The Psychological Side of Hypothyroidism

My hypothyroidism diagnosis is pretty new but it has lingered for many years. I was always one of the ‘borderline’ people following blood results. That changed a couple of months ago when they went dangerously high. It’s better now that I have the right dose of medication but it doesn’t end there. I have hypothyroidism and I’ll continue to take levothyroxine for the rest of my life – that’s where I’m lucky because it was found.

I wasn’t sad when I was diagnosed, I was kinda relived because it meant I had an answer or at least I hope I still do. So much has gone with my body over the years related to high blood pressure, bowel problems, dry skin developing to psoriasis (the worst of it in my ears), and more. The side I never thought about and knew too much was how it can affect your way of thinking.

For too long now, I’ve been a worrier and the over-thinker. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t worry about at least one thing a day. And it’s all sorts – how I look, anticipation around new challenges, meeting people, putting social events off, the list goes on…

I’ve always told myself, it’s just me, it’s who I am. But why? Maybe hypothyroidism has a lot more to answer for than I initially thought. I don’t think it helped that this came to light in the midst of postpartum life and becoming a new mum for the first time. Hormones are crazy enough, right?!

I’ve isolated myself many times – away from people, situations, getting dressed, not getting a bath or shower etc. I can guarantee people look from the outside and say I have no reason to be down. I don’t always have the reasons. A wave can come over me, it’s like a grey cloud that suddenly starts to rain without warning.

I know what I have – a beautiful family, including a gorgeous, loving fiancé and the son we’ve always dreamed of. I am at my happiest being a mum. Hypothyroidism doesn’t take that away from me. Anxiety, low mood, low self esteem, you name it. My therapist has used all of these to describe what I’m going through. I’m finally on a different way of thinking and won’t allow that side of me tell others who I am. I don’t want to be looked at in a certain way or for people to feel sorry for me. I just want them to listen and try to understand.

If you know someone who has any kind of thyroid disease, it’s more than you think. There are so many symptoms and the way it affects your mind is just one of them. Be kind and think before you say something. We’re all human and some of us are more sensitive than you think.

Life with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

For a few years now, I’ve had some problems with my bowel. When it first started, my GP prescribed some oral powder solutions to help me go to the toilet. I’ve had chronic constipation for as long as I can remember. This has also been referred to as, slow transit constipation, following a barium X-ray in 2018.

It wasn’t until I was referred to Oaklands in Salford again more recently for a sigmoidoscopy, that I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), with constipation, not diarrhoea.

For me, IBS seems to be getting more common but lost in what it actually is when people say, “Oh, I have IBS.” I always knew something wasn’t the same anymore when I went to the toilet but it was always put down to, encouraging me to eat a high fibre diet, continue to take laxatives etc.

There’s only so many things you can try and I’ve lost count of the different laxatives and stool softeners I’ve tried. My body takes them in then decides to go back to square one after a couple of weeks and reverts back to the sluggish bowel.

A consultant prescribed a tablet for me which I had a bad reaction too, which I as surprised at because new medication usually agrees quite well with me. Unfortunately, I was feeling sick, going to the toilet (up to 10 times a day) with the opposite of what I’m used to, and feeling very shaky with some chest pains. It was awful and I was sent to A&E to be put a drip to rehydrate me. Luckily, nothing serious had happened.

Living with chronic constipation before it was looked at more closely to determine IBS, it made me feel strange. It’s had such an impact in how I see my body (the bloating and hard belly), hearing the constant grumbles, and being in absolute agony because I haven’t been to the toilet in so long.

Today, I think I’m on a much happier road. I know what I’m dealing with now. It doesn’t make it completely better as many other people out there with IBS know, it affects you mentally and physically, in many ways. But for me, it comes part and parcel with hypothyroidism, just like many of the symptoms I experience on a daily basis.

I’m so glad that I am under a consultant who can guide me on the best medication, diet and laxatives to take. My poor fiancé hears about it all… even the bits he would rather not. But he puts up with me anyway.

If anyone has any advice or tips, I’d be so grateful. Please share them in the comments below or via my contact page.

mental health blocks

Maternal Mental Health After Pregnancy

Once you have given birth, you learn that there a quite a few appointments in the weeks afterwards, including midwife visits and a 6 week check up with your GP. I didn’t have the typical visit on day 5 then day 10. Instead, a midwife visited me for 10 days to monitor my blood pressure. It wasn’t pregnancy induced as I’ve had hypertension for around 4-5 years now. Because of this, I was under a clinic called MAViS who were absolutely lovely and also checked in on me while I was in the postnatal ward.

How do you feel?

During the appointments, you’re asked quite often how you feel. The truth is, I was a bag of emotions. I felt like a yo-yo constantly going up and down, happy then sad. Of course, fluctuating hormones play a part, and you feel like you can’t escape them. Looking back, I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself and maybe I wouldn’t be containing with similar emotions now. How was I supposed to really know how I really felt at 6 weeks? Motherhood was still very new. My body was and still is recovering – mentally and physically. I’ll be honest, I didn’t speak up earlier on, it took me until I was 3-4 months to have a couple of phone calls with a doctors which led to a referral and then another referral again. I’m not in a place to talk about it in great depth but I can tell you, it’s all very raw, and most of my feelings towards every day things in life seems to stem back to my younger days, perhaps high school.

