Dangerous Adaptation

In January this year I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an auto-immune attack on the thyroid. The disease causes the thyroid to over-produce hormones that regulate many systems in the body. On Friday an Endocrinologist confirmed that I have been misdiagnosed. I actually have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It is also an auto-immune attack on the thyroid and is also a lifelong illness.

And of course, it was caused by stress. The stress of doing what I don’t enjoy for years, in a hostile and unpleasant environment. I can tell you for certain that I’m not weak, I don’t get stressed easily and this didn’t just happen overnight. The kind of stress and struggle I’ve endured in my life, particularly the past six years, is something that no-one could ever understand.


It was upsetting and confusing for me to hear this news. I’ve done a lot of research into what I should eat and any other lifestyle changes I should make. I could have been treated for my underlying adrenal malfunction months ago. I could have had six months less fatigue and more income. I’ve done an interview in a magazine saying that I have Graves’ disease. And now I don’t. I keep wondering if this is better or worse.

I know this will upset a lot of people but I’d prefer Cancer. I’d prefer something that people understand and that people perceive to be serious. I’d rather experience chemotherapy and lose my hair. I’d rather look pale and sick so that people truly understand that I’m seriously ill. I’d rather have brain surgery to remove a tumour so that I can rest without feeling lazy.

Fatigue is something that people just don’t get. It’s equated with laziness or with psychosomatic illness. Anyone who vaguely knows me should know that I would never choose a year off work. It is not in my head and it’s not pretend. I have scientific proof of systems in distress. But that doesn’t help me with my day-to-day life.

Despite my fatigue, I’ve been working on my book and am pleased to say that I’m about a week away from submission to a publisher. I’ve researched the few publishers that focus on non-fiction and have read through the submission requirements. I’m getting really close to completing this major task.

In my research for the book I have found credible studies of people who became ill from going against their strengths. The term adaptation or falsification is often used in the research for the act of swimming against the current or going against the grain. I falsified at work for years and I still falsify at home because there are children to keep alive. I don’t get to be myself and do the things that I love all day long.

Dr Carl Jung coined the phrase ‘natural lead function’ which means doing things that bring flow and that make use of your strengths. Dr Katherine Benziger developed brain profiling techniques that help you to find your natural lead function. Knowing what you’re good at and what you love can help you to find that sweet spot. And the prize would truly be to live your life in that place as much as possible. That means reducing the falsification or adaptation to a minimum.

Dr Arlene Taylor did research studies that spanned eleven years on people who were falsifying. She found that this had a dramatic effect on the brain in that the brain has to work 100 times harder. In doing this, various systems of the body are starved of oxygen and if done for prolonged periods, malfunctions begin. Her research actually mentions the endocrine system. She labelled the condition Prolonged Adaptation Stress Syndrome (PASS). I am living proof that not following your passion can make you sick.

I have a lifelong illness that means I don’t get to eat whatever I want. For the rest of my life I have to watch my diet, do blood tests, monitor my energy levels and worry about my health. And it breaks my heart to think that this could have been prevented. I wish that someone had told me this scary truth before I got sick.


Are you falsifying at home or at work? Do you have any of the PASS symptoms: fatigue, food cravings, increased introversion, sensitivity to environmental stimuli, poor immune function, memory impairment, difficulty concentrating, diminished creativity, depression or self-esteem problems?

The cure is to do more in your natural lead function. Find what brings you flow and do more of it. If you have to falsify, find time to recover. If you need brain profiling and live in South Africa, I’d highly recommend Flowcus. Claire’s assistance and insight showed me how much damage I was doing by falsifying at work and at home.

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I am a champion for living your passion. Writing is my passion, my destiny and my calling. I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and a wife and live in Johannesburg, South Africa.


  1. Kathy, I’m so sorry to hear this. Getting your mind around one disease is already so daunting and now you almost have to start all over again. Cannot imagine what that must feel like.

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