Everybody knows what it feels like when you’re the new girl at school. My classmates and I were heading to the music class and I saw a girl with a spot on her skirt. I went up to her and informed her about it. She said thank you. Apparently, she was the only one in the class whose menstrual cycle had started. She really appreciated the help. I felt nice.
I went home with a positive thought of making someone happy. I ate, saw television and slept. BOOM. Next morning, my menstrual cycle had begun too. It could have been a coincidence but I felt awful and my 13-year-old self wanted to blame that girl.
That was my day and for the next seven and a half months aka 228 days, it didn’t stop sucking.
I had a heavy period for the next 228 days. I hated it. All of it.
The way I smelled, the way I had to go to school wearing not one but two pads, the way I was becoming more and more annoyed and careless. I was in so much pain and I used to be so irritated all the time that I stopped caring about the bedsheets I covered in red dots in front of my father. And don’t get me started on the rules like ‘not entering the kitchen’, ‘sleeping on a separate bed’ and so on. “I ain’t doing that,” I told my grandma. I was starting to hate my own blood, how ironic is that? I wasn’t being myself, I became hard to deal with, I became a moody person, a bad sister, a stubborn daughter.
We waited, my family and I waited for a really long time for my periods to settle but my hormones didn’t seem to care. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. We finally took the harsh step and asked a doctor to give me the pills. It stopped the bleeding completely for at least five months but worsened the hormones. I was given a specific daily dose of the medicine for hypothyroidism. By that time, I had lost myself, I had lost my body. It was weak and I was overweight. Anything and everything I ate, my body converted it into fat. It continued for years. It got better with exercise but I’m not a fan of going to the gym so I chose Tai Chi classes and a few yoga poses.
What were people around me doing with my ‘lack of confidence’? Well, they were living their lives and being a little bit ignorant. And don’t take me wrong, it’s not a rant, it’s normal for humans to not realise what a person sitting next to them is going through and I became good at pretending it was nothing with time. I’ve been called names but I cried often and allowed the words to let go. I was never called for shoots or pictures. Result? I’m now a camera shy person.
I pretended to be absolutely fine but on the inside I was insecure. Whenever I was in school, people preferred my company for homework and paintings as I was a painter and academically skilled. And no, I didn’t get asked out on dates. When I went to my grandma’s house, my uncle would get me jeans from his latest collection and then say, “this wouldn’t fit you”.
My confidence took a dip and I couldn’t fix the way I felt and no one else could see it. Not the parents I slept next to, not the friends I hung out with, not the teachers I looked up to but trust me, that’s considered normal. Whenever I lost weight I would get endless stretch marks, whenever I gained I would have a double chin. Helplessness gave way to me not trusting the people who were supposed to find a solution, my doctors.
See, the thing with thyroid is that you have to live with it but that does not mean you can’t thrive with it. And it CAN be reduced to an abysmal level. It just needs all things good, good food, good exercise, good lifestyle, good thoughts. With Hypothyroidism, you can’t pick and choose. It can’t be JUST diet or JUST exercise, but an overall healthy lifestyle.
As life would have it, I got away location wise and mentally, but the turmoils again brought me back and affected my mental health. That, in turn, brought me to a point where I was careless again with my condition. It was more what people thought about me that affected my mental health and which in turn stopped me from working on improving my condition.
It took me two years to get my head in place. Over these years, I tried to shed some pounds and I failed over and over and at times I succeeded but it was never permanent. I am still working on it, my health that is. But there is one thing that’s permanent, is that I have improved my relationship with myself, so now caring for my health becomes much easier.
So all my gorgeous girls, here’s what I have to say to you after 12 years of my unsettling battle with hypothyroidism - you are special. Everybody says it but I mean it. You really think your friend or that guy who left you alone on the needy days had the capability to understand this complexity you, my braveheart girl was dealing with? Every time you cried, you learned.
Here are a few things I've learnt while dealing with hypothyroid that might help you.
1. You don’t HAVE to make changes in your life until you are completely (physically and mentally) ready for them.
2. Take your medicine until you are ready for a lifestyle change. Never stop loving yourself and if your friends didn’t tell you this, I’m telling you.
3. Understand the difference between being overweight and being unhealthy.
4. The cells in your body need your love more than any guy in this world. Your brain needs to hear that. That’s how you’ll make a positive life, it’s between you, your brain and the universe.
So I am a 25-year-old girl, I do not have hypothyroidism anymore which means I lose weight when I maintain a healthy lifestyle (like a normal person), I practice Tai Chi, I eat healthy and I keep myself hydrated (to remain healthy, our body needs water every hour).
I eat all nutrients, I live alone, I run and rush when light goes off or water stops coming in the house, I feel strong, I adore sunlight, I feel pretty and most importantly, I smile and you should too! That’s freedom, my love.
The thoughts in the story are my own and mentioned above are the methods that worked for me but I understand that each body is different and may react differently. I do not guarantee for the methods to work the same way for every type of body and the stage of hypothyroid but I do believe that a positive mindset is the starting point to wellness.
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