Anxiety and thyroid problems, don't know if its my mental health or my thyroid (ust started thyrox)

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Hi, I've had the misfortune of being both overactive and now underactive with my thyroid, and I'm desperately searching for a way to feel normal enough to get back to living my life again.

*I've highlighted the important/medical parts if you don't have time for the waffle!

This all started back at the beginning of June with a random episode of feeling dizzy and like I was going to faint that came out of nowhere whilst on a careers trip at uni. After suddenly feeling dizzy and unwell whilst having a casual conversation with someone I felt intense panic and my heart was POUNDING, thankfully I haven't felt it as bad since but because I didn't actually collapse the staff put it down to a panic attack and 2 hours later my heart rate and everything went back to normal.

The following day I went to the doc and had some bloods done. I went on a trip prior to finding out the blood results and several times felt dizzy, couldn't sleep etc, and I had convinced myself that my anxiety had somehow come back to plague me, despite the fact I was overall the happiest I had been in years. 

The blood tests came back and the doc told me my thyroid was slightly overactive, which was probably causing my increased anxiety, and also that my iron levels were low but I wasn't anemic or deficient, just at risk so she advised I take supplements. 

My anxiety and panic got worse and I came home from uni a few days early, luckily I had finished everything as a final year student and so I moved back to my hometown suddenly, with an episode of having a panic attack on the train and almost fainting trying to navigate a change at the station. I had to have my bloods redone at my own GP and they still don't have the results from my uni town, including those done the year prior when I was healthy. 

So the new (June) bloods came out the same, that my T4 was slightly over (around 25), so I had an antibody test which came out as 267 - indicative of autoimmune thyroid problems (Endo diagnosed it as hashimoto's). At this point I was referred to the endo and in the meantime I was having severe panic attacks, called the ambulance twice, had an ECG due to complaining about chest pain, and all in all I had a horrible time. In this period I barely left the house as I was constantly dizzy, feeling like I was going to faint, and anxious.

A week before my graduation (Mid July) I had been looking on these forums for the overactive thyroid and began to calm myself down reading people's stories. I became much calmer but was having bouts of breathlessness, which at first I thought was asthma (despite never having had asthma prior), I tried an inhaler once and it put me into a severe panic attack with heart palpitations and chest pain, and it didn't really help the breathing, so that ruled out asthma. I went to the grad and had a nice time although I had several breathless episodes, but otherwise my dizziness had subsided and I walked around all day and was overall ok.

I had a blood test done two days before my graduation, and it came back that my T4 levels had dropped to the lower end of the normal range, and the gp told me he hoped they would even out.

I was over the moon with this news, my anxiety was manageable and I was dreaming of traveling and getting out the house again. For about 3 weeks I felt pretty good (although still had spells of breathlessness) and was able to go shopping and do what I wanted to do, so I stopped having panic attacks because I felt normal again. I did have a 24hr ECG in this time and that came back as normal, although they could see I had increased anxiety for a while after it was fitted (my chest felt tender before it was fitted) and I had a few missed beats, but apparently that's nothing to worry about.

This lasted until I had to have a blood test prior to seeing the endo (Aug). I walked 20 mins to the local blood clinic feeling fine and happy and normal. I walked out and felt dizzy and like I was going to faint. I couldn't walk home and had to get a taxi and had a panic attack. The following day I felt overly anxious and had a severe panic attack after taking ibuprofen and having a weird experience where it felt like I was losing consciousness. I progressively felt worse throughout the week and was sleeping more and more, I didn't bother leaving my room until the hospital app with the endo.

My bloods came back as TSH 6.79 and T4 10.6. The endo said that was enough to put me on meds, so she prescribed levothryoxine 25mg. She was very concerned about my anxiety levels and that I couldn't sit still, especially as when hypo its more common to feel depressed. She advised I see a therapist.

I had a gp appointment at the end of the week (Last Friday, 24th Aug) and I knew I would get anxious about taking the tablets, so I waited 4 days to take them, in which time I was feeling worse each day in terms of energy levels and I was also feeling more and more hopeless, like I'd given up. I took the tablet the morning of my GP appointment and was experiencing a panic attack by the time I got to the doctors - which he knew was a panic attack. I went home and slept it off, and for the first 5 days on the thyroxine I felt slightly better each day, despite the doc saying it would take 7-10 days to kick in, so I don't know if this was just me calming my anxiety.

