Mikelle Hebeka, Contributor
My daily fight with my Thyroid….and BRAIN FOG!
I love my thyroid with all my heart. I really do. Sometimes though, my thyroid can act like a little brat 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 my 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.
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.
One of the many lessons I 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 of how to manage my symptoms when I am clear-headed so that I can easily reference those ideas for help when I need them, because brain fog can sneak up on you. 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
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.
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.
3). Set Reminders
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 Diet
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
Practice patience and know that I am doing the best that I can to heal. I am doing my best every day!
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 usually have a 21-day meditation challenge underway, complete with daily guided meditations and support.