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What My Thyroid Flare-Ups Feel Like


This is what a thyroid flare can look like.

Rachel Having a Thyroid Flare Up Day

Body weighed down, hot and cold flushes, room spinning, migraine, legs like jelly.

I woke up this morning knowing I was in a flare. I had slept for over 10 hours but felt more tired than when I went to bed. My body felt as if it was being weighed down in to the bed. My head pounded with a migraine.

As I slowly peel myself out of bed, I run a bath – my first line of defense. Laying in it for half an hour, some of the weight pushing me down was lifted temporarily but I go from feeling freezing cold and having goosebumps to flushing and sweating, worrying that I’ll pass out.

I get out the bath and sit on the bed. It takes me 15 minutes to get dressed, piece by piece. I have work to do today and I refuse to give in to this flare, so I put on proper clothes instead of PJ’s. I walk down stairs as slowly as possible so as not to fall – the muscles in my legs are failing and feel like jelly. How? I’ve just slept for 10 hours.

I make breakfast and a cup of tea somehow. Hoping that eating and drinking will help. I take a sumatriptan (prescribed migraine medication) and hope my migraine will soon subside.

I have work today and have to be on a business call in a few hours’ time. I put on some basic makeup – mascara, blush and lip balm – and run a brush through my hair before pushing it back with a headband. I smile in the mirror as I somehow look well put together and “normal,” yet I feel like death.

I sit at my desk and attempt to work but my head pounds, the room spins, I can’t sit up straight and my body flashes with scorching heat. After an hour of stubbornly telling myself I can push on through, I throw in the towel, close the laptop and tears burst out of my eyes. I stand up from the desk chair to walk to the bathroom next door and get some tissue, but my legs buckle. Collapsed on the office floor, I wonder what I did to deserve this?

Went partying last night? Got drunk? Haven’t slept much all week? Skipped taking my thyroid medication?

No, I did two go karting sessions yesterday and somehow, that’s enough to throw my body in to a total meltdown today.

This is the reality of a 25-year-old with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, which is mocked by comedians and not taken seriously by many, paying for a normal activity the day before.

I feel like I’m in someone else’s body. As I write this, my legs throb, the run spins, my head is foggy, I’m flashing from hot to cold and cold to hot and I can barely walk. It’s not the flu or a virus – it’s hypothyroidism. A flare up.

Follow this journey on The Invisible Hypothyroidism.

Getty photo by Punnarong