey on Div And Bean.

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Image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: October 11, 2016
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