Dratted Thyroid! The Culprit Behind My #Writer’s Block

Today I’ve decided to break a rule and blog about my health, not to gain sympathy, as my malady is only minor in the scheme of things, but to share something that might prove relevant to other people suffering from inexplicable writer’s block.

For the last decade, my thyroid has shown up as borderline underactive in routine blood tests. This means everything I’ve achieved on the creative front, including publishing two novels and writing two more, has proved a mega-exhausting business. However, during that time I’ve rarely suffered writer’s block for longer than a few days.

On December 2, 2018 things started to take a notable downward slide, or was it a plunge? My brain felt as if it was disappearing down a sink plughole. On one level I kept up pretence of having energy and enthusiasm, but on the other I was heading for a very dark place. It was like being two different people: inwardly half-dead but outwardly engaged and wearing a brave smile not to let other people down, especially Mister, after his severe medical crisis throughout October and November.

I’m glad to say Mister is now bounding with energy, thanks to modern medicine and the correct drug regime. In our garden, he has chopped down two dead trees – an apple and a lilac – and dug all the beds (his stepson’s job being to saw up branches and mine to bag them up). At the allotment, Mister has dug the whole plot and (with stepson’s assistance) has erected a fabulous greenhouse acquired from Freecycle. Plus he has restored some antique oak furniture in his workshop and built a bespoke cabinet for someone’s kitchen, which he installed yesterday. Not to mention his carrying on with his musical commitments. See what I mean about exhausting 😉   

Mister, garden gladiator, wields his chainsaw!

Regarding my thyroid dysfunction, not everybody displays all the symptoms, which makes diagnosis nigh on impossible without a blood test, or two, or three, or many more.

This is my list of symptoms…

  • Exhausted all day, despite 7-8 hours of interrupted sleep at night
  • Loss of appetite (full up after a few mouthfuls)
  • Falling asleep at the dinner table
  • Weight loss (BMI 17.0 at last count)
  • Depression/extreme negativity/anxiety
  • Slow, irregular heartbeat (except during anxiety attacks!)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Digestive issues
  • Brain fog
  • Extreme sensitivity to cold
  • The death of all creativity

Spot the odd one out that doesn’t fit the usual hypothyroid picture… WEIGHT LOSS? Hence, my latest blood test a week ago checked for cortisone levels as well as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, in case my adrenal gland was sending my thyroid gland haywire. Not so, but my thyroid was now sufficiently underactive to require treatment. Might I add, that if I’d lived in the US or Canada, rather than the UK, I believe I’d have received medication a lot earlier, although I’m not sure it would have been free! Perhaps one of my fellow bloggers from over the Pond would elucidate me further on both points.

People who know me well, are aware of my reluctance to take pills. I prefer to solve things with diet and lifestyle changes, but there are limits to how rotten you can feel before you bend to the call of conventional medicine.

For the last few days, each morning I’ve taken taking the minimum dose of thyroxine (25 mcg). The doctor will review this in about 5 weeks, after I’ve had a further blood test. If my levels are up to a healthy level, I’ll continue on 25 mcg. If they are still too low, then the doctor will have to try me on 50 mcg. Whatever dose I end up on, I will need to take thyroxine for the rest of my life (let’s hope for my sake and Mister’s, there isn’t a shortage of medication if there’s a hard Brexit, as the scaremongers are forecasting).

I am not out of the wood yet, but there’s a slight improvement. Firstly, I’m getting my appetite back, which should help me gain some weight. Secondly, I’m much warmer than usual. Thirdly, I took myself out for a brisk quarter-of-an hour walk following my usual half-hour plod with the dog. Not sure about the creativity but at least I’ve motivated myself to write a blog post, my first in over two months, which is a good start.

The anxiety is still there, but with good reason. In just under a fortnight, my beautiful 11-year-old chocolate Labrador bitch has to have some lumps and bumps removed, one of which is an aggressive malignant mast cell tumour. The good news is that she’s otherwise in excellent health and blissfully unaware of the planned operation, which means she can enjoy the next few days and leave all the worrying to her family. The brilliant vet, who’ll carry out the surgery, specialises in treating mast cell tumours and I have every faith in him to do the best for her.

