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I'm Tired, I'm Frustrated, and I GIVE UP!

What To Do When You've Reached the End of Your Rope?

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Updated June 12, 2013

I'm Tired, I'm Frustrated, and I GIVE UP!
I just received this email today. This reader has said what many of us feel like saying at various points in dealing with a chronic illness. I suspect that most of us have reached this point somewhere along the way. So...here's her email, along with my response.
My name is Ellen*, I'm 38 years old, 188 pounds, with depression/anxiety, high cholesterol despite proper diet and moderate exercise, hypertension, infertility, etc. I suppose I need to stop now because you know all about the above signs and symptoms. Oh! I have about 10 more I could name but you understand my struggle. I may seem very harsh in my presentation but drastic times call for drastic measures. I was diagnosed with a goiter in 2001. A physician had me take thyroid supplements for approximately 2 months, only to no avail.

I had a thyroidectomy in fall 2002 and the rest is history. I inherited this condition from my maternal grandmother. I am the fourth female to suffer from this condition.

I own your book, and your Thyroid Diet and several other pieces of literature on the subject.

I've tried everything under the sun to help myself but without any success.

Basically, I'm tired of not being able to see any results from my labor. I'm tired of doctor hopping, tired of getting my hopes up that this idea will work, I'M JUST FLAT OUT TIRED.

I feel like I've left no stone unturned and so now I need permission and encouragement from you to GIVE UP, GET OVER AND MOVE ON TO ACCEPTANCE OF CURRENT POSITION.

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to be alive and I'm not contemplating suicide, I just want to relax and relieve myself of helping myself. Do you feel me?

I'm really happy that you have found success in your journey with hypothyroidism and I pray that things will continue to go your way. So, having said all that, I await your permission to let go and move on with where I am.

I'm sure you've never received an email in this magnitude before, huh?

In closing, I would like for you to know that I haven't always been a pessimist, just since hypothyroidism invaded my life.

Keep your chin up and stay on the battlefield for all the puffy faced, thinning hair and eyebrows, dry skin, etc. chicks out there still looking for a MIRACLE.

(* I've changed the name and a few personal details to protect her identity)

Dear Ellen:

It may not be any comfort, but you are not the first person who has written to me saying that you just plain want to give up on figuring out how to get well.

Believe me, I can relate, because I've been there too. I was ready to give up too many times to count. And there have been points where I did just flat give up entirely -- for a while.

It's frustrating, because even though you don't have a medical degree or much energy, you're expected to not only be own researcher, but your own patient advocate, your own therapist, your own nutritionist and your own personal trainer -- all at a time when you're more likely to want to curl up on the couch and nap from the sheer effort of it all.

In my case, for more than ten years, I've been on a journey -- a mission to be "cured" of my thyroid problem. In my case, I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, and am hypothyroid.

Down deep in my heart, I've always carried around the idea that somewhere out there is the perfect practitioner, endocrinologist, herbalist, alternative therapy, mind-body technique, diet aid -- the one that offers the "cure" to all of my thyroid-related health issues -- the miracle we are all waiting for that's going to change our lives.

What do I mean by the cure? After all, some doctors refer to thyroid hormone replacement therapy -- Synthroid, Armour, etc. -- as a "cure." (They use this term incorrectly, however, because it's just a treatment to manage the disease...not a cure.)

By cure, what I really mean is returning to the way I used to feel. Feeling well. Losing every single extra pound I gained. Not being so easily fatigued. Having thick hair and healthy skin. Periods that are normal. Arms and legs that don't tingle and ache. No periods of depression. No foggy brain.

So I started looking. On my own journey, I've ended up reading hundreds of books, talked to hundreds of practitioners, read thousands of websites, answered thousands of emails. I've personally seen two endocrinologists, one internist, an infectious disease specialist, a naturopath, two holistic MDs, two osteopaths, an acupuncturist, and a Reiki practitioner. I've tried herbs, supplements, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, yoga, meditation, and tai chi, among other alternative therapies.

I've talked to everyone, and believe me, I have tried everything.

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