I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at age 15, soon after I finished my 10th class exam. I am sure I had this disease since my childhood, it’s just that nobody noticed it. My weight gain started at the age of 8 and gradually kept increasing. People including my neighbors’ and friends thought that maybe I am gaining weight because I eat too much or were lazy. After my puberty and constant change of residence, I lost interest in playing outdoor games and confined myself to indoor activities. Emotional instability and family disintegration led to frequent bouts of depression. I used to confine myself in my room and at times resorted to writing or sketching. I remember during my science class on goiter, I informed my tutor about my enlarged throat which was only visible if I raised my face up with chin high. My tutor thought I was hypochondriac and making up a serious excuse to not study. My parents neither believed me.
During my summer vacation, my elder cousin had a trouble with her throat and informed us that she would be visiting a government hospital is near my house. I wanted to meet her and my aunt and therefore decided to accompany my mother for the visit. I was happy when I met her and accompanied her to the doctor’s room. The doctor did his usual inspection and asked her to do certain tests. He then looked at me and realized that I was heavy for my age. He asked me about my age and my weight. On a weighing scale, we all realized that I was a 15 year old 72kg girl. He realized that there has to be something to it. Then I showed him my neck presuming it to be goiter. He wrote a certain tests for me as well. I and my cousin, we both underwent the test. I won and she lost. I was detected with high level of TSH which meant I was with a hypothyroid.
The doctor suggested a medicine but with a warning that it has to be taken for a lifetime. The thing with thyroid diseases is that you cannot do away with the medicines. You can reduce the dosage intake but you cannot stop having it. None of family members had thyroid so it is difficult to predict where I got this disease. But since then the journey has been tumultuous and not as normal as those of other teens and adults. There was no respite from weight gain. The 15 year old me joined gym and lost a few pounds but only to gain it back in few months. I was a giant with broad shoulders and heavy upper body for my age. I was teased and mocked by my peers if I made my way up or spoke too much. That’s where I started losing my confidence. I was often referred as “that fat girl”. In first year of college I joined swimming classes along with gym and shed kilos. I reached almost 60 kgs but working out along tediously along with commuting to full time course of college made me physically weak. I used feel tired always. As the assignments began to increase I took a halt from physical activities and gained weight again. After my third year I was 86 kg and depressed. Dating was out of question. By the time I had become an introvert because I thought people would not like to talk to me. Boys always flocked around my pretty girl friends. In pubs, men used to hit on my friends and most often I was their bait to catch the fish. They spoke to me when they wanted my friends’ number. I was always the sidekick of every pretty friend of mine. I had my stints with blind dating but ultimately they all were seeking a pretty face with a healthy body. I was blessed with none. I joined gym again along with contemporary dance classes. But this time it was difficult to lose weight. I tried and tried and pulled down my weight till I was in 70s. But then working out was a full time affair. I was behind my schedule in taking up a job and earn for my living. All my friends were doing internship or took up a job after college. I jumped into the rat race and left my mission for a healthy body behind.
Thyroid disease just doesn’t come with a weight gain problem but issues related to your other bodily functions as well. In hypothyroidism you sweat more than others which can be embarrassing in meetings or a date. There are times you find it difficult to concentrate and focus and your memory is not best supporter. You keep complaining about environment because you cannot take extreme cold and hot weather. Your hairs are thinner than most adults and nails brittle. You are cranky with irregular menstruation and acne-issues. You feel exhausted all the time and lethargic once you are on the couch. There are days when you don’t feel like getting up from your bed. You lose your appetite yet you constantly gain weight despite of sparse eating habit. Your metabolism takes a toll and constipation is your constant companion. You welcome depression and loathe on your own decisions. And people around constantly keep saying you that how difficult it will be for you to conceive in future.
I am 29 right now and struggled through the corporate ladder to reach a prominent position. I had to use my skills and aptitude ferociously to reach where I have reached professionally in my life. But during this process I had compromised on my health. It makes me feel guilty to even confess that to myself. I don’t remember any last meal I had without feeling guilty about eating and knowing that this would make my weight increase even further. I am 98kgs now. My body frame is much broader than I was at the age of 15. I still do not have many friends and still do not get hit by cute guys in pubs but yes perverts at times who thinks I am vulnerable. I am still a hopeless romantic in dating and my parents after trying their best have given up on my arrange marriage setup because I am obese and an embarrassment at the same time.
Sympathizers keep giving me advice that I can still manage my health and job at the same time just by introducing few changes in my lifestyle. I wish it was as simpler as they make it sound. This journey has been a constant struggle. Every morning I make up mind that I will go to the gym in the evening as soon as I get free from work. But that day hasn’t come yet. By the time I reach home I am exhausted mentally. Every promise I made to myself in the morning are broken by the evening. Every night I sleep with this guilt of not being enough even to myself. There are days when I feel I should quit my job and work on getting in shape. But then getting in shape requires me to go to gym and follow a clean lifestyle with loads of juices, veggies and organic food. These food and training in a gym comes with a price tag. Who will finance me when I am not doing anything professionally and just taking care of my body? Practically how can I balance a full-time job and workout without having being on no-energy mode? Every time I have checked my TSH level it shows same number approximately. 100 mg of tablet everyday is making me shallow from inside. I still feel drowsy each day and night. Each day I have to push myself to wake up from bed and drag myself to work. I have to force myself to use my brain and remind myself that how much I need this job if I have to keep earning for my living. I am an independent, single and intelligent person but hypothyroidism, your slow poison is killing me before my time.