Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A big THANK YOU and MERRY X-MAS!

I only wrote a quick post yesterday (as it was a little hectic around here), but now is a good time to thank you all for your encouraging words on my health problems and for being there! I know - a lot of us haven't met yet and do not know each other in person, but we know each other in a very special way I assume: through our artwork - which often allows us a glimpse through the surface at a very special part of one's personality.

So it IS personal - even if we are "strangers" at a different level of "knowing" each other. And this is why your words and learning that you are with me in some way especially when times get rough really touched my heart and I am very happy that I stumbled upon this wonderful artsy and crafty blogland community to find all of you! Thank you all so much for dropping me those kind words and sharing some of my sorrow :) They really helped a lot!

I recommend that those who do not want to read about some personal health stuff and about the Hashimoto auto-immune desease, skip the rest of the text and scroll down to the end of this post (to see the image of the nativity scene ;). I really don't want to burden you against your will with this. 

Some of you know that for the last three years (the ones before the correct diagnose not counted in) I have been dealing with an auto-immune desease called Hashimoto, which affects the thyroid. It's a rather common auto-immune desease (I have learned) and can't be cured but treated by substituting the thyroid with hormones it doesn't produce sufficiently anymore.
An underfunctioning thyroid like mine may cause a really wide variety of nasty symptoms - each one individually not seeming too "severe" (I thought I had the flu or a "tiny burn out" most of the time before I was diagnosed - and of course felt like a loser) - but when those symptoms all come together you just feel as if you were about a hundred years old and/or (very!) flu-ish and worn all the time (not to mention that remarkable gain of weight). And it also causes symptoms that often look like a depression - anxiety disorders and nasty stuff like that.

But - and that's the really mean part of this - most of the time there really is a depression involved as well as most of the "Hashis" (as they are called) have been going through years (!) of pain, fear and sorrow because they felt sick but all the doctors didn't find anything that might explain their symptoms (and said it was a psycho-somatic thingie)...so they mostly get diagnosed as suffering from a depression but don't get any treatment for the thyroid. Which during all that time causes a real depression too of course - and then the symptoms start to mix and mingle...which definitely makes things a lot more difficult....

I guess I was among the lucky who have a good family doctor who spotted the real source of all those never ending "flues", "depressions", aching bones, tiredness,... rather soon, but it also took at least five to six years before we found out what has really been going on (I have gone throught the "psycho-somatic and burn-out thingie" too until the symptoms got so heavy that it became a lot clearer). So there's a real depression too - which was too hard to spot obviously. And it was that increasing depression that was taking me down during the last months and especially weeks - it needed three panic attacks and a lot of sleepless nights and the fear that I would not make it for X-mas to finally go to a specialist, who really helped me a lot by fiddling all the parts apart and spotting the true wrongdoer. So I hope I will be my old self on X-mas eve and be able to enjoy it with my loved ones.

Why do I tell you about this?
Because I know that there are a lot of Hashis out there, who - like me - are going through a lot of ups and downs.
Finding yourself in another "down" is the most frustrating part of this I guess. And often you don't have a specialist who (like mine) encourages you to listen to your own inner voice and your body instead of the blood test results and normal ranges. I learned that it really takes at least two years (I guess maybe even longer) for you to learn to divide which symptoms are caused by what and to find your individual level for your hormones where you feel best.
"It is only two years since you have been working on your thyroid's levels" my specialist said. "ONLY two years"...not to talk of the years before... but this summer I knew (and felt) that it IS possible to be well again, because I was THERE: I felt like my old self again, I was able to do sports again, I started loosing weight again... I was ME again.
And if there were no depression, I would feel just fine! So at least knowing that it is possible to find the perfect dose for you gives a lot of hope and strength (which you thought you would never get back) - and I want to give a bit of that hope and strength to all those out there who are going through the same hard times.