Madam’s favourite armchair

So there we are; that’s life in the Potter household at the moment — some good, some bad, but always full of love and hope.

Author: Sarah Potter Writes

Sarah is a British eccentric who writes offbeat fiction, haiku and tanka poetry. She's into nature, gardening, and natural health. Her sociability is something that happens in short bursts with long breathing spaces in between.

19 thoughts on “Dratted Thyroid! The Culprit Behind My #Writer’s Block”

  1. Sarah, so sorry about your thyroid troubles, and glad they seem to be resolving. I have taken 125 mcg thyroxine for about 40 years, but the object was to render my thyroid inactive. I had radium treatment in my sinuses when I was 12, only to learn years later that that had increased my likelihood of contracting thyroid cancer. Apparently that worked. Hasn’t affected my writing, though. Still in the midst of a dry spell. Wrote a few short articles, but no progress on a new Elsewhen story. Mil is keeping busy with audiobook work, getting repeat business!
    Warm regards,
    Gary Bullock

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gary, how lovely to hear from you. That’s sounds nasty, all that stuff with your sinuses at such a young age. I’m glad the treatment worked.

      I’m feeling very guilty, not having contacted you or Mil for ages. I guess I had nothing new to report on the writing front and seem at a loss to sell copies of my audiobook. All I can say is that people don’t know what they’re missing with Mil’s wonderful rendering of the story. I’ll have another promotion onslaught soon, but would like to get a professional cover done first. I’m intending to publish an adult novel with dystopian themes, hopefully, some time this year. One of my blogging friends is an artist, so perhaps I can commission her to do two covers. I’ve also written another adult novel — a futuristic satire — and am working ever so slowly on a detailed edit. I think maybe I’ll try going through the submission process with this one, as I would like an editor to check it through on the political correctness front!

      All best wishes to you and Mil,
      Sarah

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  2. Well I, for one, am glad that you managed to write this post and bring us up to speed. I understand not wanting to talk about one’s health issues but remember, we are like a little family, here for you. Glad to hear your appetite has returned somewhat and your mood is lighter. I understand your desire to take the least amount of medicine possible (I have trouble remembering calcium and vitamin D)

    Yay for Mister and his enthusiasm!

    I hope things turn fully around for you so we can have our old Sarah back! And good luck to your Madam….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dale. I would like my old Sarah back, too. Seem to have lost my mojo just now. Since writing this latest post, my car has self-destructed, too, so now I have no wheels either. Funny you should mention calcium and vitamin D — apparently, I’m not meant to consume dairy (my main source of calcium), ideally, for 4 hours after taking my thyroxine or it doesn’t work as well– well, that’s according to a thread on the Thyroid UK site. Yesterday, I tried having my medication when I first got up and not having any dairy until lunch time (apart from in a cup of tea). As a consequence, I felt terrible all day. Today, I had my breakfast two hours after my meds and had some goat’s milk porridge. Felt much better, so I think that being too pedantic doesn’t wash.
      PS I am so stressed about Madam that probably it’s not the right time to assess whether my medication is working. When she was sunbathing out in the garden this morning (yes, it’s like spring today) and I saw her beautiful glossy coat, I felt so sad to think that she’ll look like a sad patchwork quilt in a week’s time, after all her surgery D:

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We all want the old Sarah back. Healthy and happy and creative. Damned cars – they have no business causing extra stress in our lives.
        It must be so bloody hard to figure out doses and pairings and timings. Not everything goes well together, obviously. Jeez..
        I can well imagine how stressed you are about Madam! That patchwork look will mean a longer life, hopefully. And that beautiful coat will grow back and there is nothing really you can do about that so I know you know it is needless to put aside your health in worry for hers (easier said than done, granted.)
        I send you loads of good wishes, love and strength for you all. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You made me and my son smile with what you said about “That patchwork look will mean a longer life, hopefully” — we liked your positive take on things.
        Update on the thyroxine — 12 days in, I was having such awful side effects (akin to someone that was hyper rather than hypo) that my doctor told me to stop taking it. He wants to do another blood test in 5 weeks.
        Thank you for your lovely strengthening words of encouragement. Much appreciated xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I am very glad I made you both smile!
        And…. aww hell… 😦
        I so hope they find a good “cocktail” that works for you! Much love and more strength sent your way xoxo

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  3. Well, my friend, you’ve had a lot to deal with lately, for sure. I’m happy to hear you are feeling a bit better. You were missed. I’m crossing my fingers that your improvement continues. Stay in touch, just a word or two, so those of us who respect you know how you are doing.

    Now I must go deal with the snow storm of the decade. My birds need water and re-assurance that this too shall pass.

    Hugs

    bill

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, dear Bill. I’ve missed you, too. I’ve been reading and enjoying your posts by email on my mobile, but life hasn’t allowed me time to to comment on them as yet. Hope to do so soon

      Poor you, with snow storms. I hope some of our lovely spring-like weather of today on the UK’s sunshine coast, will reach across the Pond soon, so you and the birds are happy.

      Hugs to you,

      Sarah x

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  4. Dearest Sarah, I ‘liked’ your post because it is so good to see you back on blog, but not for your news (although Mister’s burst of energy is good news indeed, although I felt quite exhausted just reading about it!). But…I am so sorry to read of all your health travails. Although very relieved to hear that at last you know the cause of them. As you know, we are well versed with thyroid issues in our family, poor V having been diagnosed with Grave’s Disease (an autoimmune caused overractive thyroid) at 18 and then recently with hypothryoid, it having burnt itself out as the the consultant explained it would. V has gone from 50 to 75 to 100 mcg in the last 9 months and recent tests show it seems to have stablised at last and like you, will be on meds for life. It can take a while for the meds to take effect and weeks needed in between for the levels to give their proper result, so it might be you will need a few months to make sure your dosage is adjusted to what works for you. I hope you are noticing a marked difference already, it is shocking the way the thyroid affects so many aspects of general health. May your creative spark butst forth very soon, along with your energy and renewed verve and vigour, my dear friend. Yet…I know you are also very concerned for your dear darling sweet baby. Thank goodness she is in such good vet hands, and sending all good thoughts for the best possible outcome. Keep us posted. Meanwhile, I’m sending you lots of love, hugs and kisses and will be in touch… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dearest Sherri, poor V having such a terrible time (far worse than mine) with that dratted thyroid. Such a tiny gland with the propensity for such violent effects both mentally and physically. As I’ve commented to Dale, I’ve had to come off the thyroxine as it was causing the most awful side effects after 12 days. It was like I was going hyper, and you know from V with her Grave’s Disease what the symptoms of that are. Quite scary really, when I was already in such a panic state about my sweet, adorable and trusting dog. Thought I was going to have a heart attack! I will keep you posted. Lots of love, hugs and kisses xxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dearest Sarah, it’s shocking how much trouble that tiny gland can cause when it’s knocked off kilter. I had thryoiditis once, hyper to hypo and normal in a space of about 6 weeks all by itself, monitored by an endocrinologist. So I’m always sure to get mine tested once a year or more if I feel symptoms coming on (palpitations the main one for me). I put mine down to sheer stress, they never did find a cause, just happened. But nothing like you have had and also poor V. I will have to read your comment to Dale after this, as I’m replying via my notification bar, but I’m so sorry about your awful side effects to the thyroxine. How utterly frightening, and already so stressed about your darling ‘puppy’. Do keep me posted, I don’t want to bombard you with messages with all you have on your plate, but you know where you can reach me anytime and if you need to chat too…I will still check in privately though here and there. I’m here… with lots of love, hugs and kisses always…Sherri xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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