Everyone Thought I Was a Hypochondriac. It Was Actually an Autoimmune Disease Called Hashimoto’s.


After finishing college, seemingly unrelated health issues began to crop up: anxiety, insomnia, swollen ankles, exhaustion, restless legs, acid reflux, acne, brittle hair, dry skin, cold hands and feet, lightheaded sensations when standing, joint pain, weight gain, digestive issues, headaches, mood swings and hypoglycemia.  Friends and family jokingly called me a hypochondriac because I always had something wrong with me even though I “looked healthy.”

I was basically in denial about the state of my health for those few years of my life. My symptoms were constantly changing, so it was difficult to pinpoint what was going on. I had a lot of joint pain, but the pain would move around throughout my body.  It hurt to even think about running, even though I was a former cross-country runner.  Stomach issues were just something that I tried to deal with as part of my daily routine. I was always exhausted, and I wasn’t sleeping well– a vicious cycle that led to anxiety and weight gain. I’d never experienced any of these ailments before, so I tried to blame them on the stress of my job and commute.

With all of these unrelated symptoms plaguing me constantly, I thought I was going crazy. I’d suddenly become the girl who always had all of these little ailments.  It took time to realize that they all might be connected somehow.

Finally, when my parents were visiting DC from New York, I tried to put the anxiety I had been feeling into words. I remember breaking down and trying to tell them, “I know this isn’t normal.” I was thinking about going to a therapist for my anxiety when I stumbled onto a holistic type website. The website suggested looking into diet and herbal medicine before trying anxiety medications and discussed the impact that adrenals have on anxiety. That was my first tangible clue that I had the power to heal my laundry list of ailments through lifestyle changes.

After years of being “borderline” hypothyroid, (even though every single member of my family has a thyroid disorder) I saw an endocrinologist, who finally diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing hypothyroidism.

Before I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I never made the connection between what I ate and how I felt. I was used to being a skinny cross-country runner who could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. In high school, family dinners always included bread and desserts, and I’m pretty sure almost everything we ate came out of either a box or a can. Lunch was fast food almost every day. I wasn’t a picky eater, so I never considered myself unhealthy. But, even my better meal choices were usually salads drenched in dressing or sandwiches and wraps that I could eat on the go.

After I got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I started on medication, which I am still taking. While the medicine helped right away with my energy, its effects started diminishing over time. Even though I was put on medication, I didn’t like the thought of my body attacking my thyroid, so I read everything I could about my disease to see what else I could do.


After going to a naturopathic doctor, who also diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue and possible mold exposure,  I went through a four-month mold detox and low carb/low sugar diet.  I finally realized the impact that holistic nutrition can have on my disease!  Over time, I have learned the importance of eating nutrient-dense foods to control– and hopefully put into remission– an autoimmune disease.

Currently I am gluten and grain free and have eliminated other food sensitivities like eggs and tomato.  I try and follow a Paleo diet.  I still have days where I get down and wish that I could eat “normal” again, but most of the time, my new diet (coupled with supplements and the medication that I began with) has me feeling better than I have in years. I have even enrolled in the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program so I can heal myself further and spread the word to others about the importance of a nutrient dense diet.

Note: PLEASE consult with  your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Read more about the causes and symptoms of Hashimoto’s on Dr. Wentz’s best-seller, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause and get over 125 Hashimoto friendly recipes on Hashimoto’s Cookbook and Action Plan.


Want more? You might also like: 

Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease? 5 Foods You Should Never Eat…Plus One Good For You Food

I Was Shocked at How This Powerful Practice Helped Heal My Hashimoto’s

3 Surprising Causes of Thyroid Disease and How to Combat Them!

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13 thoughts on “Everyone Thought I Was a Hypochondriac. It Was Actually an Autoimmune Disease Called Hashimoto’s.

  1. Mary Haroldsen

    This actually all sounds like me. For many years I have been tired. I was super skinny before I got married. A couple of years later I had my son. I have OCD and my now ex husband is bipolar. We had trouble with stuff with our son. Honestly my ex barely helped me and I needed it I was way stressed. But my son went to live with my sister in laws family. I was very depressed and doubled my weight from what I was when I got married. Before I got married I was 104 pounds. When my ex left I was 218. I rarely ate after he left. My weight got down to 160. Because I barely ate. I’m now about 170. I moved into a cheap place that was super awful. It had rats and squirrels and bugs and black mold in the basement where I did my laundry. I spent a year there and had to get out. I felt awful. I have had hormonal issues and I was even more tired than usual. But about when I was there about 8 or 9 months I started feeling worse and worse. My chest hurt. I was tired no matter what. I was even more anxious than usual. Doctors just won’t do anything. I even sat in the emergency room for 5 hours and nothing. I went to med express they said I needed to go to my PCP.i have completely given up on doctors. I have been trying to go gluten free. It’s way hard. Especially when it is easier to just grab stuff and go. Gluten free stuff is expensive. I try to make stuff like bread. I really want a doctor to believe me so I can feel better. I have a little as long as I watch what I eat. But I’m struggling. Thanks for all your incites.

