Lifestyle / My Personal Experiences

Juggling My Social Life with Thyroid Disease

As a thyroid patient, do you find yourself weighing up whether to have fun – do leisure activities, leave the house or socialise – with feeling ill the next day?

Rachel Ready to Socialise for The Night

Paying for Socialising

I had a pretty typical weekend for a twenty-three year old, last week.

It was my husband’s birthday on the Saturday, so we had friends round our house for a games night and a few drinks (nothing wild) and stayed up to around 1am. I had two drinks – rum and coke – in that time.

On the Sunday, we went to visit family, leaving the house at midday, and then went for a walk around a park for about an hour in the evening.

The average person turning up to work come Monday morning may feel a bit tired after a weekend this busy, but likely not hugely affected. After a couple of drinks (nowhere near enough to cause a hangover) and staying up until past midnight, you might feel a bit sleepy or even practically normal.

Me? I was really ill.

As the alarm went off at 6:45am Monday morning for work, I felt like a zombie. The muscles in my feet and hands had been cramping and aching all night and although I got a lot of deep sleep, I still felt like I was going to collapse.

I managed to drag myself out of bed and have a wash, get dressed and take myself downstairs, all the while feeling incredibly nauseous and dizzy. I sat on the sofa until I could muster some energy to move but felt like a dead weight. This wasn’t the first time.

I struggled to walk to the tram stop to catch the tram to work, out of breath, hunched over in appearance and heart pounding. I sat at work with the muscles in my legs screaming in agony, my brain feeling fogged and confused beyond words and my stomach churning. I’m going to be sick, I thought to myself.

I just wanted the discomfort to end. I was in a thyroid flare.

Thyroid Flares

Day to day, I am able to keep my health conditions (hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, adrenal dysfunction) well managed. I get to bed by 9pm so that I get nine hours of sleep at least. I eat a good diet, am gluten-free (which helps me manage my thyroid condition better) and plan my energy usage wisely so as not to overexert myself. I’ve learned what helps to manage my health issues.

But sometimes they flare up out of nowhere (I’m still piecing together my thyroid jigsaw!). I’m not always sure what causes them to get worse again for a while. I may have to take time off work, stay in bed for a few days or longer and cancel all plans, concentrating on getting better. Just like when others come down with the flu for example.

And other times, like on this occasion, I knew why I was feeling so unwell.

It was because I’d stayed up later than normal, had two small drinks on Saturday evening and dared to go for a walk on Sunday evening. I even paused every 10-15 minutes of walking to sit and rest for 10 minutes. I dared to try and do some pretty regular things that a 23-year-old should be able to do and then I payed for it.

How other people my age manage to do anything on weeknights or several nights in a row is beyond me. I work Monday to Friday and after each day’s work I come home and practically collapse on the sofa.

Some days, I can find the energy to make dinner, tidy the house or shower. Others, I just sleep.

The Dilemma 

But what am I supposed to do?

Never drink alcohol? Some people with chronic illness don’t, because of how unwell it makes them feel afterwards. (fun fact: I actually ended up going alcohol-free in 2018 to reduce flares)

Should I never socialise?

Never go for a walk outside?

Or do I just accept that, should I want to do “regular people things,” I just have to “pay” for it afterwards?

In order to never miss time off work, should I spend my weekends just like my weekdays, and stay in and rest. No quality of life.

My health is so up and down that in the past I’ve been able to have a weekend like that and be OK for work come the start of a new working week. Sometimes it wears my body out, sometimes it doesn’t.

A body is so intricately wired and all of my health conditions are linked to each other in a system known as the endocrine system, which means that when one part of that system goes awry, it has a knock-on effect and other processes can go out of balance, too. It’s a delicate and volatile balance.

And I’m forever torn.

I refuse to live a miserable existence of limiting my ability to see friends, have fun or get out the house due to my health conditions. But at the same time, if I ignore them completely, I make myself more ill by putting too much pressure on an already struggling body.

I’m conflicted.

Do you experience this? 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.

Related posts:
Thyroid Patients Explain the Struggle of Social Situations
How To Survive Social Events With Thyroid Disease


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.

About Author

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 and at events about the many aspects thyroid disease affects and how to overcome these. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her bestselling books include "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate" and "You, Me and Hypothyroidism".


  • Lisa
    January 6, 2023 at 7:47 am

    Hi. I’ve only just found out that I have this and I’m nearly 50. Observations I’ve made though include avoiding coke as it has caffeine which stops/hinders the absorption of the medication.
    Try lemonade as a mixer. My hangovers are miles better without coke.
    Not much help but a little if it works.

  • Claire Ryan
    January 17, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    I am exactly the same. But I think what suits me is a balance. Plan your activities the best you can and always take a recovery day for yourself! Never try to push your luck, make good choices and seriously no alcohol or reducing sleep! Friends and family will always support your wellbeing, so you should support your wellbeing too.
    I am so sad not to be able to be ‘normal’, but I am really happy to do what I can.


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