Poleaxed by my thyroid.
I’ve had an under-active thyroid for about 10 years now and mostly, I don’t notice it. I takes me meds and goes about me days.
So much so that I’d forgotten how it feels when the drugs don’t work. Or, more accurately, when the levels need adjusting. Just a tiny 25mg boost, the smallest of tablets, easily lost under the microwave or in the toaster as it pings out of its casing when the wrong amount of force is sleepily applied while the cats wind around my ankles, wanting to know why breakfast is taking So Long.
When the levels are too low, I achieve a state somewhere the other side of tiredness. I jokily call this my dormouse condition after Alice's sleepy Wonderland dormouse but he's positively the life and soul of the tea party in comparison
A lethargy wraps itself round me like seaweed. Every moment requires an extra effort as though I’m wading through water, chest high against a tide. Steps are slower, movement languid. I’ve been known to sit down abruptly in the middle of a downward dog, or belly flop out of a plank, just resting, resting, until I admit defeat and roll up the mat.
And my brain slows accordingly. A simple “thank you for your email” email (because we do like to clutter our virtual correspondence with false gratitude) seemingly takes forever as I wait for the words to travel their long way down from my brain to my fingertips. And then I delete it because it doesn’t read how I imagined it would. Try again. Coaxing some fabrication of work from me.
This is not any brain fog, this is a brain pea-souper.
And I sleep. Oh, how I sleep. Hours lost in a weighted, dreamless state. In bed, on the sofa. Once, I woke from a shavasana pose on the yoga mat. On another memorable occasion, with my head on the back of my chair and overdue attendance at a Zoom meeting.
There’s no warning to this sleep, no yawning, no eyelids growing deliciously heavy in the heat of a summer afternoon. This sleep clubs me around the head, knocks me out even as I think “gosh, I feel a little ti...”. The sounds of a busy city don’t even begin to penetrate, N could start up a drill in the room next door, marching bands could pass by with beating drums. I blink once, twice, gone for 60 minutes.
Abandoned is my usual practice of "don't just put it down, put it away" (my Canute-like effort to keep the rolling tides of clutter at bay). Bags slump from shoulders, papers flutter to the floor in a breeze and are left there. The very act of opening the dishwasher to put a mug in feels like a Herculean effort, so I don't make it.
And clumsy! Even by my usual klutzy standards. Last Wednesday I dropped my glasses, picked them up only to have them slip out of my fingers, picked them up again and managed to hold onto them until they reached the table, where I put them down and...they promptly fell off - twice - because I misjudged the placing. Fragile items are moved carefully out of my reach and I am banned from ladders.
Luckily, my meds were upped on the Thursday, in time for my birthday weekend. The energy returns overnight and I'm able to cook, put things down without dropping them, walk to the allotment without tripping over my own feet. Make it through a work day without my eyes closing.
You can imagine the relief at being able to function again. Piles of things (okay, mostly my books) have been tidied away, rooms cleaned, washing done and emails whizzed through. I managed a full yoga session. Booked Eurostar, more doctors appointments, a cottage up north, cat sitters and meetings. I cleaned my desk, wrote a schedule, trained some people.
It's been like Mary Poppins without the disturbing chimney sweeps and trippy animation.
Sleep occurs at the proper times and I wake feeling refreshed rather than as if I've been clubbed over the head. To sit up straight rather than wanly slumping is to feel a renewed vigour. I terrify clients with my energy and effectiveness.
I weed, hoe and plant out. Carry full watering cans to the sunflowers, strim back the impudent nettles. And then I sit down, look around me and think "what can I sort out next?"
It's good to be back.