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It was about this time last year that I should have noticed the signs that something was wrong. Too busy with the kids and my business and everything that life brought at me, I just kept ignoring them.
By early summer, even other people were starting to notice changes in my behavior. Normally not a big sleeper, I was going to bed early every night and sleeping in every morning that the kids didn’t have to be anywhere. Even with all of the sleeping, I would still sometimes find myself closing my eyes and nodding off at my computer.
I was gaining weight quickly. Even while training for a half marathon, I managed to put on 10 pounds. After the race when I cut back on my running, I put on another 10 pounds in less than 2 months.
I started on a downward spiral. The weight was making me so self-conscious that I wouldn’t put on a bathing suit when friends or family came over for pool parties. After awhile, I quit putting one on altogether. I stopped wearing shorts and only wore capris.
Worse than how I was feeling physically was how I was feeling mentally. Some days I could sit and cry at the drop of a hat for no reason at all. Other days I had such dark thoughts that I can’t even admit them to you. But at the same time I kept saying to myself, “This isn’t you!! You’re “sunshine” Tricia, for Pete’s sake. You are a happy person. The glass is always half full. Your life is wonderful. Snap out of it!!”
I knew it wasn’t me and I started getting really worried about what it all meant. I stopped talking to my friends for almost the entire summer. I happened to mention some of the things that were going on to my mom and she said I should get my thyroid checked. It didn’t make any sense to me, but I called the doctor (who I always refer to–not in his presence–as “Hot Doctor”). Hot Doctor got me in within a few days and started asking me my symptoms. After about 60 seconds he said, “sounds like a thyroid problem.” He ran some tests and within 48 hours I was on medication.
I was upset at first that I was going to have to be on a pill for the rest of my life. But Hot Doctor told me that I would be feeling so much better after a month or so of being on it that I would never want to go off. He was right.
Fast forward to now and I can hardly believe that I spent so many months fighting with myself. It would have been easy to just say that I was suffering from Depression and throw some Prozac at me. Thank goodness Hot Doctor knows what he is doing and ran the right tests. It’s taken awhile, but now that I am back to a good exercise routine and diet and taking the Synthroid regularly, I feel like a million bucks (maybe a billion).
Two morals to my story. The first is to trust what your body is telling you and pay attention to the signs. The second is that thyroid issues are really prevalent in women and are the cause of many symptoms that you might not even be aware of. Don’t jump to conclusions that you are depressed or that something is wrong with you. Get checked out and with the right routine, you can get back to being the PollyAnna you were always meant to be (at least I did!).
(Free image from Graur Codrin)
My thyroid went dangerously overactive when I was in my early 30’s. It affects your brain, body, mood… everything! I’ve been on synthroid for years and years now and don’t even think about it. Some people have to have their medication adjusted from time to time, but doctors do a great job of keeping an eye on it.
Your happy nature resonates with each word you write, I’m so glad you’re doing great.
Finally, as a mother of 3, I have to add one moral to your final paragraph – always listen to your mom!
I was just recently diagnosed 2 days ago so i am not on thyroid meds yet. I see me dr at the end of the week. But i have been diagnosed with depression 11 years ago now iam wondering was it my thyroid for the past 11 years or do i have depression to… i guess these r things i will have to discuss with my doctor.
Toby Siegel says
Hi Tricia – I don’t think we know each other but I saw a link to your blog that Todd Farmer posted and wanted to share a very similar experience I had a little over a year ago. Over a period of about 6-9 months I was experiencing depression and in my case rapid weight loss. I went to my Doc and went through all these tests and was told nothing was wrong. After dropping like 50 lbs. my wife finally did her own diagnosis and told me to have my thyroid checked. Sure enough my thyroid levels were far above normal and I was finally diagnosed with hyperthyroid. Fast forward about a year into treatment and my weight has stabilized again and even more importantly the dark cloud of depression has lifted. I’ve since read that thyroid conditions are in fact very common but are frequently misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. So glad to hear you’re feeling better as well. Take care.
Thanks for sharing your story. I had no idea that depression is also a symptom of hyperthyroidism. How wonderful that your wife was able to figure it out! I wonder why so many doctors are unable or unwilling to diagnose it early on? Judging my all of the feedback I am getting, you have to be pretty lucky to have a doctor that recognizes the signs.
Happy to hear that you have stabilized. It’s something that we will always have to watch out for, but at least we know now!
I’m so happy you found out it was just your thyroid. I know that sounds funny but it is such an easy fix once you find it. Hypothyroidism runs in my family and when I was experiencing weight gain and depression symptoms that was the first thing I had my doctor test for. Unfortunately, that was not the answer and I’ve turned to Prozac but it is something that I have tested every year.
I was probably about 5 years older than you when mine was diagnosed, so it’s a good thing that they check yours every year. I’m sorry that you have ended up on Prozac, but you know that is NOT always a forever thing. A lot of people are eventually be able to go off of it. I hope you will be able to! But at the very least, I hope that it is making a difference for you.
I get tested at every annual filter change and lube job.
Adam Riemer says
Thyroid problems run in my family too. I think I’m going through what you were. I should probably call my doctor. Great post Tricia.
Gail Gardner says
Thyroid issues are a major and growing problem for so many people. Have you done any searches for +thyroid +”alternative health”? Many people including me have the same issues.
There is a good list of thyroid symtoms and a natural supplement that is prescription only – I wish I could remember the name.
This is great advice. I’m glad you’re back to your usual self.
One of my daughters has been on thyroid medication since she was almost 5 years old and will be for the rest of her life as a result of a lingual thyroid condition. About every 6 to 9 months she has to have her thyroid levels checked and we can usually tell when the dosage level needs to be adjusted by watching her mood, appetite, activity level, etc. Just goes to prove it’s not always “just in your head”.
Thanks for sharing that, Matt. It must be even harder to deal with it in children because they go through so many changes, spurts, etc. as it is. She is lucky to have a dad that keeps a good eye on it!
Joe Sousa says
So glad you dealt with the problem and went to the doctor to figure out what was wrong. Too many people would just see something like this as “normal” or maybe just a phase. I know a few other people with thyroid problems and their symptoms were similar. Thanks for writing this!
And I am glad we will continue to see “SunshineTricia” as opposed to grumpy, brooding Tricia
Thanks, Joe! Grumpy, brooding Tricia is not someone that I ever want to see again, either!
Emma Bowsher says
It was not that easy for me. I suffered for years with depression.
My biggest worry was that it might actually be “depression,” which isn’t as easy to get past as fixing some chemical levels, eating right, and exercising. I was lucky.
Do you think that yours was more of a result of life events, Grandma? You went through so much in just a matter of a few years–more than most people go through in a lifetime. I can’t even imagine.
Good work Sunshine….My daughter is fighting the same battle.
Please let her know that it definitely gets better! It’s not overnight, but it does happen. I will be thinking about her!
Great advice!! So glad you are feeling yourself again! 🙂