Healing my Thyroid, Finding My Voice

“She fell from their graces into her truth.” —Terri St. Cloud

In January, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune version of hypothyroid and the most common type in the US. I’ve heard the statistic that the average woman with this disease sees between 11 and 20 doctors before figuring out what is a seemingly obvious, albeit complicated diagnosis. One in 8 women are suffering – and many in silence.

Two years! That’s how long it took for me to finally get a diagnosis. And I was one of the lucky ones. If something feels off, it usually is. Before I was diagnosed, I had unlimited energy to give to everyone. I took care of myself, or so I thought, by training for triathlons – and I eventually completed an Ironman.  I did yoga. I was a strict vegetarian,  but as I know now, I was giving out way more energy than I was getting back. I knew something was wrong when my runs seemed harder and I struggled through my days. This was so unlike me.

The thyroid is the metabolic master in our bodies, so we feel like everything is just too much work.  In hypothyroidism, it all slows down.  I was not only freezing when others were comfortable, I just had no get up and go.  My husband got concerned, especially after 20 years of being a dedicated runner and triathlete, I had zero interest.  While the thyroid causes major hormonal imbalances, it often starts with dysregulated cortisol.  When our cortisol is all out of whack, it is a warning bell we are stressed out.

Sure my life had some major stressors (whose doesn’t?), but I also knew from my years of work and study in holistic healing that there was a whole other component to my thyroid issues.  My thyroid was sending me a bigger message. In the last five years I’ve had the highest highs and the lowest lows, as I’ve tried to heal my fractured marriage, grieved the loss of life as I knew it including the death of two brothers and most recently my mother, shed the skin I was comfortable in and the removal of what wasn’t serving me including lots of people, to finally confront my own imperfect and broken soul and fall in love with that beautiful brokenness.

And over the long winter, as I was grieving the loss of my mother, my health and wellbeing  deteriorated. I gained 20 pounds, and I felt like I was carrying a backpack full of bricks around.  Because I was.  Years of emotional pain had embedded in my body.  I felt lonely – but wanted it no other way.  I needed to re-connect to myself – to my own inner voice. She was screaming, “Pay attention. Love me.”

I had to believe that there was something much greater at work in my life here. I had some major fifth chakra issues – and I knew it. Not surprisingly, the 5th Chakra is located in the throat between the head and the heart.  When we are all in our heads, we suffer emotionally.  If we lead from our hearts, we maintain the fantasy that all is well – even when it isn’t.  Clarifying and making choices that connect the head and the heart may be an aspect of healing that is not addressed enough.

I needed to align my head and my heart and speak my truth. But before I did any of that, I needed to make a conscious effort of loving and nurturing myself. I stepped back. I slowed down. I created more spaciousness in my life. I gave up gluten. I quit my beloved coffee. I feel in love with Kundalini Yoga. But I still didn’t get fully better.

I, like many women, have a sticky relationship with own inner power – my own voice. Learning to speak from the heart with courage and clarity can be difficult at times, especially if we don’t always take the time to get to know ourselves. Or we are too influenced by the opinions of others. Fear holds us back. We lose sight of the fact that we have choices in our lives. True healing begins when we can get honest with ourselves and others about what we need.

Trusting our voices and knowing there is higher guidance at work in our lives are powerful medicine – more potent than any bottle can provide.

A month ago, however, I finally made the choice to go on medicine after two years of struggling. I am seeing signs of improvement already, but we all know that when things go seemingly wrong, they are propelling us in a direction of growth. So I’ve set some intentions to work on some of these things as I heal my thyroid and find my voice.

I trust the wisdom of my own heart and the wisdom of my mind – knowing that all life is a form of spiritual transformation in my favor.
I am honest and loving to myself.
I have courage to make the changes I need to make.
I will stop playing small.
I ask for help.  Knowing that it is my personal responsibility to help others understand what I need.
I will express myself open and honestly – even when I am afraid.  Conflict while it is so very difficult for me is a part of all healthy relationships.
I give up the need to figure everything out.

As the late poet Dorothy Parker said about finding our personal power, “It feels like heaven once we’ve arrived, but the journey getting there is long and arduous.” But so very worth the effort.

My story of healing my thyroid is not quite over and neither is learning to use my voice… but i know more than ever, getting clear, being honest, and loving myself are the keys to reclaiming my power and healing my life.

Storykeeper: Karin Chen

Karin Chen is a holistic healer, wellness warrior and soulful living coach.  She is a woman who is devoted to educating, empowering, and inspiring women to feel genuine self- acceptance, to feel grounded, to re-connect to the wisdom and power within, and to honor their own unique constitution for true wellness.   By supporting each other’s process, she believes in the sacred power of women to deeply nourish and heal our world.  As an RN, certified holistic health coach, clinical nutritionist + herbalist, and a devoted yogini, she is currently working with a handful of amazing women that she is dedicated to helping lead more inner guided lives   She enjoys sharing her insights for the Whole Healthy Woman at her website www.karinchen.com.


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