I’m writing this, as a testimony of how easy is for your mind to attack your body, and how to prevent that. I hope that I will manage to raise some awareness with my story.
Two days ago, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism after a lot of sleepless nights, mood swings, and not being able to leave the house for more than a couple of hours without having a panic attack. I am not new to this – I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in 2012, but no doctor gave me a treatment for it back in Romania. All I received was Selenium tablets and advice to “avoid stress”, like that would be possible in the 21st century.
I have learnt that thyroid disorders are not something to ignore, they’re life-threatening, and I was absolutely ignorant by thinking that I had it under control. Today, I have started a treatment with 30mg of Carbimazole, and I have my fingers crossed that I won’t experience any further side effects. I have read about it online, and I’m a bit scared. Also the doctor told me that it’s going to take a while for my body to adjust to it.
For those who have experienced this, or know someone who has experienced something like this, you’re the real MVP! I would like to learn about your own experience with thyroid diseases, and I would appreciate if you could share your story with me.
In 2012, things at home were awful. I lived in constant fear that my mum was going to do something stupid, and my ex-step father was threatening and insulting me with every chance he had. While graduating from Uni, I was living with emotional abuse coming from both parents – and it wasn’t pretty. To add to this, my 4 year relationship was coming to an end, and I had a handful of people around me that were only there for the “fun” part of Laura. The worst thing was that I had to be “fine”, smile and pretend I’m alright. There were too many people counting on me, so I couldn’t afford to be ill. Or at least, that’s how I felt at the time.
I became very isolated, and in the end, at only 22, I had my first clinical depression. Because I was used to handling things by my own all the time, I managed to convince myself that I was alright, and after a few weeks and many breakdowns, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto.
It seems that there are people who live very peacefully with it, no major symptoms, but for me it was a full blow. Nobody around me seemed to understand. They were pointing the finger at me, calling me spoiled and constantly saying “you’re fine”, like they were in my shoes. My family was the worst, calling me names and not even trying to understand what I’m going through. My boyfriend at the time did a lot of damage too, but his intentions were not malicious in any way. We were both too immature, and he had his own issues. Bless him though, he tried to help in his own way. The only nice words came from someone who now is a very good friend, and who was suffering in the same way. Her symptoms were even worse than mine, so coming out of the house was almost impossible for her. Still, she had the best environment to recover in, and that made me understand that I have to create that environment for myself too. She was there in the Facebook Messenger chat whenever I had a breakdown. Overall, I was alone in this for years, but somehow this total abandonment helped me cope better and understand what I’m going through.
The insomnia was the worst. There were weeks where I was sleeping maybe 2 hours a day, and I became visibly weak and lost a lot of weight. Even now, I have nights when I don’t fall asleep – I pass out. The sleeping pills my doctors gave me made me feel like a zombie the next day, so I decided to stop taking them. I began to self medicate with weed, and my sleep got better, until that didn’t help anymore either.
The only constant thought I had, was that I’m faking everything. Late at night, Mr. Hashi (that’s how I like to call my Hashimoto), made me feel that my skin was burning and shedding, until I was turning into a repulsive creature. My heart was racing for hours, while diving into my traumas, and playing everything on repeat. I was told for so many years that I’m unworthy, until I started to believe it. That, of course, made me push everybody away, until I’ve became completely isolated into my own reality.
I was going from being almost manic, late night clubbing, festivals and just being the social butterfly – always ready for adventure – to that state of lethargy where you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. I became worried that I might be bipolar, hell, sometimes I still think I might be.
The overall events of last year made me realise that my life is more important than anyone else’s around me, and I’m not going to be the sacrificial lamb in my family anymore. As it happens, my ex step father left my mum for a girl my age, and did it in a way that made me lose whatever form of respect I ever had for him. This family I had only on paper really, went to hell, and my mum became so dependant on me that I had to politely get out of there. My biggest mistake until that moment, was being in the middle of that horror film all the time, feeling that it was my responsibility to fight for their happiness.
After a few years of not living, just surviving, I realised I was wasting my 20s and started fighting back. I completely changed my lifestyle, gave up on everything and everyone who didn’t do me good, and I finally began to learn and accept myself. Luckily, this time, I have a better environment, where I can follow my passions and express my creativity, with people who love me for what I am.
Looking back now, I realise I was a fucking hero, lasting for so long in that shit hole with my clinical depression and Hashimoto. I didn’t know it at the time, but now I look back, and I’m like “good job, Laura, you’re fucking awesome”. Nowadays I still recover, but this time I fight only for myself.
The symptoms of both my thyroid disorders are going to be here for a while, but I feel like I’m somehow in control now. I take Carbimazole and Selenium tablets every day, I’m careful with my diet, and the stress level is always balanced. Hopefully, the symptoms will cool down in a few weeks.
When I feel the “mean reds”, I fight not to let them take over. I don’t succeed all the time, but even then, I break them in pieces, and I try to deal them one at a time.
I’m avoiding bad situations that make me feel trapped in any way.
I do my best to maintain the harmony in the environment I live in, and that works in my favour.
I keep my relationships with my friends and family on a healthy level.
Moving forward, I want to register with a therapist, for a better understanding and better coping mechanisms with my PTSD.
I was reluctant in publishing this article, because I felt exposed and judged, and let’s face it, who likes that? Then, I realised I may help someone with this little story, and so I have decided that it doesn’t matter if people see this as a mere cry for help. It just shows that there is still a lack of understanding about this condition and the damage it inflicts on your life. I just want you to know that I’m here if you ever feel the need to talk to someone