When you read about someone who has healed their thyroid or autoimmune condition, does it give you hope… or do you get a knot deep in your stomach?
Sometimes, when I or one of my colleagues posts about our healing story, or shares an article on how it is possible to reverse thyroid and autoimmune disease, we’ll receive hate mail and negative Facebook comments from people unwilling to believe that it is possible to get better.
They lash out with harsh words, accusations and fear. They accuse us or our clients of being charlatans, say our stories can’t possibly be true, and try to “warn” others about our “lies.”
It’s hard to read, and as someone who has dedicated her life to helping people heal from thyroid disease, it hurts.
It hurts me, it hurts the client who was brave enough to share her story, and it hurts you…
It robs you of hope.
When I first entered the public realm and became “known” for helping people reverse disease, I had no idea that there was a class of people on the internet whose sole purpose was to undermine hope and healing.
In internet speak, they’re called trolls. I always thought a troll was some sort of cartoon character bad guy….although we’ve seen with Shrek that it can also be a person who is misunderstood. Wait…was Shrek a troll or an ogre? Regardless, you get the point. Troll-like thoughts and behaviors burrow and can live deep inside of us; using our inner critics as weapon against hope and healing.
So, does a troll live in you?
Do you ever say these things to yourself?
- I will never get better.
- There’s nothing I can do to heal.
- Being sick is too overwhelming. I just can’t handle it.
- My doctor said I can’t heal
- It’s too hard to change my diet
- I don’t have time to take care of myself.
- I can’t afford to order your program, get the help I need, buy organic food etc. etc. etc.
Take a moment to sit with yourself and see if you’ve said any of those things to yourself. What you say to yourself has a direct effect on how you feel…and how you’ll heal. Like Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”[bctt tweet=”If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford” username=”ThyroidLove”]
In fact, The Mayo Clinic states, “studies show that personality traits like optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being.”
I know that people who have gone out of their way to make negative and disparaging comments didn’t always have a troll living inside them. They are suffering and it has turned them into something that perhaps they themselves don’t recognize. In fact, they don’t always realize WHY they are so resistant to hope and how it is affecting their own healing.
They take their anger out on the group because they are suffering and they use the fact that a doctor may have said that they can’t be “cured” as an excuse to stay stuck.
The problem is that one troll tends to attract others. People will often jump onto thyroid forums and tear down others who have healed themselves. It seems that when one person posts negative feedback like that, a mob joins them to spread despair and hopelessness bringing down the energy of the group — and it can ruin it for those who want to heal and are ready to take action to do so.
So take a moment to ask yourself, is there a troll living inside of me? Am I resistant to having hope? Am I resistant to healing? Do I put up a wall of excuses as to why I won’t be able to heal? If so, why am I resisting this? Writing out the answers/journaling can be a powerful exercise to support you in banishing the troll for good!
Are you freaked out by hope?
For some people, the idea that there is hope to heal totally freaks them out. Why?
Because if there is hope and they actually can heal, they know it’s up to them to take the necessary actions to heal. The responsibility falls on them to make the changes and do the work to get better. That can be a frightening thing to face!
If they don’t have hope or believe it will work, then they don’t have to try. If they don’t try, they can’t possibly fail, be disappointed, or have to make changes they don’t wish to.
Resisting hope is a psychological way of being that can mean the difference between healing or not.
Shane Lopez, author of Making Hope Happen, goes so far as to say that humans can’t live without hope — it’s as vital as oxygen. According to Lopez, hope is what gives us the power to make changes in our lives.
In his book, he points out that people who have hope can propel that hope into action through goals, agency and pathways.
“In other words, hopeful people pick good goals, know how to make them happen, and spot and seek out the pathways that will move them forward.”
Hopeful people know that they want to heal their thyroid or autoimmune condition, and they come to me and my colleagues looking for information and pathways to reach their goals.
Hopeless people have decided that the goal they want, like healing, isn’t possible, is out of reach. Sometimes this hopelessness can get so overwhelming that it turns into anger, and they lash out at anyone who tries to disrupt their belief.
Hope is scary. It requires us to set aside something we might believe very deeply to be true. It requires a leap of faith. It requires us to love ourselves and the possibility of something better more than we love the status quo.
And…hope is contagious.
My great hope is that the collective hope of our community will continue to outshine the darkness that the inner and outer trolls want to spread.
