Now, as you probably already know, gang, Hormona is all about improving hormone healthcare. And Thyroid hormone health is, in fact, the reason the company exists in the first place. It’s also the reason I work here. Yes, I’m one of the literally millions of women the world over receiving Thyroid treatment, so I’m well placed to tell you: it doesn’t work very well. Not for me at least, and chances are, not for you either.
My Thyroid treatment
Eagle-eyed Hormonas will likely have noticed that I rarely write personal pieces, unless I’m talking about how much I love Brooklyn 99. Because I really do. At Hormona, though, we’re a team and write like one; unless there’s something we feel strongly about, that is. And Thyroid health is something I feel incredibly strongly about.
Here’s why. I was diagnosed with a genetic Thyroid condition when I was in my 20s, having been ill for years. My mum has it too, because, genes, but for some reason, she wasn’t diagnosed until ten years after me. And it’s the impact that condition and lack of good Thyroid treatment have had, not just on me and my mum, but other members of my family, some of whom are no longer here, that eventually lead me to Hormona.
If you think that sounds dramatic, you’d probably be right. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Welcome to the weird, wonderful, and often frustrating, world of Thyroid treatmtent.
I can’t really pinpoint when I first got really sick. I’d eventually be diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, and told it was a genetic form of the auto-immune Thyroid condition. And that basically means my immune system was attacking my Thyroid gland, and as a result, the gland was dying. Added bonus: in addition to crazy high amounts of hormones, it was also leaching poison into my blood. But I digress.
I might well have been born with Graves’, but I don’t remember being a sickly kid. Admittedly, some severe bouts of Tonsilitis would disagree, but outside of a couple of those a year, nothing really bothered me.
As a teenager, I studied full-time, worked part-time, and even had a small social life, often leading to 20-hour days. I didn’t blink. I rarely felt tired, despite the four hours sleep, never got sick, and I honestly didn’t see anything wrong with that. Yes, my periods were a nightmare, but as I was told by every physician and nurse I spoke to, “Teenagers, right?”
It wasn’t until sometime during my degree that things started to change. I was exhausted all the time, angry, sad, self-destructive, and just felt physically awful every second I was awake. After several visits to the university medical center, the diagnosis was, in my opinion, unsatisfactory. To whit: “We think you’ve got Glandular fever, but we can’t prove it so there’s not much point you coming back.” So close, and yet so far.
Taking care of it myself
From that point, I pretty much just lived with the increasingly severe emotional symptoms, getting angrier, sadder, and more self-destructive by the month. So bad was the emotional fall-out as I got sicker, I’ve no idea if I had any physical symptoms during that time, hangovers that lasted for days notwithstanding. I’d always had balance issues, vertigo, and knees that had an annoying habit of randomly giving way, and that didn’t change.
And that’s how I stumbled through to the end of my degree, moving back home to London the literal second it was over. Having removed the pressure of a course I’d come to despise, I was able to get some distance and see that something was clearly wrong with my mental health. I had no idea why I was still so angry all the time, and took a depression diagnosis with a smile. That must be what’s wrong!
Of course, the antidepressants just made everything worse. A short course of therapy actually helped a little, but the effects were temporary. Eventually, my anger issues were so bad that my family staged something of an intervention. They were incredibly concerned about the person I’d become since moving back from uni. I was drinking heavily, angry, a danger to myself and a liability to them.
The self-sabotage would have been funny if it hadn’t been me doing it. I actually ended two interviews — one of which was my dream job — by loudly insulting the publications I allegedly wanted to work for. Although, in all honesty, at least one of them deserved it. The thing about Graves’ rage is that it’s not always random.
During the intervention, they very, very gently reminded me that my grandmother had, allegedly, lived with Bipolarism. And then they very, very gently suggested that I talk to someone, because we all know what happened to her. For those of you who aren’t related to me, my maternal grandmother died about four months before I was born. She killed herself. Pills if you’re wondering, but I’m in no way convinced it was having Bipolarism that lead to her suicide. But that’s another story.
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