I’m 20 and I have congenital hypothyroidism (CHT). My earliest recollection of having something ‘wrong’ with me is always asking why I had to take tablets every day, and always hating having my blood taken every six months. I always knew when it was coming because my parents would have to use numbing cream and often, I would have to have several tests because my veins weren’t too good. It was always explained to me that I wasn’t able to make my own energy, and that I had to take tablets every day to make sure I stayed healthy.

When I was young I didn’t think much about it, but as I have got older I’ve felt different from others and at times resented having to take tablets and watch my weight a little more, and always seemingly feeling more tired and lethargic than others. I’m not the best at taking my medication, although I have been doing better recently. I always try and have my pill box in plain sight somewhere in my room so that I definitely remember to take it.

A lot of my symptoms relate to tiredness, and if I’ve missed doses my face will swell and I’ll gain weight 10 times quicker than normal. I also suffer a lot with aches and muscle pains.  I try and get as much sleep as I can, and if I’m feeling particularly tired I try not to rush as much and take as many breaks as I can.

At school, college and now university I sometimes find it very hard to concentrate and stay motivated. I try and do as much as I can with short breaks along the way, to keep myself going, and often set small goals and then reward myself by playing a game or go on social media for a few minutes. When I was growing up and wanted to know more about my condition, I Googled it (naturally) and websites such as the NHS, the British Thyroid Foundation and other sites helped explain it a lot. 

I think it’s important for young people to understand as early as possible about their condition as it affects so much of their daily life, such as sleep and concentration etc. Even when on the correct medication, symptoms can still show and be quite bad sometimes.