“Struggling with symptoms of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism over six months took a huge toll on my physical health and mental wellbeing.

BTF trustee, Rachael, was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at the age of 10 and underwent thyroid surgery to remove her thyroid (total thyroidectomy) at the age of 11. 

Twenty years later she found herself struggling with symptoms related to fluctuating thyroid levels. She is sharing her story to raise awareness of thyroid conditions and how they can affect both our physical and psychological wellbeing.

What were your symptoms? 

I was initially diagnosed at 11, and experienced a range of symptoms including weight loss, insomnia, mood swings, and protruding eyes. Transitioning from primary to secondary school during this time was daunting, as I struggled with fatigue and concentration issues. I remember once falling asleep at my desk in a maths lesson! 

How was your condition detected and diagnosed? 

My parents noticed a big shift in my personality—from confident achiever to introverted and struggling at school. After lots of different tests, a consultant also noticed my goitre, leading to a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism.

What aspects of your diagnosis and treatment proved most challenging? 

I started taking levothyroxine post-surgery with no problems for many years. However, entering my 30s, symptoms of hypothyroidism emerged—weight gain, severe fatigue, and low mood—resulting in a tumultuous balancing act with medication. Struggling with symptoms of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism over six months took a huge toll on my physical health and mental wellbeing, and I also experienced insomnia, anxiety, and brain fog. It felt like an overwhelming battle. 

Initially, opening up about the impact on my mental health was incredibly challenging. However, I came to realise the importance of sharing my experience to help others understand what I was going through. It's crucial for more people to grasp the complexities of living with thyroid conditions, including their profound effects on mental wellbeing.

Have any other family members been affected?

Fortunately, no other family members have been impacted.

What inspired your involvement with the BTF’s initiatives?

Many people are unaware of the thyroid's crucial role in overall health. My involvement with BTF aims to raise awareness for the 1 in 20 affected individuals, combatting misdiagnosis and stigma. It's about advocating for greater understanding, support, and recognition of the challenges faced by those living with thyroid conditions.

Mention about any resources you found helpful?

I’ve found the BTF videos incredibly useful over the years, especially the thyroid HealthSketch film which makes it much easier to explain the thyroid gland and its vital role in our bodies.

Information and support for hyperthyroidism

Information and support for hypothyroidism

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