On the 5th day I felt like I had too much energy, like I was dying to run a marathon or something. Then that night I had a breathless episode despite just lying in bed, I checked my health stats on my phone randomly as I thought this would help put my mind at ease, yet I was shocked to see that my heart rate had gone down to 57bpm (I realise this is still in an ok range, but normal for me is around 80bpm, I've never before seen it lower than 70bpm) so this worried me and made me anxious but I went to sleep anyway. The next day (Wednesday) I was relatively calm in the morning yet a series of heart flutters/palpitations went on for longer than usual and I got so badly anxious that I was wailing and honestly thought I was going to die of a heart attack. No one could calm me down and I stayed in this state for 2 hours until eventually it subsided. I became very scared that my dose was too high, despite the doc saying he would expect me to be on 50-75mg long term, so I didn't take the tablet yesterday. I regretted not taking it and felt worse for it in terms of sluggishness, although I kept calm all day and had no panic attacks. I took the tablet again this morning and was mostly ok, although between 7pm-9pm I had a feeling of nervousness that I knew was coming from nowhere - there was no other symptoms (Other than back ache which I have all the time, even now, but I'm putting that down to the fact I spend most of my days sat in bed and not exercising?) I just felt anxious about nothing and it was  case of waiting for it to go away as opposed to any coping strategies working.

Which brings me to, I'm desperate to be able to go out and enjoy life again without constantly having panic attacks or feeling like my heart is gonna give in etc. For ages I had the hope of medication but currently I feel like it is doing too much of a 'good' thing - When I had had it for 6 days straight I felt like I was overactive again. I would do anything not to feel that way - being overactive scares me a hell of a lot more than being underactive. 

If I keep on taking the thyroxine, will this all even out in a few more days? I realise I haven't given it the best chance to work yet. But also, would trying to seek therapy help regardless of whether it is my thought process, or the thyroid issues that are causing this extreme anxiety? I feel so lost. I guess I should have stated this earlier but I'm a 21 year old female and I've just finished uni and was excited to start a career. For the past 4 months I've been able to do very little and been mostly homebound, which is so unlike me and is making me so sad. Is there anything else I can do or ask for to get a grip on all of this?

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  • Posted

    Hi, 

    I wasn’t able to read through everything but I thought if would respond anyways smile I have severe anxiety when my thyroid is overactive, specifically when my synthroid dose is too high. I was prescribed 125 mcg at first and was having severe panic attacks and anxiety everyday. I felt like I was losing my mind. My endocrinologist wanted me to skip a dose a month to “even it out” this had absolutely no effect on me. This did not get better until my pcp prescribed me 112 mcg and then after about 4 weeks I started on 100mcg. This helped a lot but there was still some mild health issues do to so many changes with my hormones a long that thyroid rollercoaster. So I started on 10 mg of Lexapro. The combination of the lower synthroid dose, and the low dose of Lexapro has proven to work perfectly to relieve all of my symptoms. This time last summer I was having panic attacks and couldn’t leave the house, to now being completely functioning with little to no anxiety. I get a small amount around my period still. I hope this helps you in any way! 

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    • Posted

      Hello!

      I've read about others being in a similar way when on a high dose! At the moment because I'm on such a low dose I really can't tell if its my own anxiety about the fact I suddenly have energy again, or if its due to any of the thyroid stuff. I've had anxiety throughout, even when my levels plateaued and were 'normal' for a bit, but at that point it was much easier to cope with and I was able to go out the house etc. 

      I can imagine some kind of anxiety med may help but my anxiety is centered around health and I have quite the fear of taking tablets at the moment! (Having to be on thyroxine is the ironic part!) So I think taking anxiety meds would make me go insane, at least in the short term before they would set in. Would much rather get a handle on it naturally or with therapy, just so it is one less pill for me to worry about smile I'm so happy it worked for you though, I like hearing about people who got past this, helps give me hope

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  • Posted

    HI sally I really be do sympathise with you I suffered like this for 10 months I have had to nurse myself back to better health as the doctors in the UK have no clue about thyroid disorder . I too have Hashimotos which I discovered after joining a forum called health unlocked , after having a private blood test as uk doctors only test your TSH levels , the people on that forum well able to see what was wrong and what would be best for me . My anxiety and panic attacks were through the roof and going out wasn’t an option for weeks as I only felt safe in the house I had to stop socialising and driving which was so sad for me . Seemingly I had a Hashimoto flare up and it was awful ,they guys on the forum suggested a gluten free diet which I had already started but you need to give it time so your gut can heal and this can take weeks . I also started looking at food for medicine as in liver for iron and Brazil nuts for selenium etc . Hope this helps I could go on and on but do give this forum health unblocked a look at I feel they pointed me in the right direction 💕

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    • Posted

      Hi Clare,

      I came across healthunlocked yesterday! My gp has done antibodies, TSH and T4, and it looks like the endo has requested further thyroid testing for October. 

