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Originally published on 1st August 2016 Last updated on 22nd August 2019
TW: Mental Health, Depression, Suicidal Thoughts
So, I wanted to share a photo of this new T-Shirt that holds significant meaning to me and my recovered health. I figured that fellow thyroid patients would understand why.
In 2016, hypothyroidism plunged me in to a deep, dark place called depression and I’m not ashamed to say that I was suicidal. Heck, of course I shouldn’t feel ashamed. But I once was.
I was in physical and mental pain 24/7, I was beyond fatigued constantly and I had next to no quality of life. My life had been devastated by this disease everyone says is ‘easy to treat’.
I couldn’t bare the thought of living this way for the rest of my life, at just 21-years-old, and I felt that my life had been unfairly ripped away from me. I was 21 but felt like a 91-year-old. However, every doctor told me I was ‘fine’ and that it was all in my head. I was made to feel crazy and a hypochondriac, which only made my mental health and physical health therefore, worse.
At this time, I was inadequately treated for my hypothyroidism. I was a medication called Levothyroxine which wasn’t working for me. I was only feeling worse as time went on.
Scrolling through Facebook one evening, I stumbled across an image of one of my favourite old quotes from the Disney film ‘Finding Nemo’.
It said: “Just Keep Swimming”.
The quote is sung by a blue fish named Dory and it was a line I loved and used to annoy people with when I was younger, but hearing it again now meant something different.
Its message was simple: when life feels like it’s too much, just keep on going. Keep on putting one foot in front of the other.
People around me were already telling me this, but for some reason, a little blue fish from an old children’s film was getting the message to me better than they were. It really hit home for me.
It was hard to keep on going, but it gave me this new found hope I couldn’t describe.
It’s amazing what helps us when we’re at our lowest.
I would read this quote and say it to myself when I felt like giving up, and it truly did help to give me more hope. I don’t know how exactly, but it helped me.
“Just keep swimming” I’d say to myself when I felt like I couldn’t handle going to work, getting out of bed or even answering a phone call. It made things that little bit less dark, that little bit less hard and not so heavy.
I don’t expect the same thing to work for everyone, and this simple quote didn’t exactly cure me of all my problems – it took a lot of tests, trying different thyroid medication and persistence to make improvements in my mental and physical health. But the message here is that this simple thing that most other adults probably would think odd, gave me hope in the darkest of times.
It was unexpected, it made sense to me, and I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else. Because I was going through the rough ride of depression and thyroid disease. Not them. And each person’s journey is individual to them.
So when I received my Just Keep Swimming T-Shirt in the post today, I was a tad emotional. It’s a simple quote from a children’s film that helped me through some tough stuff. It helped me make it through a really horrible time and it gave me hope. So I’m wearing it with pride.
Only those that have a condition like hypothyroidism and/or depression, will really know what I’m describing and understand how important something like this can be in our journeys.
For anyone else here who is struggling with their thyroid condition and/or mental health:
Just Keep Swimming.
An in-depth article about your thyroid condition and mental health: Mental Health and Your Thyroid and Adrenals
You can also read about how I overcame suicidal depression with thyroid disease in my book: Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate.
Please remember that if you’re a thyroid patient living with poor mental health or lingering physical symptoms, that you don’t have to live this way. To address why you may still be feeling unwell (often despite being on thyroid medication too), please see this article and go through each suggestion, putting your thyroid jigsaw back together.
THe following link Has BEEN SPONSORED BY BetterHelp
You can also reach out to online mental health help through Better Help, here: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/psychologists/are-online-psychologists-for-real/
Do you have a mantra? Let me know in the comments below.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.