Catrina Wimberly, Thyroid Thrivers
47 years young
Diagnosed in 2006
Two months after the passing of my dad, I became very depressed. I kept it together during the process of my daddy’s preparing himself, for transition. But with my first foot surgery four days prior to his passing and trying to keep my family together, I never focused or even listened to how my body was changing. I remember how, once everything calmed down, I began to have panic attacks, anxiety. I even requested my sister come take all the clothes out my closet, that no longer fit, because I lived in my PJs, now.
I just assumed it was normal, with the passing of my father, that I’d be anxious and depressed. Little did I know…
Then came the isolation (I didn’t want to see anyone). I canceled gatherings or made excuses about why I wasn’t attending. Now, I was chronically depressed, only leaving my house to go to appointments. I started having unbearable panic attacks (my daughter kept a small brown paper bag close by, so I could control my breathing).
My relationship with my husband was nonexistent, (I eventually moved out for three years). Our marriage was in trouble before the hypothyroidism illness but really suffered after the disease had progressed and advanced, from not being treated.
Finally, I got an appointment with a family therapist and an Endo Dr. I was actually getting some answers as to why my body and my mind were betraying me. Unfortunately, after that, came the non-support of family members. I stopped writing poetry, which I used to love doing. Why? Because I could no longer focus, concentrate or put my thoughts into words, much less, write them down. In my culture, they are hesitant and don’t believe in therapy. But, I needed to talk to someone who wasn’t related, or even close to me. I really needed to talk to a mental professional.
My aunt has had hypothyroidism for over 40 years, since I was a little girl. Of course, I never knew what hypothyroidism was or that it is genetically linked like other commonly heard of illnesses (high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc). As I became older, I learned my favorite cousin (SIP sleep in paradise) was a hyperthyroid sufferer. “Wow,” then it began to make sense to me and I was now even more eager to find out everything about this illness I had, called hypothyroidism.
My revelation came, about the time that I verbally attacked my 16-year-old daughter. During that time, she had become my caregiver and handled all my personal affairs including:
- Managing my medications and kept track of what I took
- She noted changes in my health
- Called from school to make sure I was still alive
- Checking before school, to see if I was still breathing
What really opened my eyes, was when my own child refused to give me my anti-depressant and pain medications.
Why? Because I had became addicted and needed pills to get up, pills to come down, pills for pain and pills to function.
That day I looked at my daughter as if she was a mirror. I saw my reflection for the first time through her eyes. And I didn’t recognize myself. I certainly didn’t like what I saw, either. So, I began the slow, but necessary process of making new doctor’s appointments for therapy and rebuilding my faith. While in my darkest days I could no longer pray for my deliverance. (A close girlfriend would call and say you don’t have to say anything, I’ll pray on your behalf, I’ll stand in for you)
I stopped praying, I stopped caring, I stopped loving me.
Eight years later, I have so much more awareness about this hypothyroidism disease, now don’t get it twisted, everything isn’t related to this disease, but my issues definitely are. No day is 100%, I’ve gone through where, I had proper healthcare, to having no health management, which is a scary thing, to relying on supplements, to help keep me functioning.
This disease had and has definitive trigger moments, for me…
- I still get too depressed
- I now have ulcers
- Four biopsies
- Weight issues
- Gastro issues
- Relationship issues
- Overall health-related problems that grow continuously
I’m still learning every day about hypothyroidism and what it means. But, with the support of some amazing thyroid groups and pages, understanding friends/family, concerns from many, it is much more manageable.
I am still me. I have my do or die attitude, that I will not give up or be defeated by hypothyroidism.
I am sharing and spreading awareness, telling my journey and giving unconditional love for my sisters and brothers who are still struggling and searching for answers. Thyroid, Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism answers. This keeps me motivated. I also created two Facebook groups to help offer support at Thyroid SiStars and BruStars Strong as well as, Thyroid Strong and Awareness. Join me!
~I will survive and Thyroid Thrive, Thyroid Nation~
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