This week is Thyroid awareness week and the 25th of May is World Thyroid Day. It feels like every day of the week and every week of the year is National or International awareness day for something or other. Well, this is mine. I hope we don’t get too weary of these sorts of days and weeks that we become indifferent about them. Anyway, I wrote more about my Hypothyroid disease story on a post a few years ago if you’d like a read of that first; and please scroll down to watch the video I made about it as well…
If anyone were to ask if I’m happy, I’d say yes without hesitation and generally speaking I am very happy – I have little cause not to be. However I can go months (mostly last year and the year before) when I usually cried at least twice a day, and some days I struggled to stop. Being constantly tired warps your perspective on things. It’s possible I have periods of depression, (it is one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism), but I haven’t had the guts to talk to a doctor about it, and recently I’ve been feeling absolutely fine. It’s more like a bi-polar situation where I’m perfectly ok in those moments when I’m feeling awake or when adrenaline has kicked in to keep me going, but I can get in a dark place some of the time. Luckily my Mum’s mantra of “you just have to get on with it” is firmly lodged in me; so I do.
The tricky thing is when you have an illness like Hypothyroidism, is that you’re never quite sure what to blame on it, and what not to. I’ve learned to constantly evaluate my mood, my weight loss, my tiredness and forgetfulness. In fact I have a dedicated notebook for it every day (is there anything in my life that I don’t have a dedicated notebook for?!) and the idea is to keep track of any factors that could also be contributing to the symptoms that match those of hypothyroid disease.
When you find out you have a particular chronic illness, it could be easy to blame everything on it. It’s a convenient excuse that’s always to hand. Eg. I can’t tidy up; I’m too tired because of hypothyroidism. I can’t socialise because I embarrass myself by being forgetful because of hypothyroidism. I can’t lose weight because of hypothyroidism. Etc etc.
On the other hand it’s also easy to pretend there’s nothing wrong with you and just get on with it as though everything is normal. The problem is then, in the end it backfires when you can’t, and you end up frustrated and upset. So it’s equally as important to recognise that you are not to blame when you can’t do everything you want to.
It’s a complicated balance! Along with many invisible illnesses, it’s one where you never quite know where you’re going to be at on any given day. One day you can wake up with a surprising amount of energy, and the next have none at all, so you never quite know where your boundaries are. That is why I recommend keeping track in a notebook, because there might be factors you just hadn’t thought of before. For example, once a fortnight I walk 20 minutes to writers’ group and back. Every day I walk the dog two or three times, so I didn’t think it would really make a difference. It took a silly amount of time to realise that it actually makes a great big deal of difference! I now know that whatever is in my list book the day after writers’ group has to be small and undemanding.
So if you’re in a similar situation; try and keep an objective eye on things. Sometimes there are reasons and sometimes there’s no explanation at all. There are times to get on with it, and there are times to be kind to yourself and hold back. It’s fine.
And here’s a video I made of My hypothyroid disease story: