#LetsGetReal

#LetsGetReal: Don’t be afraid of antidepressants (if prescribed).

Editors note: I am not a doctor, I’m just a thyriod/hashimotos patient.

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The world has progressed so much in so many ways, yet mental health is still a taboo for most people.
I think it’s only normal to be scared to talk about our mental struggles in our society nowadays, especially if we are surrounded by the wrong people.

It’s not a secret that thyroid diseases and immune conditions can wreck havoc on our mental health, we experience so many hormonal changes and stress, that normally most of us get eventually depressed, especially when the fatigue is high and incessant.

Last year in July I dealt salmonella and typhoid fever, shortly after I was also diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism, toxoplasmosis and liver issues. I cannot even explain how big the impact was for my mental health, between the awful symptoms: low energy, weight gain, constant nausea, weakness, hair loss, brittle nails, etc. I was always crying and paranoid, at some point I went completely nuts and starting hallucinating, I even saw my local priest because I didn’t fully comprehend what it was.

I had heard of antidepressants but never hadn’t really taken them despite having had chronic depressive episodes when I was 12 years old of which I’m not ashamed, I talked to a friend about asking my then doctor about it and she talked to me about how antidepressants are not a good option, how you can become dependant on them, etc. I was very scared, but I was not only mentally ill, I was also physically ill and I had unsuccessfully tried many relaxation techniques but none worked.

My doctor prescribed me something he said was to help me sleep and when I took the first one it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, I was finally able to sleep but I was sleepy all the time, so I googled the name of the medication and it turned out to be antidepressants, which is odd I hadn’t noticed as I hadn’t cried in a day and that was progressive. I took them for about 3 weeks and then I decided to try to quit them and go with yoga and exercise, it was a long shot because it was hard but I made it, since then I decided to have it as an “emergency pill” only, because like my friend said IT CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, PARANOIA (mine went away went I took them), SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, ETC. While I had no side effects, you may.

I know medication shouldn’t be the first option, but some cases deserve it, so if your doctor prescribes you antidepressants; don’t be afraid of them BUT KEEP TRACK of everything you feel since you started taking them, have a journal and write down your thoughts there and read them by the end of the week, if you notice bad and drastic changes in your behavior and thoughts, please inform your doctor because yes, I am telling you to not be afraid of them, but I’m also telling you to be aware that it could have side effects.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to seek help, we thyroid patients go through a lot and our mental health is largely affected by our thyroid malfunction, find yourself a loyal friend whom you can also talk to, someone who loves you and can understand you.

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The social butterfly /

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Versión en Español, abajo.

Before I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, I was a social butterfly. So I’m going to talk about how Hypothyroidism and thyroid diseases can change your social life.

I’ve always been quite emotional, but I usually managed to control my emotions, I was able to go out and enjoy everything like nothing else in the world mattered. 

I suspect my disease was slowly evolving into what it is now (despite having my TSH under control, the symptoms are still there). I used to be a positive person, I loved to hang out with my friends, take walks with them, even going to parties, but mostly I enjoyed going out to eat with them. I had healthy habits at home, my mom have always been a clean cook, I worked out regularly and most of all, I HAD THE ENERGY.

Suddenly, I started going out less and less, my temper was out of control, I would get mad o cry over things that didn’t really matter, I would get upset and/or defensive while having discussions with my friends that we always had in a healthy way. I also was in a very unhealthy relationship that had me under a lot of stress most of the time, I was panicked all the time, he took advantage of that and would tell me “you wasn’t like this when I met you, you don’t go out because of me, I am too important for you”, but that DIDN’T MAKE SENSE to me, he was not the reason for which I didn’t wanted to go out, it was me, for some reason I didn’t have enough energy anymore, I had enough stress with him. Eventually the relationship ended and I don’t blame my hypothyroidism, he didn’t love me, but my disease did contributed to being “unloveable”.

So, when I was diagnosed last July, it all started to make sense, Hypothyroidism takes most of your energy because your thyroid gland is either over active or under active, your body is not getting its enough share of hormones and your brain starts to notice too, suddenly you start having strange mood swings and then depression hits you like a wet rock, people start calling you HYPOCONDRIAC and DRAMATIC, they tell you “you talk too much about that and it’s not even that much of a big deal”, suddenly you don’t have anyone to talk to because people who were close to you think you’re making it all up for attention, then the weight gain (in my case) comes and it’s what people notice first and they start giving you all sort of rude comments “WOW, GIRL, YOU NEED TO SLOW DOWN THE PIZZA”, “ARE YOU PREGNANT?”, “YOU NEED TO EAT HEALTHY AND EXERCISE MORE, GO TO THE GYM, LIFT HEAVY WEIGHT”… And you’re already depressed enough, you start wondering ‘Why do I let these people affect me? Oh no, I won’t let them’, you start building yourself a wall to protect yourself from all the mean stuff people tell you and because you’re too sensitive, you could lash out in public… And slowly the social butterfly becomes the bitter one.

