Life

Thyroiditis Symptoms: The symptoms that were constantly dismissed as mental health, in my on-going battle with Postpartum Thyroiditis and why most symptoms lists just don’t reflect the reality of dealing with a thyroid problem.

Thyroid Symptoms Lists

I found it hard to obtain a diagnosis for Postpartum Thyroiditis and in the search to find out what was wrong I read far more than I desired.

At one point lists of thyroid symptoms became a source of anxiety for me. This is because they are so often limited to a brief example of simple-sounding ailments that never seemed to describe the enormity of what I felt.

In this search, I came across the thyroid UK list of symptoms, which provided a great source of relief – a list that went some way towards capturing the reality of both the hyper and then hypo elements of Postpartum Thyroiditis.

My Symptoms

Following this diagnosis and two years after giving birth my symptoms took a long time to settle down – contrary to the 12 month recovery period the textbook cites. They weren’t new, they were a continuation of the same symptoms, albeit (most days) much less intense. With what were then ‘normal’ blood results I was met with the on-going mandatory doubt from the medical profession and was constantly dismissed with mental health problems. But I KNEW these symptoms. I knew their patterns, their spikes, their rhythms, their torment, and their tricks. They were never a limited list of five ailments sat neatly on a bullet point list.

They were my life and their impact was significant.

Postpartum Thyroiditis Symptoms

My Symptoms List

I wrote down a list of my symptoms for many appointments, which enabled me to articulate the impact of their presence in my life. Over time this list offered me reassurance; that in the face of doubt my symptoms were real and their impact was significant. I also learned to truly believe the uniqueness of my body and that it’s response to illness could never be limited to an internet list.

So here is MY symptoms list; a list that might go some way towards capturing the enormity of what I felt and perhaps others may feel.

  • Hair loss
  • Ringing in my ears (tinnitus)
  • Sporadically, sore red itchy spots on my fingers
  • Cold to the point of pain in my fingers
  • Sporadically, itchy red spots on my body
  • Dry itchy skin especially on legs
  • Sore, itchy heals
  • Heavy, achy, sore muscles
  • Metallic, taste in my mouth and pulsating feeling on the side of my tongue. Comes and goes
  • furry, coated tongue – yellow/white in appearance
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Burning sensation in the base of my stomach
  • Sleeplessness and disturbed light sleep
  • Early waking – pinging awake but also tired
  • Thick sleep for hours
  • Sleep with my mouth open, coughing which wakes, struggling for breath
  • Wake up stiff, in pain, tired, slow, achy
  • Difficulty lying in bed even though tired
  • Extreme exhaustion – so tired I can’t function
  • Headache, a feeling of pressure on my skull
  • Pulsating eyeballs
  • Grit in eyes
  • Feeling that my eyes aren’t connected to my brain. My eyes are too slow to keep up with my brain
  • Difficulty reading, following the words, my eyes are slow and unable to keep up
  • Seeing things – shadows out of the corner of my eyes (sometimes to the point this makes me jump)
  • Feeling of disconnect and being stuck on the side of reality
  • Brain fog, can’t think to the end of a sentence. Difficulty completing simple tasks and sharing basic information
  • Lightheaded
  • Dizzy
  • Going too fast, twitchy, can’t sit still.
  • Breathlessness/shallow breathing – especially in the evenings
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heart thumping in the chest
  • Hot and sweaty
  • Cold and shivery
  • No sex drive
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Significant weight loss and not putting weight on
  • Periods – often late, days of spotting before menses. They felt slow and hard work.
  • Pain in the front of the neck – a dull ache, intensifies when talking and then have to stop and rest throat
  • Recurring tickly cough – no cold
  • Pain in ears – especially the right ear
  • Pain down the back of the neck – right-hand side
  • Voice cracking and going hoarse
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Feeling wired and tired at the same time – like having had excess caffeine and no sleep
  • Feeling ‘too alert and awake’ on too little sleep (3/4hrs)
  • Variable pulse 100 and strong or 60 and weak
  • feeling low, depressed, down and generally can’t connect with ‘myself.’
  • Erratic, frustrated and angry mood swings. These come and go like ’emotional seizures’ and are usually pre-empted by a flare-up of physical symptoms and happen before a period. They can also include the following;
  • Extreme and overwhelming feelings of frustration over small things
  • Feeling of hatred for self and wanting to hurt self – banging head on walls.
  • Intense feelings of being let down by everyone and loathing everyone
  • Feeling of fear that my life is gone
  • Feeling of permanence for the situation
  • Deep feelings of anguish of not being able to live like this – wanting it to stop.

Even though this list is my own description of the symptoms I experienced I read it and somehow it still doesn’t cut the mustard. Nothing can describe the ‘my body is just not functioning properly,’ feeling of the aftermath of Postpartum Thyroiditis.

Read parts one, two and three of My Battle with Postpartum Thyroiditis here and how this impacted my postnatal mental health journey here.