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This is what a thyroid flare can look like.
I woke up this morning knowing I was in a flare. I had slept for over 10 hours but felt more tired than when I went to bed. My body felt as if it was being weighed down in to the bed. My head pounded with a migraine.
As I slowly peel myself out of bed, I run a bath – my first line of defence. Laying in it for half an hour, some of the weight pushing me down was lifted temporarily but I go from feeling freezing cold and having goosebumps to flushing and sweating, worrying that I’ll pass out.
I get out the bath and sit on the bed. It takes me fifteen minutes to get dressed, piece by piece. I have work to do today and I refuse to give in to this flare, so I put on proper clothes instead of PJ’s. I walk down stairs as slowly as possible so as not to fall – the muscles in my legs are failing and feel like jelly. How? I’ve just slept for ten hours.
I make breakfast and a cup of tea somehow. Hoping that eating and drinking will help. I take a sumatriptan (prescribed migraine medication) and hope my migraine will soon subside.
I have work today and have to be on a business call in a few hours’ time. I put on some basic makeup – mascara, blush and lip balm – and run a brush through my hair before pushing it back with a headband. I smile in the mirror as I somehow look well put together and ‘normal’, yet I feel like death.
I sit at my desk and attempt to work but my head pounds, the room spins, I can’t sit up straight and my body flashes with scorching heat. After an hour of stubbornly telling myself I can push on through, I throw in the towel, close the laptop and tears burst out of my eyes. I stand up from the desk chair to walk to the bathroom next door and get some tissue, but my legs buckle. Collapsed on the office floor, I wonder what I did to deserve this?
Went partying last night? Got drunk? Haven’t slept much all week? Skipped taking my thyroid medication?
No, I did two go karting sessions yesterday and somehow, that’s enough to throw my body in to a total meltdown today.
This is the reality of a 25-year-old with the chronic health condition hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, which is mocked by comedians and not taken seriously by many, paying for a normal activity the day before.
I feel like I’m in someone else’s body. As I write this, my legs throb, the room spins, my head is foggy, I’m flashing from hot to cold and cold to hot and I can barely walk. It’s not the flu or a virus – it’s hypothyroidism It’s Hashimoto’s. A flare up.
Read more: A Hashimoto’s Flare Up or ‘Bad Thyroid Day’.
What do your thyroid flare ups feel like?
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 and influential 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”.