The world has witnessed this year that illnesses have no borders and get to travel without a passport. They settle quietly and manifest loudly. We just have to listen. To our body and our mind. Especially when it comes to disorders in expats, most of them are based on their mental state.
According to Dr. Kulreet Chaudhury in her book “The Prime”, the digestive system is the one processing the emotions, due to millions of nerve endings in it and its many shared nerve pathways with the brain. Doctors call the enteric nervous system as the “second brain”, but let’s face it: it might be the primary brain, since the one in your head executes commands from your gut. Did you know that 95% of serotonin (the mood hormone) is found in your gut?
Thyroid issues are taking a toll on the world’s population nowadays and because they’re not violent, they’re considered manageable. However, when moving abroad, your brain is trying to adapt to the new environment: starting with figuring out foods in the grocery market to getting a haircut, learning a new language, dealing with administrative clerks, standing up for yourself in various situations. Being a foreigner comes many times with pressure from yourself, from those you moved with, those you left behind and the new people are meeting.
Let’s do a short thyroid check-up together and see how you’re doing:
- Your voice is thicker
- You feel a knot in your throat whenever you’re upset
- You have cold hands and feet
- You feel tired all the time
- You gained weight, have a puffy aspect and have difficulty getting back in shape
- You have thoughts such as “Everything is happening so fast”, “I feel very much behind and need to catch-up with the world and achieve X,Y,Z as soon as possible…”, “Everyone around me is moving on so well with their life…”.
- You feel abandoned
These are typical manifestations for hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease.
Let’s check the other version, hyperthyroidism:
- You are sensitive to heat and sweat a lot
- You lose a lot of weight due to your increased metabolism
- You have shaky hands and high heartbeat even when resting
- You feel overwhelmed, choked by responsibilities and always late
- You have thoughts such as “I need to do things faster…” or “I never have enough time…”
These are typical manifestations for hyperthyroidism.
You have none of the above? Congratulations, you are doing so well. Nonetheless, prevention is better than treating and checking your thyroid is recommendable to add on your yearly list.
Why do we, a relocation company, are addressing a medical problem and even bother our heads with this? Here is our truth: one of our co-founders has developed hypothyroidism a few years after moving abroad. And it is not an uncommon disorder in expats. Although pills have helped in the beginning, our co-founder decided to be independent of chemical hormones and made life style changes which led to elimination of the illness manifestation. In the healing process, it was discovered that they were not by far a solitary case and actually so many others were having thyroid issues, unknown to them.
We want to bring awareness with you, our expat community, concerning thyroid affections and how these can impact not just your body, but also your life quality and personal relations.
Living abroad is definitely exciting and unique in your life journey. And like in chemistry, there are two effects to most things in life: there’s an action and a reaction. Living abroad also brings challenges for mental health, acceptance, restructuring or personal relations with those back home and those in your destination country, and definitely changes on your body. We care about our community and want to bring to your attention matters that are sitting quietly in a corner, waiting to be noticed.
In the next months we will address with you more articles on topics regarding health matters and personal experiences of those like us. If you’d like to share a health related experience you went through as part of your experience living abroad, please feel free to write us.