- I write this in a state of complete exhaustion, which is odd considering I slept nearly nine hours last night. Most are unaware of this, but I’ve been living with hypothyroidism since the age of fourteen. I was diagnosed in high school when I began collapsing due to low energy levels.
Hypothyroidism is a chronic illness, one that I will have for the rest of my life. I’ve been on medication for many years and the dosages fluctuate based on how well my body is currently producing TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormones.) It affects me more than most people realize, and I wanted to share in order to help others have a better understanding.
The hardest thing about living with hypothyroidism is how unbelievably exhausted I can become without doing anything. Having a good night sleep doesn’t mean I’ll have a ton of energy the following day. I could sleep nine hours, take a nap, and still be tired. It’s hormonal, and I don’t really know when a bad day or week will hit.
Not only am I exhausted, but I’ll feel weak. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but sometimes the idea of lifting my body up off the couch to walk across the room or to take a shower will feel like too much. It’s not me being lazy, honest. I want to do those things! Some days I’ve just got to take it really easy.
My weight fluctuates a lot and it’s very easy to gain weight. Being pregnant and breastfeeding has helped a lot with keeping the pounds off, but I can suddenly gain weight very quickly. The good news is I can often lose it easily too. Despite what people think, upping my thyroid medications won’t cause me to lose weight, but it will help me regulate which helps.
I’m prone to depression and anxiety. Thankfully, I haven’t really dealt with depression; I’m thankful my outgoing and positive personality has helped me through that. Anxiety has absolutely been an on going battle for me though, but I’ve come a long way.
I’m often cold. I’m the first person to complain about freezing and I’m a total baby when it comes to the temperatures going down. Thankfully I live in Vancouver, Canada, where going below zero is a rare thing! Fall through Spring I’m often seen wandering around with a blanket wrapped around me.
I can get really grouchy. Can’t we all? But I actually have an excuse! Irritability is a known symptom of living with hypothyroidism and I can usually tell when my bad attitude is nobody’s fault but my own. I try to keep my mouth shut so that I don’t say something I’ll regret the next day when I’ve leveled off.
As you can see, living with hypothyroidism affects a lot more than just weight gain. It plays into every aspect of our lives on a daily basis. If you know someone who has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, try to remember the symptoms I’ve listed above. Here are also a few ways you can help:
– Understand when they don’t feel like going out. They may need to lay low for the day or stay in at night.
– Lower your expectations. Accomplishing a lot physically is hard.
– Don’t push them to stay outside in the snow or rain. They aren’t being a wimp, they really are struggling to stay warm.
– Don’t comment on weight gain. They’re probably very aware of it and feeling self conscience while trying to fix it.
– Be positive and encouraging. Adding to their worries or stress will likely bring them down more.
This is what it’s like for me living with hypothyroidism. Every day is different, but after nearly twenty years of dealing with it it’s become my normal.