      I've cut out a lot of gluten for 3 months although not completely due to not wanting to develop an intolerance. The thing is that I have seen that Soy is bad for thyroid health too, and it is present in most of the gluten free food available! Which as others have mentioned, is making me want to steer towards a very natural diet. I've been having the brazil nuts and funnily enough when I was overactive I was eating liver pate, although I decided it probably wasn't the best food to be eating often! 

      I think a big part of the anxiety is me though and getting scared due to everything I read and overreacting to it! It's all quite overwhelming to me but I need to get a hold on this! Thanks for your help smile

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  • Posted

    Hi SallyMichelle, sorry you’re having such a horrible time.  This site crashed and lost what I entered so I’ll be breif.

    Learn all you can about thyroid disease. It is autoimmune. Autoimmune disease us caused by exposure to chemicals, toxicity,  radiation, microbes, malnutrition.

    Thyroid disease causes symptoms in the whole body, so best to treat the whole body- both cause and symptoms.

    Many nutritional deficiencies are associated with  thyroid disease.  In addition to good quality vitamins and mineral supplements, try essential amino acids complex, and phenylalanine. These have given me more relief than any other supplements! I have also found acupuncture incredibly helpful in getting my body back on track.

    A gluten free, paleo style diet or elimination diet can be helpful.  If you’re vegetarian, consider carefully, as protein is suier important for curbing thyroid disease.

    Read through the thousands of thyroid posts. You’ll see what others experience, what works, what doesn’t and what docs don't tell you.

    I would also say be on the lookout for changes in your cycle, as excessive periods can be a symptom of hypothyroidism.

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    • Posted

      PS- the weird toggling between hyper and hypothyroid is typical as thyroid disease adcances. Sort of like an engine revving and stalling, as the poor little thyroid struggles to maintain.
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    • Posted

      Hi Catherine,

      I've spent the best part of 3 months looking up everything to do with thyroid, to the extent that I'm confused about diet and supplements etc! I've probably actually read way too much in terms of my anxiety!

      I recently read that ferritin level often becomes depleted with hashimoto's, and that ferritin often goes back to normal/goes higher once on thyroxine. My Iron results were high when I had those bloods done, (Like 70's when suggested ranges were often below 50) at the time I was on two iron tablets a day (late June). I dropped this down to one due to always feeling nauseous and the doc was happy with this as I'm not technically iron deficient, just at risk. I do have very heavy periods, but I always have, although I do think it's gradually become worse within the last 6 months, even prior to any thyroid diagnosis.With reading the stuff about iron and thyroxine helping increase levels, I'm now unsure whether to continue taking the iron supplement?

      I've been mostly gluten free for these 3 months, as in no gluten bread, cakes etc. I do still have the odd things like fish and chips though, my half sister is currently on a strict no dairy, gluten, soya etc diet and my other relatives are worried that if I completely cut out gluten, I may form an intolerance to it. I never had any problems with gluten and still don't appear to experience any symptoms as such from it, although I am prepared to go completely gluten free if necessary! I'm not vegetarian and since coming home I eat meat or fish every day. I am steering more towards a paleo style diet though to see if it helps!

      The only thing I noticed in terms of allergy was in the lead up before I was found to be overactive, I suddenly became sensitive to coffee - Feeling anxious and nauseated after one drink. I was never a big drinker of coffee anyway though so I haven't had large amounts of caffeine for around 4 months.

      Thanks for your help smile

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    • Posted

      Hi SallyMichelle,  you’ll want to read the list of side effects of your medication, as anxiety is a known dide effects.

      You’ll also want to read the many posts here on levothyroxin. Thyroid medications tend to cause anxiety. Now that you’ve started thyroid meds, its difficult to know whuch symptoms are caused by low thyroid and which are caused by the medications. 

      This is pretty typicsl stuff for thyroid patients, many who are placed on Xanax shortly after starting thyroid medications.

      A lot of people have mentioned this progression in posts as a sort of unrelated incidental issue. But really, I feel the snxiety caused by the meds is worse than the disease. You’ll have to decide for yourself.

      Also, if you increase the thyroxin dose to quickly, it will cause severe anxiety. I found the thyroid medications in general to be extremely hard on my system.

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