How Hashimoto’s Disease Stole My Life

I don’t know when it started. I’ve always been tired, searching, easily disheartened.

I think puberty, pregnancies, and anxiety exacerbated my problems.

The Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis diagnosis didn’t come until I was in my early 50s. I’d already lost opportunities, drive, and lots and lots of memory cells.

Being around people became unbearable. I couldn’t remember their names, what they did, why I knew them, or even how to make pleasant conversation. If I didn’t immediately insult them, I usually got around to it. It was painful – for everyone.

Depression was inevitable. I decided it was warranted so I didn’t try to do anything about it. I thought I deserved it. I didn’t like me. Still don’t, really.

I ended up quitting my jobs, one after the other. I couldn’t count on my memory enough to convince myself that I was dependable in these jobs. That became especially true when I worked as a substitute teacher. I couldn’t keep the kids’ names or schedules straight. I woke up one morning and realized I might leave a kid behind on a field trip or put them on the wrong bus or dismiss them early when it wasn’t early-out. There were so many ways I could mess up. I just wasn’t safe so I quit, again.

I couldn’t think of a single job I could do without a dependable memory, so I retired early and took up painting and writing. I suck at those too, but at least everyone is safe.

I’ve tried almost every supplement created for thyroid health. And I’ve been through almost every thyroid hormone available. I’ve tried countless varieties of desiccated. Now I’m trying synthetic. Nothing makes a difference.

My apologies. I don’t mean to sound so pathetic and disheartening. Who knows, maybe it’s not my thyroid at all.

Maybe I have Alzheimer’s. Sigh.

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When Being an Introverted Narcissist Can Be Hard on Your Health.

Some traits of an introvert:

1. Likes to be alone.

2. Quiet and reserved.

3. Doesn’t enjoy being in crowded social situations.

4. Doesn’t relish small talk.

5. Needs to recharge after social gatherings.

6. Introspective.

7. Self-aware.

Some traits of a narcissist:

1. Lacks empathy.

2. Exaggerated sense of self-importance.

  • 3. Feelings of entitlement.
  • 4. Selfishness.
  • 5. An excessive need for praise and attention.
  • 6. Doesn’t like criticism.
  • 7. Judges others.
  • Try imagining a person who exhibits the worst behaviors of both an introvert and a narcissist. Having all those bad traits together in one psyche would be hell. I should know, I managed to do it.
  • Imagine being painfully self-aware, feeling stressed around crowds, thinking you’re smarter than most, yet possessing questionable social skills. Now imagine being in any social situation and blurting out an ill-thought-out question, a stupid comment, or an inconsiderate observation, and freezing up when you should be explaining yourself. Now throw in being painfully self-aware and absolutely convinced that your statement, question, or lack of response has just ruined lives and irreparably harmed people’s self-esteem or their perception of you.
  • That is the perfect recipe for harmful, lingering, and painful rumination. I blurt out something inconsiderately inane and blow my chance to fix it because my mind goes blank. Now I own it – lock, stock and barrel. It will follow me for life. I know this from all the past stupidities I’ve hoisted on the world. They dutifully come back to haunt me at 3:00 am. And, since I’m so influential, important, and powerful (in my own head) everyone involved is thinking and talking about what I did. They will surely dwell on it, causing them to think less and less of me. It can also ruin what could have been a joyous memory of a special occasion, causing me, instead, to get queasy when thinking about it. That’s sad.
  • That, of course, is an exaggeration. I have to keep reminding myself of the famous quote, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what other people think of you if you realized how seldom they did.”
  • I don’t know how many times I’ve apologized profusely to someone the day after blurting out something stupid, only to realize they don’t even remember what I said or half the time, that I was even there.
  • You’d think I’d learn from that, but no. I fall back on my delusions of importance and influence. I’m convinced they’re just being nice to my face, but are actually talking about it behind my back.
  • Even talking about this is narcissistic. Why should you care about what goes on in my mind? I’m self-inflating my importance, yet again.
  • If I had to explain why I’m writing this, I’d say I want to help someone else going through the same thing. I’d like them to know they are not alone and let them know that ruminating doesn’t do anyone any good. You’re not paying a penance. You’re not driving home a lesson. You’re not making everything better. You’re actually releasing stress hormones into your body, some of which are kind of rough on it.
  • We all hate to hear, “Let it go!” Or “Why are you still thinking about that?” Or “Oh no, you actually said that?” So sometimes it can be hard to talk to people about it. But know that their are people who understand, be it a trusted friend, a doctor, or an empathetic family member.
  • Things that have worked for me are – writing it down; trying positive reinforcement techniques – instead of beating yourself up, make it a positive by thinking of the good things it could have caused, even if that only means schadenfreude therapy for the people involved; finding the humor, if possible; anti-anxiety supplements like L-theanine; a long walk through the woods; focusing on other people’s needs; and just plain getting out of my head for awhile.
  • And, most of all, realizing that I’m not alone.
  • Why You Should Stop Ruminating

