Living is more than existing

To live is more than to be alive, to exist.

Waking up in the morning, going through the motions and going to sleep at the end of the day, forgetting the things not done, the people not seen, the opportunities not taken is not living. Living is actually doing all these things rather than wishing you had.

To live means to feel, to want, to do, to hope, to dream, to savour. Just being is existing, but not living.

Living with Hashimoto’s often feels like not living. It feels like simply existing.

Existing and sometimes feeling only pain, both physical and emotional. Existing and feeling like you cannot speak up, like you cannot complain, since you’ve said it all before and people around you have not understood – why bother? Existing and keeping your thoughts and feelings to yourself. Do thoughts and feelings exist, or matter, if they are not expressed?

Existing and wishing and hoping for a cure, knowing full well that it will probably not come, but wishing and hoping that something could be done to ease the pain, to let you live again.

And at times, when this wishing and hoping fails, existing and wanting to cease to exist.

Depression is one of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which often goes undiagnosed and untreated masquerading behind what is seen as a psychological problem. But the problems are often a mixed bag of physical and emotional pain and addressing just the “psychological” side of this does not always lead to long-lasting relief. Inversely, treating just the physical symptoms and focusing solely on the biochemical balance of thyroid hormones risks underestimating the emotional toll that the condition has on the sufferer. Little else is more frustrating than being told that your tests are “normal” because they fit into the “normal range” for lab tests and that therefore there is nothing “wrong” with you. I was faced with this reaction for a number of years, dismissed as a “hypochondriac” and told to “cheer up” or even “eat more salt” when a problem with my thyroid had already been established. Having “subclinical” hypothyroidism does not make the patient’s emotional responses any less real, their effects any less keenly felt on their lives. I wish doctors and in particular general practitioners would be more aware of the close inter-relationship between thyroid and other hormones in the human body. (But this is to be addressed in another post).

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