Grief and metabolism

January 28, 2009

I’ve been feeling down for a while now, which hasn’t surprised me at all, but I’ve also been, well, gaining weight (no fun post-baby) and dealing with more headaches and dry skin than usual. None of this really seems especially odd – I know I’m an “emotional eater,” and I’ve certainly been emotional lately. I also haven’t been putting a lot of time or energy into taking care of myself, and being tired a lot of the time just seems part and parcel with grief.

A couple months ago my doctor doubled my thyroid meds, and after a while I felt no difference but didn’t say anything because I wasn’t expecting to feel much of a difference.  I don’t know how I should feel right now.  My control groups are off.  The symptoms for hypothyroidism tend to be things like tiredness, memory loss, depression, dry skin, which sound familiar.  They sound, in fact, like symptoms of grief.  How does a completely healthy person feel when grieving opposed to someone with hypothyroidism, after all?

However, after my blood work for THS levels last week, my doctor let me know that my levels are worse than they were before we upped the meds the last time and that my thyroid has “pretty much conked out” (not precise medical terminology, but pretty darn descriptive) which apparently isn’t uncommon in postpartum women.  We’re upping my meds again, and I’m hoping for a noticeable difference, but not sure what the difference would feel like.  Will I be less burdened by Teddy’s death if I’m healthy, or feel more up to carrying the burden?  Or will the lab numbers just show that I’m back in something called a “normal range” with no noticeable difference at all?

I’m partly relieved at the idea that taking a pill could make me feel better, that there could be a bit (even a tiny bit) of a reprieve even while another part of me doesn’t want to give up feeling tired and beaten.  It’s just fear, I think, that I’ll loosen my grip on what I have left of Teddy.  It’s a fear I need to give up, and a grip I need to give up.  I can’t love him more by suffering more, even though it sometimes feels that way.  So I’ll take any medical relief I can get.  Besides, we really would like a chance at this parenting a living child thing, and we can’t attempt that until my metabolism is regulated – hypothyroidism during pregnancy is no joke, and should I get pregnant again, I’ll be on tenterhooks about doing everything right anyway.  So not only will I take any medical help with this that I can get, I’ll tell the self-martyring bit of me to shut up for now.

A bit more courage, a bit more energy would be nice.  I’m just not sure any sort of drug can provide that.


  1. Yes, suffering more does not equate loving.

    I am feeling better now with the exercise regime. Even Triple S noted my seeming increase in energy.

    Carrying a burden of grief is hard work, but doesn’t do a body good. It certainly doesn’t show in increased muscle strength.

    The increased energy is helping, making me think my body can handle another pregnancy again soon…

    take care

  2. So familiar Erica. I feel like my body has taken such a battering hormone wise. Oh how I loved those happy pregnancy hormones. I’m a raving bitch these day. Off to my GP today for some more blood work. It all came back “normal” a few months ago, but I’m skeptical on that. I’m not supposed to be trying for another baby five months out, but like you, I just gotta do that parenting of a living child thing, and I just don’t want to wait any longer than I have to. Our new lives are no fun hey?

  3. Please have your adrenals check. Many times thyroid meds won’t work when the adrenals are low. My doc said people will suffer from low adrenals after a death. Many times they are put on anti depressants when all they need is natural cortef for a while to give their grief stricken adrenals a chance to rest for a few months. I also take Armour which is a natural t4 t3 thyroid med and I took it the whole time I was on Cortef and it was great for me. I am off the cortef now and still a little tired but much much better. Doc said that older people when they lose a spouse don’t really die from a broken heart but from dead adrenals which are never treated. Don’t know how old you are but some natural progesterone cream would help too. Grief is one thing and of course it takes time to get over but dry skin and the other things are not from grief but low thyroid. Godd luck and I hope ur doc is into bio identical hormones (and doesn’t blow u off about it) because that would be all I would use. Suzzane Somers will be talking about it on Ophra Thursday at 4 EST.

  4. Grief and stress so deeply impact my body, too, I think all our bodies. I don’t know if you can handle needles at all, but if you can even think about the idea, I highly recommend regular acupuncture to support your thyroid, and also to replenish your blood, liver and kidneys postpartum – all of which have to work extra hard when we’re grieving… I can tell you more about it offline if you want. 🙂

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