Archive for the ‘Graves’ Disease Mental Symptoms’ Category

7 Strategies to deal with Graves’ disease mental symptoms and negative emotions.

Graves’ disease (or any thyroid disorder for that matter), as we all know, come with a nice set of mental symptoms like irritability, emotional liability, nervousness, restlessness, depression, anxiety and worrying, to name a few…

It’s a well-known psychological fact that emotions feed your thoughts and thoughts feed your emotions. If you feel angry, sad, frustrated etc. and keep thinking about the person or situation that caused you feel that way, you will “fuel” these emotions even more. That’s a never-ending circle but you can choose different emotions or different thoughts to break that vicious circle. How this happens in practice?

The emotional container of every person can hold up only certain quantity of emotions, it’s not expandable. It can hold up, let’s say, up to 2 gallons of emotions, not more. And you can fill out this container, so speaking, with whatever you want. Do you prefer joy, or sadness, or something else? It’s up to you!

There are also a few strategies that I used, and I still use to keep my negative emotions under control:

  1. Exaggerating worry strategy and designating a special day of the week for your negative emotions.  Let’s say you choose Fridays to worry, be sad, self-pity yourself or be angry..This is your special day but only on this day you’re allowed to have your negative emotions. Postpone if they happen another day of the week. You’ll be surprised that this psychological trick really works!
  2. I am challenging you on this particular day to take a short break and start worrying about everything that comes to your mind: your job, your money, your mortgage, your husband, your kids, your parents, about global warming and politics, about deadlines and health. Start worrying and continue this way to the point where you become one big walking “Worry” and nothing else.
  3. Now, let’s turn this upside down  or, as I like to say, flush this emotional toilet. Replace these very “unproductive” thoughts and turn your worries into: What if only good things happen to me… What if…. I find a better job, my kids do well at school, they are healthy, kind and understanding, my parents are in good health, my husband /wife wants to cook me a dinner or take me out, I have enough money, I finish my projects on time and so forth. What you gonna do with all that goodness that come on your way? You get my point. When these types of thoughts fill up your emotional toilet there will be no space left for the negative ones. We can worry about positive things as well, if we choose to do so.  It’s that simple.
  4. Cultivate gratitude. Every night before going to bed grab a notebook and list just 3 things that you are grateful or blessed for (only for that particular day).  These could be things like: food on your table, roof over your head, the beautiful day outside, the rain, the nice sales person, the time you had to rest, a promotion at work, nice conversation with a friend, good news about something. I am sure you can come up with something worth writing down.
  5. Meditation can help you deal with Graves' Disease

    Meditation can help you deal with Graves’ Disease

    Meditate or take some time off for yourself, even 30 min. and do nothing. Or put this 30 min on your to do list and do whatever you want.  I promise, this simple strategy will recharge your energy and make you feel better. I’ve dedicated a whole article about meditation to convince you how good this is for you.

6.  Know that to climb more you should generally carry less. To hear more, talk less. To succeed more, assume less. To gain more, resist less. To excel more, compete less. You’ve heard that from me before. So speaking, simplify your life and focus on just a few priorities (multitasking is not a fashion any more). That simple method will relieve your stress tremendously and make you feel much, much better. 

Passion7. Make passion part of your life. This picture came to me through Facebook, (don’t forget to LIKE us:) and I decided to share that with you as a strategy of coping with negative emotions, because there is nothing that can charge us more than incorporating passion in our lives. Passion is also connected with creativity and as we know, the throat chakra is responsible for creativity. So speaking express yourself with passion! What’s your passion? Planting flowers, writing, sports, hobbies of any kind. Find out what you’re passionate about and do more of that. Doing or creating something with passion will fill up your emotional container with positive emotions (so, there will be no place for negative emotions).

I have to admit that these strategies, regardless how simple and mundane they look, require patience, discipline and consistency. You’ll be creating new habits, but healthy ones, but it’s worth trying.

Happy flushing your emotional toilet! 🙂

If you have your own strategies and experience you want to share, please do so on my blog below…You can’t even imagine how many people you can help. 

More on the subject of emotions:

Graves’ Disease Mental Health

Living with Graves Disease: 4 Quick Life Style Changes for Better Health and Better Life

Health and Wellness Coaching for Graves’ Disease patients

Do I have more strategies for helping your mental symptoms and negative emotions? Of course I do and they are included in my book “Mental, Emotional and psychological aspects of thyroid disorders” ($24.95). Click on the book to find out more.

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The Thyroid Healing Plan- Emotional Part I

I’ve been asked many times what one should do to start the healing process of Graves’ disease and Hyperthyroidism, or any thyroid disorder for that matter. There are two sides of this problem: Emotional (psychological) and Physical (i.e. diet, herbs, supplements, medication etc.). We’ll start with the psychological part because I believe that this is where all started.

First, knowledge is power, we all know that. The more you know, the better decisions you can make. Sometimes, just reading a different opinion, from a different point of view can help you realize that your thyroid disorder may have different backgrounds from what you were told by the doctors (i.e. purely physiological). It should be noted here again that understanding the additional psychological reasons for your disorder does not substitute any medical treatment. Thyroid disorders are also physical disorders, not only mind disorders, and they should be treated medically as well. By that I don’t mean agreeing to invasive procedures like RAI and thyroidectomy, which are irreversible and which I highly suggest to avoid, if not absolutely necessary. But even if you went through them, it is still not late to perform some life style changes before they transform into another disorder (autoimmune or not).

So, what can you do:

  1. I suggest you sit down with pen and paper and go through your hierarchy of needs (specifically your 5 Basic needs below). Examine honestly which of these needs are not met or to what extent they are not satisfied. Understanding what you need in order to be happy with your life is a step towards your healing.
  2. needseditedExamine your emotions and how you feel as a result of your needs not being met. Negative emotions are the ones you should be looking for: rage, anger, resentment, shame, fear, sadness, loneliness, guilt, inferiority. Have in mind that they are probably deeply suppressed in your unconsciousness and not simply available upon your request to be seen and admitted immediately.
  3. Look deeper at close relationships: with family members, children, spouses, parents, siblings, and close friends. These are the relationships that mostly matter and affect us. Emotions related to them, especially negative ones, are the hardest to detect and admit. It is like that because your Super Ego, or the moral aspect of your personality, is trying to protect you from emotions very painful to face, and it will try get in your way by all means. You may go also through the so called denial, which function is to protect the ego from things that the individual cannot cope with. For example: it may not be acceptable to admit that your children are driving you “crazy”, and you feel guilty because good mothers shouldn’t be angry at their children. Or that you don’t love your spouse anymore (but he is a good guy in general), or your parents are a burden (but you shouldn’t feel that way because you are a responsible daughter/son). This is especially true when you don’t have a particular reason and can’t really blame anybody for anything specific. You may be blaming yourself for something you did or said, that is not “morally” and “sociably” acceptable. For example, it’s not morally acceptable to annoyed with your siblings, or children at times, or your best friend. You may be even embarrassed or guilty about experiencing or having these feelings and emotions at all. These I call “secondary emotions”, and they are even more poisonous than the “primary” emotions. You may think for example: “I shouldn’t be resentful to my husband because he is not that bad person overall; he takes care of me”, or “My best friend helped me when I was moving, I shouldn’t be irritated or annoyed that she is ignoring me now, when I need her so badly”. As a result of these ambivalent feelings and emotions, you may feel guilty, angry or frustrated- this time towards yourself. You may also be paralyzed by fear that you can lose financial stability, social prestige, or a friend. You may feel lonely, even though you insist that you prefer to live by yourself or you may fear death, even though you know rationally that “death is part of life” and is inevitable. There are thousands of situations and variations where you can experience negative emotions, but they can hide very deeply in your subconsciousness so even you are unaware of their presence. It’s nobody’s fault, it is the way it is. It’s human. But just admitting, allowing, and inviting them to come to the surface is in many cases enough.
  4. In the process of emotional dissection, I have found very helpful two things: One is meditation, and I already wrote about in other articles. The other method is writing three pages every morning. I learned this method some years ago from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, and since then I write every morning. It doesn’t really matter what you write about as long as you do it every day. Cameron believes that this helps clean out your mental trash every morning, and I assure you that it works very well for me. Get a pretty notebook and start tomorrow. Write about anything you want, the content doesn’t matter. You may put your thoughts, your feelings, your intentions, and desires, or your plan for the day. You don’t even have to read it after that, and nobody else will, so just write. You don’t have to be a writer either. As long as you are literate and can write, in any language, do it. I already have seven notebooks, filled with my life in the past few years. Will I even read them again, I don’t know. But they served their purpose and they still do.
  5. Building your self-esteem and cultivating self-love. Improving self-esteem is a very individual journey. It’s a key part of feeling happy within ourselves, and of feeling that we’re succeeding in the things that matter to us. It is also your road to health. It may be also a slow and difficult process; it’s not a twenty-four hour makeover. But don’t give up, it’s worth the time and effort! There are few methods that can be used to “treat” low self-esteem, even if you believe you don’t have that “disorder”. Again, don’t confuse self-esteem with self-confidence, these are different things, you may be very confident, but if you are reading post, you  may have some of this “low-self-esteem disease” as well.

 Below is a brief schema of the thyroid healing plan; some steps can be omitted if they are not relevant to the specific situation. This is also the plan I usually follow when working with clients, suffering from thyroid disorders.

ThyroidHealingPlan2

More information on this subject you can find in my book: “Mental, Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Thyroid Disorders”.

Hope it all helps your healing journey!

Svetla

Is Your Unhappiness Making you Sick?

sad-womanUNhappiness, as defined by the dictionary, stands for the feeling of not being happy; sadness, sorrow, dejection, depression, misery, wretchedness, despondency, despair, desolation, glumness, gloom, gloominess, dolefulness; melancholy, low spirits, mournfulness, woe, malaise, heartache, distress, chagrin, grief, pain, agony, anguish, torment, suffering, tribulation; the feeling of not being satisfied or pleased with a situation. (You can choose your favorite).

