Friday, 22 October 2010

Work life balance issues while hypothyroid

For the next 2 months I will now be working three days a week instead of five, on doctors orders. The decision was made somewhat under duress, I’ve been so determined that I am “on the mend” that I think I’ve been in denial about how I well I was actually coping.
 As well as working full time again since April, in the last few weeks I’d also managed to fit in a couple of low key social events in the last few weeks which I was super happy about.  I even put myself forward to volunteer at a charity ball, running around selling “champagne raffle tickets” and auction spotting till past midnight, it was wonderful fun and we raised lots, for a very good cause!  
I’d been tired in the week and worrying whether I should pull out of the ball but didn’t want to let anyone down and figured adrenalin would see me through, which it did, hurrah! I was tired the next day but thought that was natural. I had a very relaxing weekend and had Monday morning booked off work so I felt I had planned in enough rest to get over the Friday evening.
The thing is, while I wasn’t really noticing it (or was choosing to try and overlook the fact), over the last few busy weeks my batteries had been slowly running lower and lower....I think the ball tipped me over the edge.
On the Monday morning it all kind of fell apart. Trying to get ready for work, I ended up in floods of tears, I was just so tired I couldn’t get myself together at all! I rang my boss and she told me to stay at home and see the doctor.
The doctor said it’s really common, when people have a chronic condition, that they often overdo it when they start to feel better, because they are so happy to have some energy they don’t pace themselves carefully enough.  
Bah. I just want to be well!!!   I find it terribly hard to accept this illness and the limitations it puts on me, but I have to say it is a total treat to not have to go to work every day and I intend to do my best to enjoy my days off at home.  Working has been much easier when I know I only have a few days there, I can focus and put everything into it knowing that I will be able to rest properly afterwards.
The great news is that a big piece of work I did a month ago has paid off and the organisation I work for will be getting a significant chunk of income as a result. I’m so relieved, being ill, particularly the brain fog aspect, has knocked my confidence a lot, that success has given me a massive boost.  J
Typical me, I have a big long list of things I want to do when I am not working, obviously I’ll mostly be resting but I’m also looking forward to being able to meet a few friends for coffee, get back into yoga, go swimming, blog more (smile), do more research into thyroid campaigning, meditate, maybe I’ll even have time to work out how my husband and I can move to Canada and have an easier  life (smile again), I shan’t be bored that’s for sure!
I’d love to hear how other people with health issues, particularly thyroid patients, have had to compromise to accommodate their illness. What challenges have you faced, what solutions have you come up with, what have you learned to let go of and what have you decided are the most important elements in your life to hang on to, worth letting go of other things for? If this post has resonated with you at all I'd love to hear from you.
peace and light


  1. Your post describes exactly how I was feeling a few weeks ago!!!! The whole getting ready for work (in my case uni) and reaching breaking point and ending up in a river of tears on the floor...yep!! Thats me!! I had been letting my batteries get closer and closer to empty as I wasnt really ready to admit I wasn't coping as well as I had previously.

    I've got a long list of comprimises I've made for thyroid. Cutting back to part time uni (that decision was so hard!!), I've missed so many family/friends occassions because I really couldn't get out of bed. I've been wanting to do one thing since my 16th birthday (nearly 4 years ago) and still, haven't got there!!! Keep going with the important things, and just let the not so important things lie on the back burner for a while. I've learnt that one thing you do need to let go of is sometimes your own thoughts. Don't dwell on the thoughts that remind us of what we can't do...focus on what you are still doing!!!

    Nat :)

  2. hi Lorraine.

    Thank you so much for making this blog. I too have had similar problems of not bring able to get out of bed, feeling depressed and exhausted after a full night's sleep, unable to concentrate, mentally really struggling to get by etc. This all started happening again about 10 months ago now.

    I had been diagnosed as hypo and treated for the past 5 years with the minimum dose, even though my symptoms didn't go away. I had goitre, no menstrual periods, weight gain and exhaustion problems but learnt to get by on the min thyroid supplement as my doc refused to give me any more.

    10 months ago I hit rock bottom and was hospitalised due to severe anaemia and high cholestrol. i had stopped eating more than 500kcal per day, having gained 2 stone after being put on the pill to induce "periods". It was horrible, weight gain, constipation, no concentration, serious fluid retention, depression, exhaustion, goitre, i felt helpless to stop the slide downhill.

    i saw a different endo fixed my iron levels, once he ruled out internal bleeding!. he has gradually tripled my meds, put me on metformin to control my insulin and took me off the pill hoping my periods will return now I'm on the right prescription.

