I carried the word “stability” into 2017, and that probably has at least a little to do with the reason why I’m still here for 2018.
Somewhere amid the chaos of my 2016-2017 doings, I kept a private blog titled TSH 80: Finding My Normal. Its purpose? Well, I thought it was to figure out just what the hell was wrong with me and how to fix it. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see what it really was.
• Defiance. I knew my body better than anyone and I would prove it. (I was so wrong.)
• Knowledge. I knew I needed a leg to stand on, research to support my claims, if I was to argue against taking meds I’ve been on since I was a child. (I was playing a dangerous game.)
• Proving a Point. I tried an “experiment” that could have been a lethal, headlong rush into a myxedema coma. (I willingly acknowledged this and proceeded anyway.)
Having such a high TSH and struggling to get it back under control affected me in other ways than brain death brought on by a myxedema coma, thankfully, but I still couldn’t see it at the time. From my perspective, I felt great when I wasn’t on the meds. When I took them, all hell broke loose. If you’ve ever been around for one of my drunken Twitter binges, then you have some vague idea of what I mean. Even those were only glimpses at the broken thing on the other side of the screen. The point is, I thought my hypothyroidism medications were making me crazy. The truth is, not taking them hid the real problems always lurking just beneath the surface.
I was struggling with so much more than hypothyroidism and I couldn’t see it.
I can’t tell you exactly when it started; I’ve been fighting this battle since I was nine years old. But what really drove me to start that blog and roll the dice with my health was a simple yearly checkup with my doctor. As per usual, she ordered bloodwork to test my TSH levels. I made the trip to the lab that same day, then went shopping that afternoon. I felt fine, even though it’d been who knows how long since I’d taken my meds. In face, I felt great.
I was writing and editing and just kicking ass in general. Boss. Fucking. Babe. I wasn’t okay, far from it, but I couldn’t see it.
Anyway, I took the test and went on about my day, putting it from my mind. I wasn’t expecting a call until the next day, and even then I was expecting an “all clear,” though I really shouldn’t have been. Did I mention it had been a (long) while since I’d taken my meds? Still, I know my body better than some random lab test. Right?
Wrong, though I still wouldn’t concede the point for some time. My TSH level was at 80. Ideally, it’d fall somewhere around three. Five would have been cause for concern. Yeah.
So I agreed to get back on the meds, but at a lower dosage. Somewhere between then and now, I ended up being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. The insomnia is gone, for the most part, though the holiday season has thrown my sleep schedule all out of whack. I’ve been off the depression meds for a few months, and I’ve just recently finished weaning myself off of the anxiety meds. I’m glazing over the depression and anxiety and insomnia details because I really, really don’t want to relive any of that. Let’s just say I won’t be doing any more “experiments” where my health is concerned.
Lesson learned. Stability achieved.
To achieve stability, I need Synthroid. And I think, more than anything else, I needed to admit that to myself. 2017, the year of stability, brought me that stability and more. It brought a new understanding of and respect for my body and its needs.
Looking back over the year, I realize that despite my struggles, I accomplished a great many things I’m really proud of. I’ve edited dozens of stories for my buddy Daniel’s Tales from the Canyons of the Damned series. I’ve edited countless books for various authors whom I adore. Pav and I are still churning out delightfully deviant UnCommon anthologies. I’ve gotten better at communicating with those close to me, which has always been such a huge personal challenge. I even wrote a book and took a giant step along my journey as an author by joining a boxed set. And I’m doing another one this year. I’ve been working hard at becoming a better editor and author, and even getting better at arting.
All throughout 2017, I was struggling even as I was growing and learning and improving. Every little thing seemed to take a mighty effort, and it seemed like I wasn’t doing much at all. But as I look back over the year, I can’t help but wonder how much I’ll be able to accomplish now that I’ve got my feet back under me. I’m back on the meds for hypothyroidism, I’m sober, and my TSH levels are stable. My heart is full of hope and my head is full of dreams again.
I won’t lie to you, there’s fear in there, too. What if I needed all that manic energy insomnia provided me with? What if depression and anxiety fueled the emotional impact of the works I produced? What if I’m somehow not as good now that I’m back to “normal?” I quit drinking, but what if I need the boost to get me in the “right head space?”
Yeah, I’ll carry some fear into 2018 with me; that’s unavoidable. But I’ll carry a couple of new words as well, and a quote. I’ll leave you with those now, and wish you all a stable, healthy, and good year.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
My words to carry into 2018: focus, discipline
focus: (n) the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition. (v) pay particular attention to.
discipline: (n) the practice of training oneself to obey rules or a code of behavior.