I know - it is hard (for me too) to accept that depression might stay one's companion for some more months (or even years), but it will go away one day (but you have to get the help of a specialist before you can stop taking your anti-depressants - as the thyroid needs some different hormones then in preparation! - which was the most important thing I learned when I visited the specialist)!

The doctor told me that I should be gentle to myself and not force anything. Take all the time and help I can get (especially the help from medication ;). Not fight anymore. Listen to myself. And to not give up!

Being creative is my means for escape, for feeling agile and active, for giving meaning to the fact that I sometimes am not able to run and jump around or manage a day's work like I feel I should, for turning "lost" time into "precious" time, for forgiving yourself and/or forgetting about the fact that some things in life haven't been going that well. And I guess a lot of you know what I am talking about ;)

I know that 2014 holds a lot of wonderful experiences ready for us on our creative journeys and I am sure that we will find our ways to enjoy the trip, find our own personal pace and explore new territory!

I wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS AND ALL THE BEST OF 2014!



Hugs and thank you all once again!

Claudia x

18 comments:

  1. I'm happy that you found a diagnosis for your illness, Claudia. Not knowing creates so much anxiety on it's own. I hope that you continue to improve. Your art is so wonderful and I'm sure it's a big help with dealing with your symptoms. Your Nativity scene is just beautiful and so very detailed. Thank you for sharing it. Merry Christmas to you and a very Happy New Year. I'm sure it will hold great creative things for you!

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  2. Your honesty is impressive Claudia..you're a strong woman, with a positive mind. In spite of your struggle and depresssion and all the other nasty things...you are able to look at the future!
    Wish you good medication, a better health and a stunning new year...not hidden behind artwork, but in the spotlight of it!
    Kind regards, Alie

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  3. Liebe Claudia, da bist du ja durch eine ganz schön harte Odyssee gewandelt Das tut mir echt Leid für dich - umso bewundernswerter ist es, dass du so tolle künstlerische Werke zauberst. In vielen Teilen deiner Beschreibung kann ich dir das Ganze nachfühlen (ich habe kein Hashimoto sondern "nur" eine Unterfunktion). Ich wünsche dir weiterhin viel Kraft und einen super Aufwind für das kommende Jahr! Nun erst einmal eine wunderschöne Weihnachtszeit und einen guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!
    Ganz herzliche Grüße aus Bayern in das schöne Wien
    Evelyn
    p.s.: das Kripperl ist wunderschön!

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  4. I am wishing you great things for 2014. I know what it is to live with chronic conditions (going on almost 40 years). Artwork pulls me through most things. Good and bad. Glad you have that in your life as well. Will keep watching for more inspiration. thanks as always for sharing.

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  5. Ich wünsche Dir und Deiner Familie ein schönes Fest -
    ich drücke Dir die Daumen, dass es weiterhin besser wird -
    dass Du Dich stark fühlst - mental und körperlich...
    ich kenne es sehr gut was Du beschreibst...
    oh ja...
    ich kämpfe seit übr 12 Jahren mit meinem Nervenkostüm...
    aber ich gewinne immer (hoffe es..und glaube fest daran) weil ich - so wie Du es beschreibst
    ganz viel darauf geben dass ich meinem Bauchgefühl trauen kann und mich davon leiten lasse.
    Hören wir in uns hineine..ganz tief.. sagt uns der Bauch ganz oft ganz genau was gut für uns ist....

    die Kreativität und die Stille des sich mit sich selbst beschäftigen bei unserem kunstvollen Hobby hilft da ganz wunderbar -
    in diesem Sinne...
    kämpfe weiter um Deine Gesundheit und Dein Wohlbefinden...
    Du machst das genau richtig so!

