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.

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.

pages of a book folded into a heart shape

39 Weeks Pregnant

Photo from pexels.com by Rahul Pandit.

This morning I woke up and smiled. It’s Sunday which means a new week in my pregnancy journey and today marks a whole new month and that I am officially 39 weeks pregnant! Let me just take a moment to let that sink in… wow. I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on my pregnancy journey – the reality of it and the many things I have learnt. This post is solely based on my experience and what I have felt.

The sickness has been real

Yep! The sickness made an appearance early on in the first trimester around 5 weeks. And just when I thought I had said goodbye around 12-13 weeks, it came back with a vengeance throughout several weeks in the third trimester. In fact, just a few days ago I woke up coughing to be sick in the night – it was a bit more like reflux/indigestion brought that one on though. Would I want to take any of it away? I hate being sick with a migraine or if I have a terrible hangover but this was different. As tough it has been at times, it reminded me that our baby boy was there and each day we were one step closer to his due date.

Emotions have been stronger than ever

Highs and lows – I’ve felt a mixture of both – mostly highs though. I have questioned so many parts of pregnancy. This includes many what ifs or what if I can’t… moments. I look back and wonder how many times Danny has told me to never worry because I have him. He is right but it’s only natural to have worries I suppose, especially when it’s my mind doing the thinking! At times, I struggled with some comments but I decided to take them with a pinch of salt and to continue doing our own thing. it is our journey after all.

On the other side of things, it has been much more special than I could have ever imagined. I did not know just how blessed we would be to watch a tiny little human growing inside of me. To feel him kick, wriggle and push his heel as far as he can around my ribs, side, and back! It’s all been so heartwarming. And I’m not going to go any further because these emotions of mine are at an all time high. The excitement is well and truly around but I am also feeling very sentimental the closer we get to baby’s arrival.

Mum instincts kicked in

I don’t think it took too long for those maternal instincts to kick in. I used to cry when I seen ‘not pregnant’ or 1 line on a test even though I was on contraception. It might sound silly but sometimes I thought my body was telling me I still might be. Danny and I had the conversation many times over the year and we finally decided it was time. I made choices to make sure my body could be in the best possible state, had regular check ups with my GP etc. who was so lovely to chat about anything. Before we knew it, everything changed. I got to see PREGNANT on the test and my body really was giving me signs beforehand. Since then, I have felt my stomach, rubbed and comforted my baby bump ever since he was just a tiny little thing. I have even spoke to him, played music and Danny has kissed bump to let him know he is there too.

It’s incredible the strength I found once becoming pregnant. You realise what really matters and how important your health is for both you and your baby. I have been very lucky to have been closely monitored by the team at MAViS (part of Tommy’s Research Centre at St Mary’s Hospital) for my blood pressure and any other concerns. They have always put me and baby first. I have learnt not to ignore any sudden changes, reduced movements, or when you just think something isn’t right.

I’ve treasured it all

Every single little moment, no matter how big or small is so special and touching. I have stored all of baby’s scans and bump progress photos on my phone and backed up onto my Mac. My body has gone through so many changes – physically and mentally. It’s incredible. I’m still amazed that a woman can keep babies warm and snuggled up inside our bodies. My womb has been has been baby’s home for so long and he is going to be in our house soon, the 3 of us living together as a little family. I have tried my best not to take any part of this journey for granted. I will never stop saying how lucky and blessed we are already.


As I am nearing the end of my pregnancy journey, I really am starting to feel a little sensitive. I have carried our little boy for 9 months and amazing as it’ll be when he is on the outside world, how is it going to feel no longer having a bump? He won’t be inside wriggling away, he will be here with us to hold. Can my body take all of this in? I will miss many things about pregnancy but each day has led us to what’s about to be one of the biggest days of our lives. It’s not long until we will find out just how it’ll feel to welcome our first newborn baby into the world.

fresh glass of milk

How to Cope with Heartburn During Pregnancy

Oh the wonderful joys of heartburn during pregnancy. Heartburn is something I have experienced before until my second trimester of pregnancy. It started with a burning sensation in my throat followed by acid that travels from your stomach to the oesophagus. So, I am having random bursts of this, sometimes when eating and other times I could just be doing my usual daily activities. Luckily, I haven’t had it too severely but there are a few things I can suggest due to the difference I have seen when doing the below.

Do not drink caffeine or fizzy drinks

This is a given as you are advised to avoid caffeine during pregnancy, thank you for decaf tea! But one thing I noticed going a few weeks back, is that I wanted to drink Pepsi Max whenever Danny had it during meals or throughout the day. That goes with the list of many things I want when Danny has them! But unfortunately it doesn’t help and only makes heartburn during pregnancy worse. Try having a glass of milk. This has worked wonders with me most nights. It’s said to neutralise the acids in your stomach. 

Avoid spicy foods

Wait, what? Don’t eat spicy foods? I know, it’s a challenge for me too. I love so many spicy foods. But if you want heartburn during pregnancy to ease or go away, you have got to do what you can. There are so many little things like peri peri pasta salads, curry, fajita chicken wraps etc. You name it. If it’s spicy, I want some (all) of it. I have treated myself to the odd spicy treat here and there. Reducing the amount I usually eat and certainly helped. The same goes with greasy foods too. 

Drink lots of water

Again, something you hear often during life inside and outside of pregnancy. Staying hydrated is important and it’s another natural way to help reduce heartburn. One thing I like is a nice smoothie during the day. But I have to keep an eye on eating or drinking too many citrus fruits as this doesn’t contribute well to easing heartburn during pregnancy. 

Try not to eat too much chocolate 

Erm… I am a chocoholic during pregnancy so that’s just mean! Needs must though and I do steer away from it if I know heartburn is coming back with a vengeance. I am writing this post, it is Easter Sunday so there’s no doubt about me indulging in chocolate later. It’s a worth a try if it’s an option you haven’t given a go during your pregnancy yet. 

Do medicines like Gaviscon help?

It is safe to take Gaviscon when you are pregnant and there are a few flavours available. However, there are some guidelines which outline when you shouldn’t take it e.g. if you have kidney or heart disease (see https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/gaviscon/).

I was given a large bottle of Gaviscon from my GP the other month which was good as outside of pregnancy I think you usually have to buy it over the counter. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to feel the true effects from Gaviscon because my midwife and MAViS advise me to take 2 aspirin each night along with my prescribed blood pressure tablets due to chronic hypertension (developed years before pregnancy). It can be a pain because with me, heartburn tends to appear more at night time. And taking these along with Gaviscon within 2 hours of each other only makes heartburn symptoms worse. So, I only take Gaviscon if none of the above have helped or if it’s kicking in worse than ever.

I also have some medicine to take as I have slow transit and chronic constipation. I think this is why I was sick on one occasion. Try to find the best time to take it and make it a routine if you are taking other medication. Always consult your GP first to make sure it’s safe. 

More information on heartburn during pregnancy 

There are a few other remedies which your GP may advise. Visit NHS online to find out more: https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/indigestion-and-heartburn/