Ramblings of a basket case
This January, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It is an autoimmune disorder in which my body attacks my thyroid gland. I discovered this after losing copious amounts of my once thick, healthy hair. Unbeknownst to me, my body had been giving hints that I was not well months before blood tests confirmed it.
Here are some symptoms of Hashimoto’s, and what I do to power through them.
1. Hair loss It’s pretty superficial of me, but losing my hair has caused many sleepless nights. I shed worse than a Siberian Husky. And until my hormones are balanced, I will continue to do so. The only thing that keeps me from bawling whenever I wash my hair and am covered in dark strands is that hair grows back. It will probably be years before it looks even remotely as healthy as it once did, but it will grow back. Recently, I came across a goldmine for people with thyroid conditions: Hypothyroid Mom. This site has so many helpful, positive tips, and a great, detailed article about managing the hair situation. I also invested in Nisim, a brand that supposedly helps control hair loss, and facilitates the growth of new hair.
2. Fatigue Before I went on hormone replacement, I was tired all the time. Not just a bit sleepy, but “I’ve just run two marathons and then wrestled a crocodile” tired. Around noon, it became a struggle to keep my eyes open, and I was in bed by nine. It is loads better now, but I am still more lethargic than I have ever been. A few things have helped keep me more energised:
- I eat healthier – Don’t get me wrong, I will still wolf down a pizza guiltlessly, but not every day. I eat less bread and pasta, which always make me feel horrible after, and have veggies at absolutely every meal.
- Exercise – I think this has made the biggest impact on both my psyche and my body. I may be sore every day, but it’s a weird, delicious soreness that makes me feel like I have achieved something, like I have changed something. Unfortunately, I have been very negative about my condition, and I complain about it way too often. But after that rush of endorphins, I feel euphoric and invincible. It’s a pretty addictive feeling. When I have an off day and just want to eat a slab of chocolate and go to bed, my boyfriend is AMAZING at keeping me motivated. He is one of very few people who can get my ass off the couch once I have decided to give up.
3. Memory loss I used to have a fantastic memory. Nowadays, I struggle to remember what I said five minutes ago. That is not an exaggeration. I constantly find myself starting a story, only to ask, “Wait, have I told you about this already?” And ninety percent of the time…I have. It makes me feel quite stupid, to be honest.
I now have a system that keeps me from forgetting important things. I have no less than fifteen reminders on my phone every day. I still repeat stories to my poor friends and family, but they either don’t mind, or they let me know that I’m telling them about my new socks for the third time.
4. Mercurial mood Generally, I am a moody person. However, for the last few months, I feel like I am no longer in control of how I feel. I can go from ecstatic to despondent in a matter of seconds, and I find it very hard to snap myself out of a bad mood. In the past, I’d tell myself that I was being ridiculous, and this would succeed in improving my disposition. But now, Logical Div in my head is yelling herself hoarse at Emotional Div, trying to convince her that milk being off isn’t a reason to cry for half an hour.
It is exhausting, and I know it’s draining for my loved ones, the poor humans who have to endure my unpredictable emotional changes. For me, this is probably the symptom that has been the hardest to cope with. I am a laughing, weepy, stressed, bitchy mess – sometimes all at once. The only reason I haven’t completely fallen apart is the support I get from my friends and family. I think it is really important to talk about the emotional havoc this blasted disease wreaks, and having people to listen to me has really helped. Sometimes, a hug and a simple, “It’s okay to feel this way” can make me the happiest person in the world.
What is VERY unhelpful, are comments like “Why are you always crying?!” “Stop being so sensitive!” and my personal favourite, “You need to toughen up.” If you have Hashimoto’s, or are just a very emotional person, divorce yourself from the company of people who would say these things to you. There is nothing worse than having inconsiderate twerps burden you with their negative energy when you are working through something they know nothing about. If I want to cry, I will bloody well cry, thank you very much.
This condition has changed how I live. I will have to take a little pill every day for the rest of my life. I will have to watch what I eat more than ever before, because another delightful side effect of Hashimoto’s is weight gain. I will have to sweep my flat pretty much every day to collect all the hair I am losing. But as long as I have people around me who give a shit about these mundane aspects of my existence, I’ll be okay.