    Knuddel

    Susi

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  6. Your nativity scene is so beautiful Claudia! I love it. I am so happy to hear that you are now fully aware of the details and causes of your illness, it make it a lot easier to deal with. As a sufferer of an auto immune disease myself I do really sympathise with you, but know what it is and how to deal with it always helps. Take care my friend, look after yourself and have the most wonderful Christmas. Big hugs, Anne x

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  7. Hi Claudia, Glad you're feeling better and you are in a 'good' phase and that this lasts. (I was diagnosed with this 6 years ago, so know jus how you feel)
    Take care, Avril xx

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  8. Claudia, thank you for the courage to write this post and I am sure it will mean a lot of encouragement for many people. You are lucky to have such a good specialist, and I feel confident that you will get through this. Art is the greatest healer! I have been blessed with good health all my life, so have no personal experience of what you are going through, but as the comments above show, many people in this special blogland of ours do, and your honest discription I'm sure will mean a lot to them!

    The nativity scene is so beautiful, thank you for sharing this with us also. Wishing you all the very best for Christmas and 2014, I always enjoy visiting your blog!!

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  9. Hi Claudia, Reading your post, your positive outlook and how you cope with your illness will give hope to many folk.
    Take care of yourself and I do hope that 2014 will be good to you.
    Yvonne xx

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  10. I agree with Astrid, I think it will mean a lot of encouragement for many people. You are a strong woman!
    Sending warm wishes to you and your family for a wonderful Christmas and much health and happiness for 2014.

    Take care, Gaby xo

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  11. I wish to say that is good that you know diagnose, but I know that’s not help a lot….I admire you, because you share your condition with us and I know that you will go through this!!! Stay positive my dear Claudia!
    I wish you and your family happy festive season and all the best in 2014!
    Hugs

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  12. You write so openly and so bravely about the struggles you have been experiencing - and I have no doubt that your words will be a source of strength, hope and optimism for others with the same or similar (or even completely different) diagnoses. I'm forever grateful that you found this blogging community as it means we get to share in the creativity and art which has been such a solace to you... and I hope that 2014 brings us just as much art and creativity from you, and brings you closer to the balanced medication which will give you back "yourself". I'm proud to be your friend.

    Wishing you and your whole family a wonderful festive season.
    Much love,
    Alison xx

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  13. I love your greatness of spirit! Surely you'll be fine with your health! Wish you have a good 2014! A hug!

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  14. liebe caudia,
    auch kenne diese krankheit - aber nur vom erzählen. aber so spezifisch wie du sie schilderst sehe ich sie trotzdem anders. du bis stark! ich danke dir, dass du diesen bericht gemacht hast und ihn mit uns teilst. ich hoffe, dass wir uns bald wieder lesen, dass wir skypen und und vielleicht auch bald wieder treffen. du bist so ein toller und positiver mensch. ich schätzte dich (und auch deine kreativität) sehr.
    alles liebe und hab' ein angenehmes weihnachten-
    herzlichst
    margit

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  15. Ich wünsche dir und deinen Lieben ein frohes Weihnachtsfest und alles Gute für 2014. In einer ruhigen Minute werde ich mir mal diesen Post durchlesen. Mein Englisch ist nicht so gut und da dauert es dann etwas länger. Auf alle Fälle wünsche ich dir Kraft :)

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  16. Einen schönen, restlichen 2. Weihnachtstag und einen guten Start ins Jahr 2014 wünscht Dir von ganzem Herzen
    MARTINA

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  17. I hope that 2014 finds you in a creative spirit and able to control the bouts of depression through your art. Isn't it wonderful that art can be such a healing force? I thank you for taking the time to visit me on my little blog and leave me words of encouragement ♥ I love your Nativity scene, it's beautiful! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina :)

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  18. Thank you for sharing this Claudia. There is hope when we feel hopeless. I am so glad I worked backwards on your blogs in January to see you on the other side of this depression. I know what it's like to live in a black hole of depression due to ill health ... a place where there is an absence of creativity. It is so wonderful to see the creativity exploding in abundance for you this month!!!! God bless you and a huge hug from me -- Mary Elizabeth

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Thank you so much for your visit and especially for taking the time to leave me a short comment! xxx

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