Described in a Life language manner and “dressed up” with some clothes, unhappiness means a lot of other things: marriage or relationship dissatisfaction, job intolerance, chronic stress, illness, lack of companionship, bitterness, financial problems,  problematic kids, whining parents, cruel co-workers, you name it...But how it is connected with your health? Do you believe that all this has no connection whatsoever on how your immune system reacts and what it does? Let’s think again…

daisy-flower-close-upI’ve always believed in the hypothesis that mind and body are connected and most of our diseases are psychosomatic, meaning that there is a relation between the mental and emotional states and the physical symptoms. I have a good reason for this belief, because most of my life I’ve been a body psychotherapist and practically studied people’s diseases and where they come from for a living. I have researched the applied extensively the work of Wilhelm Reich and Alexander Lowen and I have found a good support of their findings on a very practical level.

I know for sure that unhappy people do get sick with physical disorders more often than the happy do and that specifically pertains to autoimmune disorders.

Many people with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, for example, suffer from depression. It is widely assumed that this depression is caused by the abnormal levels of thyroid hormones. Is this true though? How about vice-versa, i.e.  the depression caused the thyroid dis-balance?

Scientifically speaking, there are few scientific researches on the connection between overall life satisfaction, happiness and autoimmune disorders. This correlation is important to be acknowledged and investigated in sense of prevention and successful treatment of autoimmune disorders, and not only Graves’ Disease, but other autoimmune disease like Diabetes type 1, Rheumatoid arthritis or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Vitiligo and in rare cases Lupus syndrome. In many cases, I’ve seen people suffering from more than one autoimmune disorder. Why is that, I thought?

I am not the first one asking myself this question. Many  research studies in the past covered the connection between general well-being and other diseases, including, but not limited to spinal cord injury, snoring, obesity, osteoporosis, Turner’s syndrome, cardiovascular disease and migraine, however, not enough studies have explored their connection with the autoimmune disorders.

For the purposes of studying Unhappiness and thyroid disorders I have prepared some researches for you, which undoubtedly prove that the better you feel, the more healthy you are. It can also give you some ideas on how to handle “unhappiness” or do things that can make you more happy. Click on the link below to read more:

Unhappiness and Thyroid Disorders

And as always, if you want to share your experience or thoughts, do not hesitate to do so below!

Cleaning the Emotional Bathroom of Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism

 

stressedlady1I have a confession to make; I was a life time worrier. When it comes to worrying there was no other person in the world that can do that job better than me. I could worry pretty much about anything and any time, day or night. I guess I inherited this precious character trait from my mom who still likes to worry about everything.

 Anxiety has been my dear companion all my life, but that’s a personal trait that will never go completely away and I am very aware of that fact.

But when I was sick with Graves’ disease some 10 years ago, anxiety and negative emotions just bloomed like a flower, watered with care every day during summer. See what I am talking about? Along with the anxiety other “nice” emotions will show their ugly faces: I’ll also feel angry (1), resentful (2), annoyed (3), irritated (4), bitter (5) upset (6) or (7) all of the above, to the point where I get pissed off of myself.  Then my “monkey mind” decides to start feeling sorry for itself and just for a change, the self-pity, pessimism and guilt will come along. Which will be replaced, sooner or later, again, by obsessive worrying, irritability, crying and sassing, snapping people  with words, blaming,  and not always in that particular ugly order. You can safely add to this list emotional liablity, nervousness, irritability and you can get a pretty nice picture of Graves’ disease condition. Not that I didn’t have any positive emotions, but they would manifest so rare that I don’t even remember them.

How fun this was? You may ask my friends and family members back then when I was sick with Graves’ Disease…. And I am pretty sure that you have experienced some of these emotions (if not all)  at least once, if not on a regular basis, if you have Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism. Have you?

And yes, it’s Graves’ disease and all thyroid hormones to blame for these emotions to a very big extend. We ask family members and friends to understand; we write heartbreaking letters to them and seek for the right words, hoping that they’ll somehow comprehend what is going on with us and that we are the victims of our own bodies. And they may, or may not. They’ll try to be compassionate and empathetic but they’ll still want this Mary, David, Christina, Alexandra etc. (insert your name here) they knew from before Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism. They do not want the “insane” person we’ve become, but the previous, precious, version of you, not the “downgrade”.

So, how do I keep all these emotions under control? Emotions feed your thoughts and thoughts feed your emotions. That’s a never ending circle and you can either chose different emotions or different thoughts to break that vicious circle.

I want to share 4 simple tips how you can deal successfully with the negative emotions, associated with Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism. 

5 tips to deal with  your negative Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism emotions

And as always, if you have your own strategies, please share them here on this blog. You can not believe how many people this will help!

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