Lopez says, “Your hope is actually dependent on your entire social network, including best friends, role models and secondhand associates. And your hope can be shared with others.”
When you are feeling hopeless (because it happens to all of us at one time or another!) I want you to really look at your thoughts on healing. Consider how you show up for yourself and on these forums and how your words can either raise the energy of the group by bringing hope and helpful resources or tear down others who have struggled just as you have but who are looking for a solution oriented way to heal.
The truth is, I think many thyroid trolls aren’t even aware of what they’re doing! They’re so mired in hopelessness and anger, they can no longer see how their actions are affecting others.
If stories of healing stir up negative emotions for you, I’d like to ask you to examine why. Are you truly angry at the person who has healed — or at yourself because you haven’t?
I want to ask all of us to consider the energy we bring to the Internet’s public spaces. Checking your mindset can help not only the group but yourself as well.
A final word.
Whatever you believe about your healing journey, wherever you fall on the spectrum of hope, I need to be very clear about one thing: it’s not ok to lash out at the people who are providing you with free resources that work and that are intended to help. And it’s not ok to bash a person who has bravely bared their soul and their struggle with you with the intention of sharing the truth about her healing journey.
If you don’t believe my story, don’t believe you can heal your disease, or don’t choose to do the work to find out, that’s OK. It’s not my job to convince you. If you disagree with our community and practices, then may I politely suggest you remove yourself and find a community that does support what you believe.
This is not to squash any free speech. I believe in thoughtful and lively debate on a topic. BUT I don’t believe in personal attacks on those of us who provide you with resources to reclaim your health and on the other members of the community. It’s also not that I want to discourage dissent; if you question or disagree with something I’ve said, I’m happy to discuss it with you in a civilized manner. I’m not perfect! I certainly make mistakes. But I won’t be bullied or belittled nor will I let my friends, colleagues and clients be either.
I understand that people are lashing out because they are angry and tired of suffering and struggling and I feel their pain. I personally know that struggle. I lived it myself. But attacking others is a waste of energy, and a drain on the group, and it does nothing to help you heal.
That’s why I’m going to walk my talk here and create a boundary for us all against the trolls and the haters. If you are not here to be compassionate, supportive and hopeful, this is not the community for you. And I’m asking you, friends, to keep your eyes peeled on my forum and those of my esteemed colleagues for those who are trying to stay stuck. Call them out (in a kind and loving way, of course) and report them to the administrator. They can be removed from the group so that those of us who have and are ready to heal, have a safe, supportive and hopeful place to do so.
When we support the trolls, whether they are strangers or living right inside our own heads, by showing them that there is hope, there is a better way, we all have a better chance at truly healing and finding that energy, joy and fulfillment we seek.
I want our community to be a supportive hopeful place. And I know we can all agree on that.
If you’re ready to believe you can heal and want support, I provide a ton of resources on healing your thyroid naturally, including:
- Our totally free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Report and Coaching Sessions
- Right here on my blog, where I talk about what’s worked best for me and my clients, as well as the latest research and resources I come across. You can subscribe to get new blog posts delivered right to your email by signing up on the righthand side of the page.
- My book, Healing Hashimoto’s Naturally — part memoir, part instruction manual for how I personally healed my Hashimoto’s disease.
- My exclusive free 6 Thyroid Myths That Can Keep You From Healing workshop — with info on the comprehensive Thyroid Fix in 6 program, which walks you through, step-by-step, the exact actions you need to take to heal your thyroid and get your life back! We’ve seen hundreds of participants in the Thyroid Fix in 6 avoid, decrease, or even eliminate the need need for thyroid medications.
- The incredible Your Best Thyroid Life Video Bundle, in which I personally invited 27 of the world’s top health experts to share their best tips for living with and healing thyroid disease.
Remember, no matter what diagnosis you’re facing, there is hope. Take small daily action and you can heal and have a normal life again!
Jen Wittman is a Certified Holistic Health Expert, Chef, Author & Vitality Coach, who teaches women how to reverse thyroid and autoimmune conditions naturally. She’s helped hundreds of women decrease (or even eliminate) their thyroid medications and has helped others stay off thyroid medication entirely.
Through her free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Jen teaches easy and simple steps to thyroid healing that can fit into your busy day. She also provides print outs to bring to your next doctor’s appointment so you can get the support and respect you deserve.