    Fingers crossed I can lose the weight i've gained and get my life back soon, I'm fed up of being tired, looking pregnant and hiding in the corner, life's too short!!

    Doctors really need to be educated on thyroid issues and how to best treat patients. My bad experience was totally avoidable, if i was treated right first day I wouldn't be worrying about infertility, weight problems and possible diabetic future now.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this blog and inform patients of the facts. Word to the wise.....YOU know your body and when you dont feel right dont take no for an answer from your GP when they try telling you "you are fine and go away"!!

  3. thank you, I'm so sorry to hear you have had such a difficult journey with your thyroid condition and hope your new endo's approach is getting you back on track. I so agree, many doctor's really seem to need more education on how to help those thyroid patients who prove more difficult to treat. I write this blog hoping both patients and doctors might find something useful here to connect with. I'm so glad you've found it useful.

    I am at least relieved I've never had one of those doctors who say "you're fine, go away" yet still it's been over 2 years now and while I'm much better than I was I'm still not properly well and I am not entirely confident that a different treatment approach might not make more of a difference for me. I'll keep plugging away. We all need to take responsibility for our own health and deserve doctors who support us and listen to us and treat us appropriately. I think things are getting better as this illness is slowly becoming more high profile.

  4. Hello and thank you so much for creating this blog!

    Although it feels terrible to say it, It is comforting to find that I am not alone with this horrible disease. I often find myself feeling uncomfortable at being tired when in social or potentially in social situations. I feel awkward that I'm not like everyone else.

    Equally I find it frustrating that, although people may be kind and try to be sympathetic, they probably look at me and think, "Just pull your socks up", when infact, I try so hard to do this!

    I have hypothyroidism and know that I have had the condition for at least 4 years. During that time, I visited my GP several times to explain that I was so very tired (I also had rather a lot of chest complaints). It was so depressing and degrading to be told, "We don't want to go down the tiredness route". Looking back now, I wish I had had the courage to question those words. I feel as though I have lost out on years of my life with an undiagnosed condition. It has cost me time with loved ones which is unforgiveable. I used to be a fit, sporty type and now I am pushing 16 stones in weight.

    Therefore, reading your blog and discovering that a London support group exists is wonderful. I may yet get in touch and hope to come along to a meeting.

    Best wishes to you.

  5. I work full time and find that I have to spread my days off work across the year (rather than take 2 weeks off, for example). Spreading the days out is how I manage to get through each working year, as have to rest here and there.

    It's horrible and no-one should have to live this way!

  6. I've just decided to drop down to a 4 day work, which at 31, noone understands and I do feel like a hypochondriac, and although I wouldn't wish it on anyone, its nice to know I am not alone! I've had an underactive thyroid since birth, so a bit different, but its really taken its toll lately! Best wishes to you all xx

  7. I have been hypo since 2004, menapause kick in rightafter, I have never been able to go back to feeling well. I am at my witts end. I visited 4 endocron docs, a naturalist, I only eat healthy food. I try to work out as much as I can. However I feel horrible. Tired, run down, I don't even know how to feel. I currently on 120 mg of armour thyroid. Is there any hope ???

  8. hello! I'm so sorry I didn't reply to the comments here when they were written. I didn't see them. Had had my thyroxine reduced just before we moved house at the end of October last year, started to feel tired after the move but put it down to the upheaval. then I kind of sunk into a bit of a brainfoggy torpor without realising it, that can be how brainfog works I'm realising! Days, weeks, even months can kind of drift by, I was functioning, I was even doing some work, but afterwards I'm shocked to see how much stuff just seems to slip. Post doesn't get dealt with, blog comments doen't get responded to, hair doesn't get cut, housework suffers...

    Anyway, it's now been increased again and my new endo is looking at reducing my T3 meds instead, which I've written about since and will write more about soon. And I seem to be much better overall.

    will respond to each of you individually shortly. Thanks so much for stopping by and contributing to the blog. It means the world.

    Hope springs eternal.

  9. This content is written very well. Your use of formatting when making your points makes your observations very clear and easy to understand. Thank you.
    Round Bag