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My Thyroid Beat Up My Brain

I love my thyroid with all my heart. I really do. Sometimes though, my thyroid can act like a little bratty and start picking on various parts of my body like a schoolyard bully. Lately it seems like the target of my thyroid’s harassment is once again my poor brain. This results in “brain fog”, a classic symptom of hypothyroidism, fatigue, toxicity, Lyme’s disease and a host of other conditions. Wait a second, what was I saying? Oh yeah, brain fog. For me, brain fog manifests in inability to concentrate, lack of focus, poor memory, difficulty coming up with words/poor grammar, lack of mental clarity. The days truly seem to float by.
One of the many lessons have learned in dealing with thyroid disease is that the more attention I give to feeling bad, the worse I feel. However, I certainly do not ignore my symptoms at all. Recognizing and managing symptoms are a crucial part of my healing process. This also takes away the attention from feeling bad and puts it towards a plan to feel good! I document how I am feeling and a list of my current symptoms in a journal. This allows me to look back and see where I am at, see what symptoms are coming and going and see if there is a pattern which may illuminate a particular food or action that needs to review. Keeping a journal makes it easier and more efficient to communicate with my doctor. And of course, it takes some of the pressure off of my already pressured brain to keep everything in order. I think it would also be lovely to do something along the lines of a spreadsheet that one could simply check off their current symptoms once a week.
I like to make lists of ideas how to manage my symptoms when I am clear-headed so that I can easily reference those ideas for help when I need them. When I get a great tip from another thyroid website, I add that to my list. Please always feel free to share your tips on managing symptoms or any aspect of thyroid disease/auto-immune disorder/fatigue/etc. YOUR input is SO WELCOME!!!

The Zen Thyroid List to Managing Brain Fog
1. One of the strongest tools I have is acceptance. I spend a lot of time working to accept that this is part of my life now. I try not to think about how it used to be or how it could be. It is now and this is what is happening. It sabotages to my healing process to be upset for too long about it or anything else. If I need to be upset, I get upset, let it out and I try really hard to move on to healing thoughts. This is not always easy but I am making it a habit so it just simply becomes natural…eventually.

2. As always, I tell other people so they understand. (disclaimer: as always, I try my best to do this) I find that my relationships are smoother and more supportive when others know what I am going through. Even the most wonderful loved ones are not mind readers. Communication minimizes misunderstandings as well. I find this really works for me and my peeps (I love you, peeps!).

3. I set a bazillion reminders in my phone to do literally everything that I have even the slimmest chance of forgetting. Watering the plants, meeting a friend, taking my second dose of Cytomel each day…all things that I would forget. And, no no no, I definitely do NOT want to miss that Cytomel (and if you take it, you know what I mean). Everything goes in the reminders. Otherwise, well, it probably won’t happen.

4. Be diligent in my allergen-free, protein-rich, healthy diet. I try to eat plenty of healthy fats which nourish the brain. Giving my digestive system the best chance of doing its job ensures that toxins are removed from the body as quickly as possible. I keep my home free of toxic chemicals as well.

5. Practice patience and know that I am doing the best that I can to heal.

6. Meditate. Meditation, along with acceptance, has been the most powerful part of my healing process. It affords me focus, stillness, calm and the occasional moments of clarity. It relieves my physical and emotional stress and allows me to plant seeds for health and happiness. Sometimes I meditate for a few minutes once a day, sometimes longer and more often. Sometimes I meditate in silence, sometimes I listen to guided meditations, sometimes I meditate while I walk. Each individual’s meditation practice is uniquely their own. There is no right way or wrong way, only your way. Deepak Chopra and the wonderful Chopra Center have a 21-day meditation challenge underway now, complete with daily guided meditations and support. For more info and to try it out, go here.

I am so grateful to each of you for choosing to read my blog. Sending YOU wishes for a beautiful and clear-headed day πŸ™‚

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.zenthyroid.com/2012/07/20/my-thyroid-beat-up-my-brain/


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  1. Elaine

    Brain fog may require you to concentrate with intention on what is important, but it obviously hasn’t masked your intelligence and spirit. Consider this good practice for old age. πŸ™‚

  2. Tammy

    Thanks for this post and your suggestions. Acceptance is something I really struggle with. Just when I think I’ve accepted things I find myself feeling huge amounts of grief for the person I ‘used to be’. My husband has suggested I keep a diary of symptoms and your post has reminded me of this idea, definitely something I want to start.

    1. Mikelle

      Tammy~ First of all, I am so happy to have discovered your blog! Not only becuase we are sharing a similiar struggle but also because you are a vegetarian too! My hypothyroid vegetarian sister!!! And in regards to your comment, yes keeping a diary of symptoms has helped me so much. It seems to take a lot of pressure off of having to remember because…well, you know about that remembering thing πŸ™‚ Looking forward to reading about your healing journey on your blog. Sending a hug your way.

  3. Andrea

    The first post I read from your blog was about acceptance. I cried because I realized I was mourning the old me. It’s hard to accept, but it must be done. The thyroid cloud has settled in on my brain. Either, I’m going crazy or I have come to accept this is where I am right now because it isn’t driving me crazy like it use. I wake up and kind of smile to myself. I’m still in here and though I’m slower, I can finally allow myself to be patient. I am not the crazed, go-go person I use to be and that’s fine.

    Oh yeah, and lists work great as long as you don’t forget where you put the lists. HA! It happens to me all of the time. I guess the phone works much better.

  4. AutoImmune Girl

    I can empathize with the brain fog. Your suggestions are great. I’ve always been a list maker and journal keeper. This is one step I definitely have an appreciation for and Acceptance, well, that is probably the most important for getting on with life.

  5. Jess

    Your blog is fantastic. Another thoughtful post I can really relate to. When you’re brain-fogged the days really do seem to just float by don’t they! Great list; meditation is something I’d like to try at some point.

    1. Mikelle

      Thank you so much for your kind comments Jess! Regarding meditation…one of my favorite guided meditation sites, Meditation Oasis, just released a new, perfefctly-timed podcast called Healthy Body Guided Meditation. SO good!!!!

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