As you all know, I’m Rhi…
To you, I will look fit and healthy. I exercise a lot and eat well (mostly eating complex carbs and non processed foods.)
But there’s something you may or may not know about me. Something you cannot see and would not know just from appearance…
I have an invisible illness, an autoimmune diseases where my thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. There is no way of preventing this and is usually caused by the immune system attacking the gland and damaging it.
For those of you that don’t know, the thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland in the neck. One of its main functions is to produce hormones that help regulate metabolism. When the thyroid is damaged, these bodily functions slow down causing symptoms such as tiredness, continually feeling cold, weight gain, depression, muscle aches and weakness, slow movements and thoughts (this only names a few.)
The only treatment for this is to take daily medication and to have bloods taken at least every six months to check hormone levels and adapt dosage as necessary. Others factors will help such as exercising and eating right, but all of this only does so much. People will say to you “everything is fine”, or “pull yourself together”, or “you need to change your diet” and “you need to do more exercise”. YOU know your body! YOU know if something isn’t quiet right. I CAN and DO all of these things, but the medication only helps so much…
This means that I am ALWAYS tired, ALWAYS feeling fuzzy headed (like I have a cold coming), ALWAYS cold. I can lack in motivation to do absolutely ANYTHING, I gain weight easily, I have to work twice as hard if I want to lose any weight, my muscles often feel weak (like lead) and I cannot move them) it can affect fertility (but this is another story for another time). The list is endless and different for everybody.
Doctors support and knowledge on the matter is hit and miss and mostly, if I am honest, not helpful and not proactive, which leaves me feeling lost and unhopeful.
I push myself every day to exercise, to go to work, to clean my house, to cook, to walk the dog, to spend time with friends and family, all of those normal daily activities that we take for granted. I am sure. No…. actually, I know that I continually complain about feeling tired, cold, unwell, and to the majority of people this probably just seems like wingeing and is no big deal. But IT IS a big deal!
I am lucky to have an amazing husband who will massage my legs when my muscles are so sore, or get me a blanket and a cuppa to keep me warm, or do all the cooking to give me a break.
I haven’t written this blog as a sob story.
I am lucky.
I am happy.
I have an amazing life with amazing family and friends.
My reason for writing this blog is to raise awareness and my message to everyone is not to judge and not to assume because really we don’t know the battles other people are fighting or how others are feeling.
So maybe, just maybe, we can all cut each other some slack!
For more information visit the NHS website