While I have been staying in and resting, my partner J has been explaining to people he meets that I am not well, and whenever he mentions thyroid, it seems as though everyone else - or at least, every woman, - has a thyroid problem too. And this is no exaggeration. For the past few days he has been coming home and saying, Oh, I told X about your.... and she's also got a thyroid....
What is going on here? Is there some kind of epidemic amongst women and no-one is talking about it? My mother has been taking thyroid hormones for years, as has my paternal grandmother. I would say that 50 percent of my female friends have or have had some kind of problem with the thyroid. Two friends this week told me they are having theirs tested. And now all these other women that J is randomly coming into contact with.
And in a lot of these cases, the thyroid gland isn't working properly because it is being attacked by the body's own immune system.
Why am I mentioning this here, on a blog about writing? Because when I had my first bout, almost seven years ago, which knocked me out for several months, my chiropractor, who is much more than just a manipulator of joints and gives advice on diet, nutrition and emotional well being, said: "Look where this gland is. It's in your throat. This is all about expression. Self-expression. Expressing your creativity."
This made a lot of sense to me at the time. I wasn't writing, I was just beginning to listen to that small voice which was saying "Isn't there something else you're supposed to be doing? Is what you're doing now really satisfying you?"
Of course, I am most definitely not saying that everyone is responsible for their health problems, that we bring it on ourselves. As someone who did study science,I know very well that "cause" and "effect" are loose concepts, difficult to determine in any situation. I can only speak for myself.
What I have experienced is that stress makes this much, much worse, and I am stressed when I am not expressing myself creatively. Of course, there are many other sources of stress. This latest bout came at a time of enormous pressure which both has to do with the product of creative expression (my book) and nothing at all to do with creativity (selling my book). In some ways, this "systems crash" has given me what I secretly wanted: an excuse to stay home, stay very very quiet, not talk to anyone, about me, about my book, about my writing. To hibernate, basically. In a strange way, my body gave me what I wanted because I didn't know how to do it myself.
So, I am writing this in the hope that others will come and share their stories. Is this some kind of epidemic? What are we doing to ourselves that one of the most important glands in the body, is being attacked by the body itself and we cannot function properly? There is no cure for this, the few options being offered involve taking synthetic versions of the hormones the thyroid gland is supposed to be producing. And apparently the most popular brand of this synthetic hormone is the fifth most prescribed medication in America!
If you Google "thyroid" and "epidemic" you get all sorts of things talking about too much soy, too much fluoride, etc... I am sure none of us is eating well enough, doing enough exercise etc.. But I am worried. This really worries me, and not just because it is affecting me. Is anyone paying enough attention here? This really shouldn't be happening, right? What are our bodies telling us?