I asked fans of my Facebook page how they would describe thyroid fatigue to other people, because, let’s face it, it’s not just ‘tiredness’ or being ‘sleepy’. It’s much more than that.
When people say “Oh yeah, I’m tired too!” or “You need an early night!” it’s really infuriating. It’s not a matter of having a bad nights sleep or a late night. Our body is literally deprived of hormones meant to keep us functioning properly.
So, I asked: “It’s hard to describe to those who don’t experience it, but if you could put it in to words, what would it be?”
Lynne – “It’s a monumental effort just to stay upright and put one foot in front of the other, and as for motivation, its so much easier to stay unmotivated. It takes grit and determination just to get through the day, its so unfair.”
Anon – “It’s like coming round from general anaesthetic.”
Harriet – “It’s my stomach sinking when I realise it is 3pm, I’m exhausted and have still got 4.5 hours of “mum duty” to do before husband gets home.”
Anon – “It’s waking up more tired than when you went to bed the night before.”
Emma – “It is as if you are surrounded by a fog and stuck in a bubble. I feel like I should be able to shake my head really hard and, cartoon style, this fog will be shaken away and I’ll feel ‘normal’. I’ve had to change how I work to fit around the fact that, the that later in the day it gets, the more useless I become. It’s as if you’ve finished vigorous physical activity every minute of the day but you’re never able to recover. Basically it sucks!”
I have massive respect for all parents with hypothyroidism, I seriously don’t know how you do it!”
Myself – “It’s more than being tired. It’s not ‘you had a late night and are a bit groggy today’ tired, I mean absolutely exhausted. Like you could drop sleep with every blink you take. When getting up the stairs is such a horrendous task, that you have to plan about half an hour before you want to go upstairs, to physically prepare yourself for it. And even then, you need someone to help you. I guarantee, if you do not have a chronic illness, you will not know what this feels like.”
Myself – “I’d say it’s beyond exhaustion. It’s spending every moment consciously having to keep my eyes open, using any energy I do have to stay awake from a major lack of energy. It’s waking up more tired than when you go to bed. It’s almost painful.”
Add your own in the comments section below.
If you are on thyroid medication and still having these kinds of issues with fatigue and other symptoms, you are likely not adequately treated, or have other problems you need to address. A properly treated thyroid condition should have no or very few symptoms. Of course, other illness, conditions and deficiencies can cause problems too, so explore them all if possible.
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I run a Facebook group, called Thyroid Family: Hypothyroidism Advice & Support Group. This group is for underactive thyroid/hypothyroidism patients only, and not medical professionals or anyone else. If you have any questions on living with hypothyroidism, or want some support, help or advice, please join us.
I also run a group for the spouses, partners and other halves of hypothyroid patients, called Hypothyroid Patients Other Halves – Support & Advice Group. This is for the other halves only and not patients.