Dear Dr. Toni:
I am currently a financial analyst and very successful at it but have been having physical symptoms of extreme fatigue. I have been to two doctors about this. One was an endocrinologist who found that although my thyroid tested slightly overactive, he thinks the problem is that I am not coping well with stress. I don’t really enjoy my work anymore but I find when I’m not at work, I am still very tired so I am confused as to how this can be purely psychological. What do you think, doc?
First of all, if there is a thyroid issue—even if it is has been induced by stress—it will still affect you even when you are not in the stressful situation because your entire constitution starts to wear down. Also, traditional endocrinologists do not look at blood work the same way that holistic MDs or naturopathic physicians do. Andrew Weil, the famous holistic doctor, asserts that he treats the thyroid on the basis of symptoms rather than test results because the thyroid often shows irregularities long before they actually show up in the blood.
The American College for Advancement in Medicine (www.acam.org) is one resource for finding a holistic doctor in your area. I would also suggest that you begin to notice when you experience joy or interest through the course of your day. This is both at work and in your personal time. Pay attention to when your energy is better. Who are you with? What are you doing? I would spend three weeks jotting down data of when you find yourself feeling most alive. Your dreams are also clues to a possible transition you may be entering. If your thyroid is off, from a body psychology point of view, we would look at what is it you are not expressing. The thyroid is in the throat so when we are not expressing our authentic voice or saying what we really think in life, it can have physical effects. I would urge you to work with a coach or therapist on the psychological aspects of your fatigue as well.