  2. Anonymous

    This actually all sounds like me. For many years I have been tired. I was super skinny before I got married. A couple of years later I had my son. I have OCD and my now ex husband is bipolar. We had trouble with stuff with our son. Honestly my ex barely helped me and I needed it I was way stressed. But my son went to live with my sister in laws family. I was very depressed and doubled my weight from what I was when I got married. Before I got married I was 104 pounds. When my ex left I was 218. I rarely ate after he left. My weight got down to 160. Because I barely ate. I’m now about 170. I mo

  3. Jillian Phelan

    When I stopped my usual routine of eating Paleo (since 2010) was when I developed all the symptoms of autoimmune disease November 2017. I was wrongfully terminated from my job which caused a lot of stress and depression. This I believe was the initial trigger because I didn’t feel like cooking and preparing meals anymore. This lead me to eat convenience foods.
    I too felt like everyone must think I’m a hypochondriac because I always had a symptom to complain about and was giving self diagnoses.
    I’m so glad that I came across this article to read because it makes a lot of sense. I felt so much healthier when I was just doing my normal thing.
    My doctor and I discussed the possibility of my symptoms being autoimmune related so he ran all the tests. they finally came back yesterday and today, it looks to be Hashimoto’s. I’m a nurse, & I have been reading lab reports a long time. I’m sure my Dr will agree too as soon as he sees it.
    the only difference I can think ofwould bethat I hadsome unusual rashes that leads me to think it could be lupus, but maybe because I didn’t normally eat gluten before I could’ve had sensitivity reactions which caused rashes. I’m not sure. Anyone have rashes with Hashimoto’s?
    By the way I always recommend the Paleo diet to most of my patients especially my diabetics. For those of you that believe Paleo life sucks possibly you’re doing it wrong. There are a lot of very good books on how to do Palaeo the right way . there’s also a balance. you shouldn’t just eat everything on the Paleo food list. you have to bring certain elements together at each meal creating the satisfying balanced meal (good carb, protein, good fat). I personally like Robb Wolf’s book, and have found a couple great cook books that I used daily until I got the hang of it on my own.
    Also, your mold topic has me thinking!! Next I plan to get allergy/sensitivity tested. Thank you, perhaps I have more food interactions going unnoticed.
    Btw, I’m taking Armour instead of synthetic drugs like Synthroid. My homeopathic Dr prescribed it to me in 2010 for underactive thyroid because I wasn’t able to get pregnant. It worked, had 2 more babies and no symptoms. Lost weight too. Your doc will have to monitor TSH, T3, T4 levels regularly though in such case a batch is less effective, bc it comes from pig, and not all pigs are alike. I’ve not had any issues, except when I procrastinated on refilling script and didn’t take it for a while after running out.

  4. Sarah

    This disease sucks everything you eat is bad for you it’s insane trying to rob peter to pay Paul. I HATE it!!!!!!!

  5. João Garcia

    glad to know you’re better. what really grinds my gears is those people obsessed with this bullshits like gluten free, like every freaking product has that label and for some reason it helps on sales, like i’ve seen bleach gluten free and what not for heavens sake… for those who really have problems this must be madding… it’s nice to see some advance in getting the most healthy products but i feel like this is demeaning to people who really suffer with this. well, just passed by to wish you all the best! and I do, wish you all the best o/

  6. Carly

    In April of this year I was diagnosed with hashimotos disease and at the beginning of July I found out I’m allergic to mold, grass, trees, corn, oats, tomatoes, strawberries, and tested positive for genetic celiac disease. I’m getting an endoscopy soon to check the damage :/ I’m having a terrible time adjusting and it’s thrown me in to a hole of anxiety and depression. I just want to feel even a little better. Since I had a bad flu in February I feel like I’m only running at about 60% of how if felt before that. I also lived in an apartment infested with mold (in the walls so unseen) for 5 months before we found it. What tests do you get for mold in your body? I believe that triggered the autoimmune diseases. I’d really love to make sure my body is ridding itself of the mold. Thank you!!!

    1. Amesem01 Post author

      Hi Carly! I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. I definitely was overwhelmed too when I got diagnosed and also had my mold issues. You seem to be on the right path! I would recommend seeing a naturopath or functional medicine doctor that specializes in mold treatment. Half the battle is knowing that mold is the cause (which is VERY hard to determine) so I think you are well ahead of the game. I had to be on a strict diet with no sugars while using anti-fungal medications. The naturopath was well worth the money. Keep in mind you may feel worse before you feel better… it’s just part of the process. Feel free to reach out to me if you have other questions!

  7. furtherfood

    From our FB page:
    Jessica Dugan Curious about the mold detox you did?
    Like · Reply · August 7 at 4:28pm
    Emily Ames Hi Jessica! I was put on a special diet and took herbal supplements for 4 months to get rid of any mycotoxins in my body. Essentially I was on a ketogenic diet (low carb/high fat) with no sugar, alcohol, and low carbs to starve out any toxins. I went to a functional medicine doctor that helped me with the regimen. Feel free to message me if you have any more questions!

  8. Anon

    great article thankyou, how long did it take before you started feeling better ? I have been recently diagnosed with Coeliac and a list like your of 10 different health issues, nothing major but combined making me feel worse than I have in years. Have been gf/df for 6m, but have tried grain free, feel better but cant maintain it….thinking I need to give it another go

    1. Emily Ames

      Hey Anon – Thanks for your comment. When I took out gluten, I noticed right away that I felt better. The other changes have been gradual and not as obvious. For example, my antibodies have gone up and down based on changes I’ve made with my diet and supplements I’ve taken. But I agree, it is hard to know sometimes what is working! I’ve finally realized there is no miracle diet that is going to ‘cure’ me, but I need to just figure out what works best for my body.

      I recently took food intolerance testing (Leap MRT) which helped me pinpoint 27 (!!!) sensitivities I never would have found on my own (tomatoes, spinach, salmon) which confirms that I have a leaky gut.

      Hang in there… your body may be trying to heal itself, but it definitely takes time to see results! I know it’s hard to stay positive, but the damage took awhile to do, so it’s going to take awhile to reverse. I still have good weeks and bad weeks too!

      Emily Ames
      Feel free to follow me or message me with any other questions:


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