I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in 2015 [when I was 15]. I knew something was wrong when I began to lose weight rapidly, was constantly hungry and felt like my body’s metabolism was going at double the normal speed. I often felt very hot and bothered too. One of the key symptoms was a swelling (or goitre) at the front of my neck which indicated an irritated thyroid gland. If it wasn’t for the advice of a friend who was a doctor, my symptoms could have been considerably worse! After I was seen by my GP, I was referred almost immediately, and the doctor helped me understand what my condition was. He was endlessly patient, re-phrasing and explaining particulars so I could grasp them successfully. I was put on block and replace treatment to get me through my last few years in school until I could find a good point to have more definitive treatment. At first, I was taking eleven tablets a day, but thankfully they were reduced over time.

For quite a while I was nervous to talk about my hyperthyroidism, but one piece of advice I’d give to myself back then would have been to tell all my close friends about what I was going through. Support from friends and family is essential when dealing with medical issues, and the quicker you explain and express how you’re feeling, the quicker they can care for you. It also provides an interesting icebreaker!

I also discovered that hyperthyroidism isn’t that rare; a number of my friends know relatives or others with thyroid issues. Being open, and understanding I wasn’t alone, helped me connect and make some great friends along the way. Another piece of advice I’d give is get into a routine from the start. I take my medication as soon as I wake up in the morning and as I’m getting into bed at night, and I have a tablet organiser with little boxes for each morning and evening dose. Being organised from the start helps form a plan in your head and makes it less likely to forget about medication.

My condition never really stopped me in my social and school life because it was noticed and treated quickly, though I have had to learn the hard way that I can’t control everything in my life! However, I have met others along the way who have had their lives rocked by similar medical conditions, and it has been essential to help me realise I had it pretty easy. For quite a while I wanted to indulge in self-pity, but ultimately you have to make a choice whether to give in to anxiety and worry over a condition you can’t totally control, or try and live your life, enjoying the good times even more after struggling through the bad times. You may have a thyroid condition, but don’t ever let that condition have you.