I’m 9 months postpartum and I see a lot of posts on social media that still pressure me – it’s just how my mind can be. I used to read posts like, you’ve got this or it gets easier. And they are absolutely right even if I lose perspective a little on the tougher days. I have created an Instagram account focus on the truth and positivity that surrounds me on my motherhood journey. You can follow me @_hellomorningtea. I don’t have any weaning or sleep tips but my aim is to focus on topics that you, my fellow mamas can relate to.

It’s okay to say no

One thing I am telling myself more often is, it’s okay to say no. This has made a difference. I used to find it hard to come away from being the new mum who says yes to everything. I like to think I have find my place in motherhood and I see myself a lot stronger even though there are anxieties underneath it all. Visits from family and friends can be overwhelming as much as you love those people in your life. It’s okay to be honest and say you’re not feeling up to it. If I’ve had a day where I haven’t felt comfortable in my own skin or I am anticipating seeing someone and wondering how they are going to comment on me, baby, life in general, I will get sad. It’s not always easy to explain but the littlest of things can make me this way.

Your life has changed in the most incredible way. There are challenges, tears, frustration but above all, there’s wholeheartedness. A love like no other – with your child/ren. Having a baby isn’t for some people but I am so lucky to have my baby boy as what we have as our little family, is something more than I’ve ever dreamed of. I hope that one day in the future, I can take everything I’ve learned from my first pregnancy and having our first child into a new strength when we have a baby brother or sister for our son. Every single day is an experience for something new and another day we love and know our baby boy.

I know that each and every one us are different, including the wonderful daddies out there too. And for the support side of life, I am lucky to have my partner by my side – the one person I can rely on 100%. He always tries his best to be patient with me and understands that sometimes I just need him to listen, as much as he wants to find a way to take everything away from me.

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Image credit: Vie Studio on Pexels.

woman writing in a notepad

Working on me, for me.

I have been trying to write a new blog post for a while but I haven’t gotten further than a few words, hardly a sentence. Every time I attempted to type, I ended up deleting it not long later. Nothing seemed to fit or make sense. I wondered if people would even read it. I have lost count of the amount of drafts I have had blog post titles named ‘???’

The truth is, those question marks ask a lot. I have been fighting some personal battles both mentally and physically. I have been feeling lost and out of touch with the things that I used to enjoy or use as a method of distraction from negative thoughts, including my blog. In a way it has always been my ‘therapy’ but now I need the real thing and I am finally able to write about that. I’ll be honest though, to talk about it in person is still incredibly hard and I am still pushing myself to continue moving forward.

For many years, I have been a worrier. Thoughts rush through my mind about what ifs, how I could’ve done something differently, or what someone or a number of people think of me.

It’s been hard to explain how I feel. I haven’t spoke to anyone in great detail about It other than my partner, Danny. There’s no one else on the planet who listens to me and responds honestly the way he does. I am lucky to have his hand to hold. He knows he doesn’t need to understand it all 100% and that he is the one person I need by my side. My mum has been there too, as always. Most days I wonder how much I might be putting on them but then I think, I would always want my son to turn to me, his mummy, and one day to that person of his own who will love him as much as his daddy loves me.

A fair few months ago, things began to take their toll. I became so lost that I couldn’t put most things into perspective anymore. There was a particular day, or more days to be honest when I became the most upset I have ever been. Sometimes, all I want is to get out of my head. I felt (still feel) like I am falling into a hole where I am slipping away from how I feel about every day things, how I look or how people perceive me. It doesn’t help that I’ve had symptoms of hypothyroidism (an under-active thyroid) for as long as I can remember but time finally did its thing and a couple of months ago, I was sent to A&E urgently as my thyroid levels had changed dramatically. I was told I do indeed have hypothyroidism. It’s a good thing in a way, that I have an answer to parts but there’s still a lot going on that I’m trying to keep up with.

I have started to question things an awful lot – inside my head and out loud. I have a habit of dazing out which I feel can’t be helped most times. It’s funny because since I became a mum, I have gained new strengths but in other ways, I’ve lost so much confidence. I tend to shy away from going straight in to try something. I wonder 10 times or more if I can do it or what other people see as I try. I have been so happy yet cried more than ever before. Of course, fluctuating hormones play a part in any new mum’s journey but for me it’s been such a longstanding situation. Over the years, I have spent far too much time in my worrying bubble. It has affected how I look at things before they happen, how I feel or think.

Picking out things to criticise myself on has become an even easier thing to do. Danny constantly tells me that I am such a strong person but most days I wonder if I’m failing and I feel drained from taking everything in. I don’t need to be reminded of all of the good people and amazing things in my life. I am very much aware of those including all of the exciting things that I have to look forward to.

I don’t want any sorry I didn’t know or you’ll get through it comments. I am sharing this post in the hope that it reaches people who are feeling something similar. You aren’t alone no matter how alone you can feel in your own head. Life gets tough on us all. Though, at times, you feel and see things you wish you hadn’t. People have their own ways of ‘coping’ but one thing I was reminded of recently is that, you can’t just cover the cracks. There’s a bigger picture and there’s nothing more important than your health. I have said more referrals for all sorts of things during maternity leave than ever before. It’s given me the time to focus on emotions and keeping on track of what my body is going through.

I can’t explain the bigger picture right now but I am feeling sure that it will get better. It doesn’t mean that everything will go away completely. I accept that it’s happening and has been for a very long time. Since having our baby boy, I’ve realised the need to work on me, not just for my family but for me. Some of my thoughts and feelings might stem from past or current events but improving myself starts with me. I guess it’s took the strength of being a new mum to help me see the bigger picture. There’s nothing more precious than my little family and having them has opened up a whole new world I needed to be in.