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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Time to tell the truth...

To my dearest Jen,

And so it's 2016 and somehow it's March. Where does the time go? I love your Insta photos of the kids and your beautiful family.
I said I'd write to you to update you on how I'm going.
I've been better to be honest - my body, mind and heart have seen better times.

You see, I have something called Hypothyroidism. It's been 12 years now since I got diagnosed with it (which, by the way, is how long we've known each other), but for some reason I've never really thought much about it. I take medication every day, in the morning an hour before food, but other than struggling a bit with my weight going up and down 5kgs, I've never really had to think about it and the impact to the rest of my life has been minimal. Until recently.

My hypothyroidism is now slowly killing me. It's sucking every last bit of energy out of me and replacing it with depression. Since last June it has been playing up and for some reason I can't seem to get it under control. This "Fit Fat Chick" is now just fat and the enthusiasm to try and combat is has faded away with my happiness. My rings and my watch don't even fit me anymore and neither do my shoes as my feet swell. My memory has lapses where I can't think of words or remember things and despite the fact that I'm constantly fatigued, I am unable to sleep properly. It's not an "I've had a long day" tired, but an "I want to lie on the couch all weekend and not move" tired - constantly. I'm super sensitive to the cold, with multiple joint pains and tendonitis, dry hair and the depressing weight gain which is now at 12kgs and climbing. I have stopped going out as I have nothing to wear and I feel horrible, avoid any photos being taken and think about how everyone is saying "she's piled on the weight!" when they're talking amongst themselves later. I don't even have the energy or courage to see my beautiful friends and would prefer to stay at home. My confidence is gone and I won't do anything on my own anymore. I throw all the energy and focus I have into work so that I can perform on some level, but other than that I have nothing.

The doctors aren't much help. Blood tests every 6 weeks and then more again and again, trying to get my TSH, T3 and T4 levels right. Some suggest one thing, others suggest another. My next Endocrinologist appointment isn't til May 12th - so there's more waiting to try and get an answer as to what is going on.

"How could something so previously invisible now be controlling my whole life?" I ask them. "How could I have never had any issues really and now I seem to be falling apart?" "It can just happen like that" was my answer.

It's hard to describe to someone who doesn't have it; especially with the stigma around it that is linked to being an excuse for fat people being fat. Think of getting home from work every day and immediately wondering when you can go to bed, or dreading the night's out that you have to go to - thinking of every excuse under the sun so you don't have to go - every time. Think of mood swings, being sad a lot, or crying for no reason you can think of, feeling really cold even when you're an Irish girl in Australia and others are in a bikini, saying a sentence but your brain giving up mid-way through and it's like you've lost your vocabulary or think of your whole body hurting when you're even doing simple things like walking up and down stairs.

And then, to top it off, the months of January and February were all about a big secret we had; but it turned out that it wasn't one where we got our chance to surprise everyone with the good news or where we got to film reactions of our friends and family when they found out. It wasn't meant to be they said; the Hypothyroidism had destroyed that too. I'm still recovering from that.

Anyway, I am still trying the baby steps Jen. I managed to haul myself out into the open today and attempt a "Couch to 10km - Day 1" challenge. 8 minutes of jogging with the same number of 90-second breaks in between and I had to go to bed after my shower as I was so exhausted. Seriously?! 8 minutes with breaks and yet I've run 15km before and felt less drained. I hate doing things on my own, but am too intimidated to now do things with others as I know how much I'll struggle.
I am still finding it hard to believe that it is something I need to take seriously since I've had it for so long. They say stress is a huge factor in it and so I'm trying to get a handle on that side of things; which isn't an easy task considering my job. Trying to plan cheap-and-cheerful things to do on the long weekends we have so that I'm forced to be removed from the apartment and routine.

So there you have it honey. Not the most uplifting update to give you, but the truth all the same. I need to stop pretending that everything is fine as it's not, BUT if I can recognise it isn't and do what I can to work towards normality then that's a start! Everyone has some sort of road-block and this is mine for now; so it's how to get around it if you can't go through it...
The aim is Christmas - I'm looking forward to going home to Ireland and I want to be "me" when I do so that I can enjoy every moment of it. Seems silly as it's nine whole months away, but considering it took the same to get me to this point, then I'm probably even pushing it at that. Tick Tock!!

I will keep you updated and am sending my love to the Mid-West :)

The person formerly known as Ciara (but I hear she's coming back...) xx

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