The fact that you can no longer eat whatever you want, contributes big time to not be a social butterfly anymore too, because in order to get better you have to quit gluten and mostly processed meats, and let’s be honest, restaurants very rarely would serve grass-feed hormone-free meats. In countries like mine, there are no vegan restaurants and neither restaurants have gluten free options.

I always tell people, PLEASE DON’T JUDGE US SO HARD, WE ALREADY JUDGE OURSELVES HARD ENOUGH. We are fighting a battle with our minds, our psychique, our immune system. 

  • It’s not that we want to be over emotional, it’s that we have a hormonal imbalance and we cannot have much control of it.
  • It’s not that we don’t want to go out, it’s that people will make all sort of mean comments about us and it will hurt us, besides we don’t have the energy meaning we get exhausted very quickly,
  • It’s not that we don’t exercise enough, It’s that our metabolism has slowed down a lot and we cannot lose weight despite our healthy attemps, too much excercise can also damage us.
  • It’s not that we are weak and clingy, it’s that we sometimes develop mental changes and depression is the most common, if we reach out to you, we trust you and you are important.

This is why by the beggining of May I posted about Borderline Personality Disorder, because somehow we can relate to them at some level, because us HYPOTHYROID PATIENTS also deal with mental health battles.

I AM IN THE PROCESS OF ACCEPTING THAT THIS IS MY LIFE NOW, THAT I HAVE TO BATTLE THIS AND HAVE TO STOP FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF, THAT I HAVE TO HELP MYSELF AND TRY TO GO OUT, GROW MENTALLY AND DON’T LET PEOPLE HURT YOU. AND SO CAN YOU, WE SHOULD TRY TOGETHER.

Continue reading “The social butterfly /”

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Borderline Personality Disorder // Trastorno límite de personalidad

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Hello everyone, time flies… It’s May already and May is BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER awareness month, so we are going to talk about it because us with hypothyroidism experience changes in our mental state, might not be BPD but we understand mental health is important. So, let’s begin with the follow question, What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. These experiences often result in impulsive actions and unstable relationships. A person with BPD may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last from only a few hours to days.

Some people with BPD also have high rates of co-occurring mental disorders, such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders, along with substance abuse, self-harm, suicidal thinking and behaviors, and suicide.

While mental health experts now generally agree that the label “borderline personality disorder” is very misleading, a more accurate term does not exist yet.

Source: NIMH

As you read above BPD is a serious mental disorder, unfortunately nowadays it is surrounded by the bad representation of the hollywood stigma, such as the character Tiffany Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook, in the movie her diagnosis is never mentioned but it’s well known she suffers from BPD, she’s refered as to “an impulsive angry wh*re” who slept with a bunch of people after her husband died and while some of the characteristics of BPD is impulsiveness and mood swings, not everyone engage in abuse substance or sex abuse, like any other disease, it depends on the personality of each individual, it’s like in the case of us hypothyroids, not all of us experience the same symptoms nor act the same way, same goes for Borderlines.

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The hollywood stigma paints them as unloveable people who cannot love anyone, but that’s not the case, I personally have a few borderline friends and while they might test your patience at times, they are also great people with good hearts who wants to be loved. They fear abandonment like we all do, but they struggle to feel worthy of love as they don’t have a clear sense of who they are (most of them) so they push you away, this is also called “Splitting” as borderline, there is a very good book that sumarizes this “I hate you don’t leave me” by the authors Hal Straus and Jerold Jay Kreisman.  

Here’s a list of symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder as stated by NIHM:

People with BPD may experience extreme mood swings and can display uncertainty about who they are. As a result, their interests and values can change rapidly.

Other symptoms include

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Having stress-related paranoid thoughts
  • Having severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality

Some of these signs and symptoms may be experienced by people with other mental health problems—and even by people without mental illness—and do not necessarily mean that they have BPD. It is important that a qualified and licensed mental health professional conduct a thorough assessment to determine whether or not a diagnosis of BPD or other mental disorder is warranted, and to help guide treatment options when appropriate.

So as you read above, these people already deal with a bunch of issues on their own, they’re constantly fighting a battle, just like we hypothyroid deal with a bunch of issues too. The next time you wanna refer to a borderline as “Crazy” “reckless” or any other bad term, REMEMBER THEY ARE PEOPLE, THEY HAVE EMOTIONS AND THEY’RE ARE SUPER SENSITIVE, so be careful with your words. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
And most important, NEVER DEFINE A PERSON BY THEIR STRUGGLES, because we are so much more than that.

If you have a friend, family member or a partner who is or might suffer from borderline personality disorder, please be kind and patient with their emotions, when you get to know them you realize how amazing they can be.

Continue reading “Borderline Personality Disorder // Trastorno límite de personalidad”