Discovering my Hypothyroidism and Recovering my Self-Esteem
I thought everyone felt like me. No energy. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Yet they did so much! Running thither and yon, hobbies, friends, entertaining, parties, events. Apparently, they just had more drive than me. More iron-fisted will power and self-control. A better work ethic.
Me? It took all I had just to keep up with the basics of life and it took teeth-gritted determination to do anything extra.
Finally I concluded I was just fat and lazy with no will power and a shitty work ethic. My ever-low self-esteem became non-existent.
Then I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. And insulin resistance.
Suddenly, my world turned upside down. I realized I wasn’t lazy — I was hypothyroid. Considering all I’d done in my life running on zero energy, I realized that I’m not “fat” and I’m not “lazy.”
I’m the hero of my own story with a will of iron and a great work ethic cause God knows I rarely have any energy.
And so are you! You too are the hero of your own story for coping, so well, with your hypothyroidism.
This is the story of my hypothyroid journey, but it’s your story too. There is hope. There are natural treatments that actually work!
I’m convinced hypothyroid is a dominant gene more likely to be passed down through the generations than not. I’m the third generation in my family, that I know of, to suffer from hypothyroidism. But perhaps the first to acknowledge it and do something about it.
I am not a doctor and the content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. If you are diabetic, please consult with a physician before taking myoinositol.
The others just diet and shame themselves.
For as long as I can remember, I haven’t had much energy. As a child in gym class, while the heaviest girl in my class ran twenty laps around the gymnasium and came in fresh as a daisy, I was the skinny little blonde gasping, sweating and beet-red-in-the-face after just three laps.
While she played every sport known to man, I preferred sedentary hobbies like music and reading. Anything that required physical motion was hateful to me.
I thought I was lazy.
The “lazy” thing gets worse when you have a very energetic, domineering, controlling father. He demanded that I work out for fifteen minutes on his malfunctioning non-motorized treadmill (start, stick, stop, slip, stick, stop) every day. I got terribly knots in my calves and hated every miserable moment.
He forced me to take long walks with him. I was in pain. He mocked how I walk.
If he was doing anything, I was volunteered to help him. I vividly recall feeling poorly one weekend, while he’d planned for us to wash and wax both cars. So I shamed myself for being so “lazy” and washed and waxed those two cars. Then I threw up. I spent the next week flat on my back, unable to eat, fighting Norwalk flu.
And twice a week, no matter how I felt or how exhausted I was, he wanted me to play music with him. For hours.
When you’re hypothyroid, your rhythms are different from other people. For example, just when my family was going to bed at their strict 9 p.m. bedtime, I was just starting to feel energetic. Our circadian rhythms were totally out of whack. But I was expected to go to bed at 9 p.m. anyways. This dysfunctional living went on for years.
Even just leaving the house each morning was hard. I often joked, “It takes an act of Congress to get me out of the house.” I was late for everything. To me it was normal; I didn’t recognize it as Generalized Anxiety. My OCD was kickin’ something awful! But I never gave up. I ran on determination, shame…and sugar. Lots of sugar. It was the only thing that worked.
Finally, in my thirties, I learned a few tricks for coping with hypo. Oh, I still didn’t know about hypothyroidism, but I finally got away from my family and started being respectful of my body and my rhythms.
Instead of trying to be a hare, I accepted that I was a tortoise. Gave myself permission to move extremely slowly reasoning that, “Any movement is good movement.” It’s amazing how much you can get done working at a snail’s pace.
I learned to ride the wave of my low energy. In my thirties, I rose at 5:30 a.m. and took advantage of my just-woke-up energy spurt to get my housework done before going to work.
I shifted my work schedule to be as late as possible. I went in at 9 a.m. and left at 6 p.m.
I noticed that during daylight, my energy levels were absolute crap. But come dusk, I got a jolt of energy. I learned to wait for that jolt and get stuff done then. I cooked at night. Cleaned at night. Watered my balcony garden at night (and accidentally watered my neighbor one night as he walked under my balcony on the way to the mailbox. LOL)
And I learned to follow Mamie Eisenhower’s advice and stay in bed all day on Saturday (my exhausted day), rising around 5 p.m. (when my energy peaked) to get my housework done.
Despite my best efforts, like you I’ve been wrist deep in sudsy dishwater, my head hanging, tears running down my cheeks, beyond exhaustion while I whispered, “I can’t. I just can’t” to myself. But then I squared my shoulders, slapped on a fake smile and tried again — running on will-power alone. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened.
