When I was first diagnosed I was 11 years old, so nearly five years ago now. I remember being quite confused about why I was different to other children, like my brothers for example. 

I don't think I really realised anything was wrong because I just didn't know what normal was anymore. I’d been having sleeping (and teeth) problems for years before I was diagnosed, we just didn't know it was due to a thyroid problem. I found out that something was really wrong when, after the school holidays, I went to my gymnastics practice and my coach noticed that I had lost a lot of weight and that I was having trouble doing relatively easy moves due to my muscles being weak. So she told me to go to the doctors and then everything happened from there.

At first we went to our GP, where I had some blood tests done and the GP was pretty sure that I had Graves’ disease and so hyperthyroidism as well. I was then referred to see an endocrinologist. I guess I was quite anxious about seeing a specialist but the doctor I saw was fantastic and he explained the diagnosis to me by doing a drawing which showed how the thyroid was supposed to work and what it was supposed to do. He then explained how mine was actually overworking and what the different medications would do to help it.

I don't really remember how I managed my symptoms in the beginning. Because I didn't really know what "normal" felt like anymore I couldn't really tell if something was wrong. I've had a quite a few experiences now where my thyroid levels have gone completely wrong and I’ve only realised after quite a while when I couldn't concentrate at school. I was really low, I had no energy, felt tired all the time and I remember just not feeling like myself but not knowing how to change it. Once I finally realised that is was probably my medication that was wrong I had a blood test and as a result we changed the doses. Now I kind of just know, even if my levels are only a little bit out I can feel it. You feel like you're just not right or not ‘normal’. I have always felt a bit scared to say when I think that my medication is not right in case it is actually right and I was just imagining it. I have learnt that it’s only me who can say how I am feeling nobody else.

My advice to others about managing the symptoms and how you are feeling would be that you have to trust your feelings and that you know your body better than anyone else. You are the one that knows how you're supposed to feel.

I take my medication every morning when I go downstairs for breakfast, it's a part of my routine now so I very rarely forget it. I did used to have a pill box so I knew that I had taken it each day. Recently I have started taking medication in the evening too so to remind me I take it I have set an alarm on my phone so that I don't forget.

At first the condition affected both school life and my social life, I had to stop all sports for the first six months after diagnosis so I was really disappointed to stop gymnastics, and also sports at school. I felt like I stood out at school but now I'm at secondary school and things are more settled it doesn't really affect my school life. I now also take dance classes.

Only my closest friends know about it and it doesn't really stop me from doing anything anymore. Nobody has to know if you don't want to tell them. Sometimes I find that other people won't really understand and others will just be curious and want you to explain everything. If, and when, I do tell someone I'll usually keep the explanation quite simple and just tell them the ‘important’ things.