A few months ago my doctor asked me for what felt like the thousandth time, “Are you having any feelings of depression?” How I had remembered depression in my teenager years was months of not coming out of my room, laughing or crying hysterically or the utter lack of motivation to live; so obviously my answer was No.
I had went in to the doctor because I was forgetting everything. I forgot why I would go into rooms, things I’d said to the kids or practically anything my husband said to me of any importance. There were so many times I just forgot words, which is frightening to anyone who writes. Words just weren’t there anymore. I knew this had to do with one of the medical conditions I suffered from, but I was getting increasingly worried I was beginning to have early dementia, so despite the lack of insurance at the time – I went to get my blood retested.
It just so happened that my thyroid decided to go down the drain despite my medication. All the terrible symptoms were coming back.
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
My medication was increased to hopefully regulate it and that is currently being tested.
Some days after the increase in dosage, I felt like my eyes were more open. It sounds strange typing it out, but that’s how it felt. Feelings weren’t muted in a semi-cloud of apathy or felt as if they were experienced between a pane of glass. I was happy when I was happy and sad when I was sad. Slowly the words came back and with them my ability to remember things. Most of all though, I realized I had been depressed.
Although it wasn’t as though I was overcome with sorrow, devoid of feeling or suicidal – I still wasn’t happy. I was just down. It is the difference between a sob and a sigh, I was a long and lengthy sigh just waiting for the day to be over. Then I would get this idea that when I woke up it would be this better day and I would drag myself out and pull myself along once I realized that 3 cups of coffee wasn’t going to get me anymore awake. I was just going to be stuck going through the day on low batteries.
I finally told my doctor that maybe I had been having feelings of depression. Maybe my lack of realizing it was somehow connected to my inability to recall anything. It had made me think, however, of all the other people out there that probably feel the same way. How many of them don’t realize that they might be suffering from symptoms of depression because it doesn’t fit the mental picture?
A study found that roughly 13 million Americans alone could be suffering from undiagnosed Hypothyroidism and as it is more prevalent in women than in men (and generally occurs after pregnancy), it isn’t all that common to be one of those people. Sadly though, Hypothyroidism if left untreated can cause multiple worse conditions.
When hypothyroidism isn’t treated, signs and symptoms can gradually become more severe. Constant stimulation of your thyroid gland to release more hormones may lead to an enlarged thyroid (goiter). In addition, you may become more forgetful, your thought processes may slow, or you may feel depressed.
Advanced hypothyroidism, known as myxedema, is rare, but when it occurs it can be life-threatening. Signs and symptoms include low blood pressure, decreased breathing, decreased body temperature, unresponsiveness and even coma. In extreme cases, myxedema can be fatal. – MayoClinic
There are also studies that found that children born from Mother’s with Hypothyroidism have a higher risk of Autism and Developmental Delays. People who know me and my son’s ongoing progress with ASD understand how hard that hits home. I wasn’t diagnosed until months after he was born and it is possible that the pregnancy led to Hypothyroidism and the reverse led to his struggles. Thankfully I have the best husband on the face of the earth who reminded me that our son is absolutely perfect, regardless of my health problems or research studies. I just wanted to let new mother’s know the importance of being tested early in pregnancy.
The question I suppose I wanted to ask you is, “Are you depressed?” If you are feeling anything similar to what I had been feeling I encourage you to go and talk to your doctor and get your thyroid checked out. Hypothyroidism may be a life-long disease that many of us have to deal with, but at least there are ways to get to a happier place in living with it.
Thank you to everyone who had offered me patience in the last few months while I was a little off track.