I Am Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired, All Because My Thyroid Can't Get It Together

I Am Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired, All Because My Thyroid Can't Get It Together

This little gland has caused too many problems to count.
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I hate my thyroid. I'm sure that's not a sentence you hear very often. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't know what the thyroid is.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck and is a part of the endocrine system. This gland creates hormones that help regulate body temperature and metabolism, among other things. Believe it or not, this small gland is crucial in normal body function. However, many don't realize just how important the thyroid is until it theirs isn't working properly.

I have a condition called Hashimoto's thyroiditis. According to the American Thyroid Association website, Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that leads to chronic inflammation of the thyroid because the body makes antibodies that attack your thyroid. Hashimoto's is also the most common cause of hypothyroidism, a condition in which your body does not make enough thyroid hormone for your body to function.

Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism are typically treated with a drug called Synthroid or levothyroxine. There is some evidence however that eliminating gluten from your diet can help as well, but there is not much scientific proof for this theory (yet). Additionally, there is no proven cure for Hashimoto's disease, so I will likely be on medication for the rest of my life.

There are so many symptoms associated with Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism it isn't even funny.

Just off of the top of my head, I have experienced fatigue (to the point that I can't stay awake in class as an honors student), weight gain, dry skin, and feeling cold when everyone else is just fine. Since I was diagnosed, my symptoms have fluctuated, so even when I think I'm improving, I sometimes I actually end up feeling worse. No matter how hard I try, I can't get my symptoms to completely go away.

Thyroid conditions are not debilitating though, so as painful as it can be sometimes, both physically and mentally, I have to keep going without much assistance. Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism come with symptoms that sound like things people whine about for no good reason. Plus, it's a nightmare trying to get the medication adjusted to the specific dose I require, as anyone with thyroid problems is aware. I think I'm getting there, but since my body is fighting itself, there's really no way to tell. Pretty much, having Hashimoto's disease sucks.

For me, the worst part has been feeling like I am crazy for my symptoms. They seem so unrelated, even though they are all caused by the same issue, and they make me feel like I have zero control over my body. It's a very frustrating feeling.

Recently though, I've started connecting with people I know and bloggers I have found online that also struggle with Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism. I am so relieved to have been reassured that I'm not crazy, that I really do just have an illness, and that others are battling the same struggle every day and winning.

So, for anyone out there struggling with a thyroid condition, please know that you aren't alone and you aren't making things up. And if you suspect you may have a thyroid condition, please go get checked out. As much as it sucks dealing with this condition, I know that with a diagnosis I'm on my way to feeling better.

Cover Image Credit: Imani Clovis

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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My Scare With Blood Clots Had A Happy Ending, But It Was Still A Dangerously Close Call

A close call with severe blood clots in my leg.

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So, I will set the scene. I had one week in between when my spring classes ended and when my summer classes began. I was all set up to spend that week with my boyfriend at Disney World. Day one of the trip, we were headed to Magic Kingdom with fast passes for all three mountains in the park.

On the way over to the park, my leg started to feel very tight, like all of my muscles were clenched and I couldn't release them. The feeling just got worse as I was walking and my leg just felt heavier and heavier. At one point, I went to the bathroom and noticed that my leg was swollen a lot and had turned a purplish color. I told my boyfriend that we had to leave immediately.

I tried to just rest it and elevate my leg for the rest of the night. But in the morning, it was almost impossible for me to walk on it and the pain was only getting worse. I have had hip problems in the past and most of the pain was in my hip area so my boyfriend and I went to an orthopedic and my dad met us there. After X-rays, the doctor said that for the most part, my hip looked fine and he was concerned about a blood clot. I went to the hospital to get an ultrasound and unfortunately, they saw a clot and sent me to the emergency room.

At first, the emergency room doctors seemed optimistic that all they would have to do was put me on a quick blood thinner and then follow up with my regular doctor. However, with further inspection of the ultrasound and the clot, they admitted me to the hospital under the pretense that it was basically just an overnight observation. There was a lot going on and a lot of needles for testing and medicine (I am terrified of needles so this was great for me).

At first, I was started on a medicine that was given as an injection twice a day in my stomach. But after two days with little improvement, my treatment plan switched.

They started me on a much stronger medicine that was a constant drip in an IV. This meant I needed another IV and that they had to take my blood every 6 hours to see how the medicine was working. In addition to my fear of needles, I have very hard to find veins so the lab people had to come up to get my blood because it was too hard for my nurses to get. The nest plan of action was surgery.

I am generally not scared of going under anesthesia or having surgery but this one scare me a bit. There was a possibility that I would wake up from surgery and have a catheter in the back of my knee and have to be transported to another hospital for further operations. By the grace of God, I woke up from surgery without a catheter and good news from my doctor. My surgery had gone well, he was able to remove the clots that took up almost all of my leg. The bad thing was that he found something messed up in my anatomy that basically caused my artery to compress my vein and that is what could have caused my clots.

By the looks of the clots, they could have been building for up to a year. He had to install a stent in order to keep the vein open for the rest of my life.

Currently, I am at home. I was in the hospital for 6 days and went through a lot of testing and pain. I still have pain and I still might for a while. I still have some clots in the bottom half of my leg because the veins are too small to operate on there. I am on blood thinners and other medications. We still don't have the answer on what exactly caused the clots or what the rest of my life looks like in regards to the treatment of this problem.

This was a very scary experience and still is confusing and takes a toll on my brain. I worry about things such as being on blood thinners for my whole life or not being able to take estrogen due to the risk for blood clots. However, I got extremely lucky that I had no clots in my lungs and that the doctors were able to help me as much as they could.

Never ignore the signs of your body! If something feels off, get it checked out. I had a lot of aches and pains in the past few months that could have been pointing to this problem but I didn't find it until the main signs showed up. Pay attention to yourself! I was incredibly blessed to have my amazing family by my side even with the two-hour drive daily and my boyfriend holding my hand the whole way even though we missed a whole week of Disney. I was also super grateful for all the happy wishes and prayers that people sent my way.

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