But you’ve been there too. Hypo isn’t the sleepy-kind of fatigue. It’s simply absence of energy. No spunk. No fire. No gitty-up-go. But we git up and go anyways, running on will power. It’s the kind of fatigue where you climb into bed to cry, because once again, you’ve failed to live up to your plans, your high ideals, your promises to bake this or cook that for your family.
For years, I hosted friends on Saturday nights. I’m ashamed to say that I used anger as fuel, as pseudo-energy. It worked, but it wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t respecting my rhythms and, because I wasn’t respecting my needs, no one else did either. My sciatic hurt so badly I could hardly walk. But I slapped on a smile and no one noticed that I just wanted to cry.
Thanks to a certain law which shall remain nameless, 2017 was the first year when I could afford both health insurance and going to the doctor. (Fancy that!) I can’t believe it took me until the age of 37 to have my thyroid tested. But like I said above, I didn’t know anything else! My body was “normal.”
Or so I thought.
7.54!!!! My TSH is seven-point-frickin-five-four!! I was ecstatic to hear it.
Oh, I know the medical community doesn’t consider that particular hypo — but I do. Because I know how shitty it feels. And frankly, the medical community’s range of a “normal” TSH is way, way off! They are seriously under-diagnosing and under-treating hypothyroidism.
Finally, I had an answer. Finally, I knew it wasn’t just me. Finally, I knew I wasn’t lazy at all! Looking back over the years, how much I’ve done, how unmercifully I’ve driven myself, how hard I’ve worked — like you, I’m a hero!! A paragon of self-control, will-power and a fine-ass work ethic! Give yourself a pat on the back too. You deserve it!
Goodbye hypo, hello self-esteem!
Thanks to Facebook, I heard about a thyroid supplement from a place called 1Body. It’s a complex of vitamins and herbs that has changed my life. (They don’t know I’m posting this and are not paying me to promote their product. I simply want other hypo-sufferers to have access to this life-changing supplement too.)
First thing each morning, I take two capsules and feel pretty darn good all day. If I start feeling low energy, I take two more capsules before bed. Oh, I’m still not the most energetic gal, but at least I can get out of my chair before my dusk energy spurt.
Best of all, I don’t blame myself anymore. My self-esteem has had a tremendous boost. I realize I’m not lazy — and I never was.
But it gets even better…keep reading!
While researching hypothyroidism, I ran across something called “insulin resistance.” One of the symptoms is a telltale ring of dark skin around the base of your neck. It’s called Acanthosis nigricans. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather! I’ve had that dark ring my…whole…life! (Plus some pretty impressive superclavicular fat pads that really “pop” when I turn my head from side to side.)
Basically, when you’re insulin resistant, your body doesn’t recognize it’s own insulin. So when you eat food (fuel) and your pancreas secretes insulin (which unlocks your cells to receive the fuel), the cells say, “Who the heck are you!?! I don’t know you.” So the pancreas secretes even more insulin, which drives your blood sugar even lower. Hello hypoglycemia and diabetes. It’s a vicious circle.
Worst of all, because your body is unable to burn your food for fuel, it goes to to fat. And your body can’t access your fat for fuel because, again, that requires insulin. No matter how hard you exercise (and I’ve done the whole Curves and ballroom dancing thing), you are not going to lose (much) weight. Frankly, if you barely have the energy to do the basics, how the heck are you supposed to get out and exercise!?! It’s cruel and makes no sense!
Even starving yourself doesn’t work. Tried it. Didn’t work.
The simple solution that worked for me was taking inositol. I order a bag of the WHC brand of myoinositol from Amazon each month. In the morning, I put one teaspoon in coffee, milk or cereal and in the evening, another teaspoon in a beverage. Luckily, it has a very pleasant sweet flavor. But, at first, it will give you the shits until your body gets used to it, which takes one or two weeks, so take it easy! After that, it just helps you stay regular….and how great is that!?! 😉 You may not lose weight, but at least you’ll feel better, more energetic.
And the best thing about it? My monthly cycles are back on track (no more 46 day cycles!) and even better, my anxiety levels are down. Way down. Now, I’m out the door and on time too — no act of Congress needed anymore! I never realized that anxiety was at the root of my procrastination!
I really hope this article will help you stop blaming yourself and recapture the self-esteem hypothyroidism (and insulin resistance) have unfairly stolen from you. Please share your story and the supplements that are helping you in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!
Thompson, L. (2018). Discovering my Hypothyroidism and Recovering my Self-Esteem. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 22, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism/2017/12/discovering-my-hypothyroidism-and-recovering-my-self-esteem/