All my life I was told I was too skinny, that I needed a good meal! I guess you could say I was lucky, in many people’s eyes I looked good. I didn’t exercise at all and believe it or not I did eat, and I mean I ate a lot!
I went 25 years being pretty happy with my body. I naively thought this is great and that I would always look the way I did.
When I met my now husband and we had decided we wanted to start a family, things were really looking up. Our daughter arrived in 2012. We couldn’t have been happier. So much so that we said the words that no parent of one should ever really say! “This is easy, let’s have another!” and so we did, we welcomed our second child, a boy into the world in spring 2014.
However a few weeks later things weren’t making sense. I felt this protective energy over my daughter. She was my child, I only had one child. Who is this new baby disrupting our perfect life. My head wasn’t seeing things clearly and I couldn’t understand a lot of what was going on or why.
I became irritable and tired. All I really wanted was to be left alone or take a nap. I would wake up, go downstairs, eat and fall asleep on the sofa. I would snap at my husband if he asked for help and I didn’t have any desire to help with the childcare.
I would look in the mirror at the strange person staring back at me. Who was she? She carried a little excess weight, her hair was limp and greasy and she looked sad.
I have to be honest a lot of the memories from that time in my life have disappeared. I cannot recall most of it, in fact my long suffering husband very frankly told me that I was a female dog, but obviously not as politely as that. We can just about laugh a little about it now looking back but on a serious note, there was something wrong with me.
One day my husband had just quite frankly had enough, not of me per say but of this little demon that was lying within me, just waiting for one wrong look or word before it would be unleashed. He suggested that I needed help, he thought I had post-natal depression.
I couldn’t see it however, surely this is how every new mother felt, especially with two children both under two years old. I mean who wouldn’t be cranky or tired. Anyway he booked a doctor’s appointment for me, I wasn’t very happy about it, but if it kept him off my back then what was the harm.
As soon as I entered that doctors room, something happened. I broke down. I cried and I wailed and I looked at her and in that moment I realised that this shouldn’t be what life is like. My husband told her that he thought I might be suffering from PND, but she wasn’t so sure. She wanted to run some blood tests, to see if there were any physical problems going on before considering anything emotionally or even mentally!
I waited weeks but finally I was called back in to see the doctor. Before I had even sat down she looked at me and said “well, no wonder you felt awful”. I looked at her bemused and took a seat.
She explained to me that I didn’t have post-natal depression. I had an underlying condition caused, by a butterfly. “A butterfly?” yes the thyroid. It may be shaped like the gentle creature but it certainly hadn’t been kind to me. She explained that as well as having an underactive thyroid I also had severe anaemia and it was quite frankly amazing to see that I had gotten out of bed, dressed and made my way to the office. In fact I had the worst under active thyroid she had ever seen.
The thyroid is the butterfly shaped gland located in your throat. Having an underactive thyroid means that this gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. Your immune system is supposed to protect your body but mine was attacking me, or my thyroid more to the point. It causes the metabolism to slow its processes down. Resulting in weight gain, slurred speech as well as slowed movements and thoughts, low energy, being tired more than usual as well as a lot more symptoms. In fact there over 100 symptoms including physical, emotional and mental problems that can make it hard for people to pin point what the cause is.
My doctor started me on iron tablets for the anaemia and a high dose of levothyroxine. She explained it would take some time for me to start feeling better and it did take a while but I am now finally able to start enjoying my life and having fun with my children.
It is so easy to jump into the conclusion that you’re depressed but if you’re feeling down and tired be sure to speak to your doctor.