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What a Day With Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Looks Like

I sleep a lot, more than most, and getting up in the morning is always an event. It’s probably the Hashimoto’s, but I’ve never been a morning person. Though, I used to run six to 10 miles before work and now I get up 20 minutes before I have to leave. So that is a big change.

I’m supposed to eat a very clean diet. No gluten, no processed food, no processed sugar, limited caffeine, limited dairy. I’m not supposed to have artificial sweeteners, but Diet Coke is the only comfort food I have, so I haven’t given it up completely. Right now I’m trying a new health food line. So far it’s working well. It’s vegan, organic, yadda yadda, the protein is pea protein, there’s drinks and other stuff to help my digestion.

It’s super hard to follow any specified diet when it takes a lot of energy and focus to just get through every day. It’s hard. “They” keep saying it’ll get easier and it becomes habit. Some parts have, but Lord help if there’s a potluck or a cake at work. I do fine, but when I know there’s a spread in the break room, my only way to avoid it is to not go in the break room. I need to be completely gluten-free, as gluten triggers Hashimoto’s symptoms, which are fierce. There’s some evidence that the keto diet is beneficial for people with this condition, but I haven’t figured out how to do that while still avoiding all the stuff I’m supposed to avoid – while still having an easy meal planning process and eating more than chicken and broccoli. I know it’s probably not that hard, but I just can’t wrap my head around it yet.

Brain fog is a real thing. There are times I forget names of the people close to me, or I totally space on my words during a meeting with a client. I’m usually able to smooth it over.

My hair is thinning. Like, bad. I can see my scalp through my hair anywhere in my ponytail. And I’m having these weird flakes. I thought it was dandruff, but since I’m prone to excema, I wonder if I don’t have excema on my scalp. I don’t know how to treat that.

Stress causes flares. There is a certain amount of stress in life in general. But when something bigger happens, then more symptoms pop. What are symptoms? Hair loss, back pain, joint pain, super dry skin, brain fog. Exhaustion. Not the kind of tired after a big workout or a hard day at work. The kind of tired where your soul is tired, you can’t deal with anything and taking a shower is too much of a task. Before I was diagnosed with autoimmune, I thought I was clinically depressed.

Which brings me to my next point. Autoimmunity is associated with mental health problems. I’ve been in the care of a psychiatrist for a few years. Fortunately, I’ve not been diagnosed with clinical depression, but I certainly cope with anxiety. I’m medicated for that, but medication doesn’t cure it. It just takes the edge off. I actually had a mild panic attack today driving home. Popped some medication, put on my favorite show to binge watch (currently “Reign” on Netflix), and put on a nightgown that was a wedding gift at my lingerie shower.

In short, chronic illness is a daily thing, and managing doctor appointments, prescriptions, meal planning, all that…It’s a second job. It really is. Just keeping up is exhausting, but I’m already exhausted because of the nature of my disease. So it’s hard. And you get these platitudes “You can do it!” and “It’s not impossible!” I don’t want your platitudes. It’s extremely difficult in a way that you can’t understand unless you’ve dealt with it.

And then I go to bed as soon as I can every night, and then every day I get up and hope for a good day.

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Gettyimage by: macniak