    Anxiety is a bear. A big, ugly, growling, slobbering, terrifying bear. It grabs you by the throat and won’t let you go. It keeps you awake at night. It takes over your thoughts. It causes confusion, inaction, and despair. You want to be alone, but then you don’t. The thought of having to live alone in your head is unbearable. It’s scary in there. You’re forced to relive your embarrassing utterances, thoughtless gestures, stupid questions, hurtful comments, over and over and over. It’s like watching a video on an endless loop. The bear wakes you up to watch it again and again. It starts playing while you’re eating or shopping or watching tv. It’s relentless. Your heart races. Your appetite wanes. You want it to stop, but you don’t know how.

    And the bear is clever. He sees to it that you not only worry about the stupid things you’ve done, but you also worry excessively about your loved ones. You’re overcome with thoughts that they may have had a horrible car wreck if they don’t answer your text right away. Or were kidnapped, or fell down some stairs, or were hit by a car while riding their bike, or . . . You name it, your over-anxious mind will concoct it. You pace and wring your hands and text them repeatedly. Then you start calling. If they don’t answer, you start calling their friends.

    This ruminating and excessive worrying is hard on your mind and body. It causes cortisol to be released into your blood stream. Cortisol, one of the flight or fight hormones, is released by your adrenal gland. It can do damage to your hippocampus, the part of your brain that stores memories. It causes your heart to race and an overall ‘jumping out of your skin’ response. It makes it hard to fall asleep and then interrupts your sleep if you do.

    Time heals all wounds, you think, you hope. And eventually you do start feeling better. Yet, days or months later, the bear is back. Something will remind you of one of your past stupidities and you’re back inside the jail you’ve built in your head. You’re once again being held prisoner and forced to watch replays of those bad memories over and over.

    You try mindfulness, yoga, meditation, camomile tea, every anti-anxiety herbal supplement you can find. Your counter is soon over-flowing with supplement bottles and boxes of tea.

    Nobody around you seems aware of your torment. Life goes merrily on. You decide you must be the only one who feels this way and it’s just what you do.

    Sometimes, when it gets really rough, you bring it up to someone in your life. Unfortunately, you will sometimes get an answer like, “Are you still on that?”; “Let it go!”; “Try thinking about something else.”; “It’s not that big of a deal.”; “Move on, already.”  Or you’ll get the dreaded blank stare and the even more dreaded shrug.

    These people aren’t meaning to be inconsiderate or impatient (I hope). They just don’t know what to say or do. I’m sure they feel as helpless as you do.

    If you have these overwhelming feelings of anxiety or worry, talk to somebody who will understand, be it a therapist or an empathetic friend or family member. Take deep breaths. Exercise as often as possible (I like hiking through pine trees. Take your bear spray – wink). Drink plenty of water. Do the things you love to do (pine trees – I’m not kidding).

    And, most of all, know you’re not alone.