Am I a hypochondriac?

I feel very afraid to keep asking the Dr for help. I first started to ask about the possibility of thyroid issues back in 2010.

I am sure that I have caused a lot of the problems myself (not anorexic, but have many many issues with food and my usual self-punishment of choice would be to stop eating.....) and don't doubt that my records show this too. At that time, I saw a General Medicine Consultant and nothing "abnormal was detected - but I have to say that he said that "you won't be anaemic because you eat meat, not like us..." meaning himself and his student. I am a vegetarian, but he never looked into that, or even asked me. One of the later tests showed low Ferritin and he asked my GP to keep an eye on things. They didn't.

After this, they referred me to a Clinical Psychologist, stating in the letter; "DumbBlonde wants physical answers to her problems rather than accepting that she has ongoing mental health issues. (I have yet to see anyone about the "ongoing mental health issues".)

In 2010 - the TFT results were:


TSH - 0.04

T4 - 17.97

T3 - 5.2


TSH - 1.57

T4 - 13.93

T3 - 5.1

By 2012, my cholesterol was on the rise at 6.3 (total) and when I persuaded them to carry out TFTs again (with no T3) they came back:

TSH - 1.59

T4 - 15.1

But this is what was written about me now (on a counselling referral memo):

"She presents recurrently to us with a list of physical symptoms to which she appears to attach undue anxiety. She has an anxious effect and does not always respond well to medical reassurance. She tends to conduct the order of the intervew unless one is really quite assertive."

I didn't see that Dr again (he was reading his own notes off the screen and realised he's slipped up. I later asked for a copy, which they reluctantly gave me) but moved to a different surgery within the group of three, so effectively the same Drs anyway, although I avoid him unless an emergency. Which was a case of frying pan into frying pan.

Since the start of all this, I have gained nearly 30kg, periods have stopped with NO other m/pausal symptoms, my hair is just a disaster and my body temperature on rising is around the 34 deg C mark..

After a supermarket (yes, I know....) health check came back with a cholesterol reading of 7.39, I ran the gauntlet of a Dr visit/request for TFTs again (bearing in mind, the wait for an appointment is usually around 3 weeks and even then, it seems the Dr thinks you have called up to be seen that day), so this time:

TSH - 2.19

T4 - 14.4

The more official cholesterol that was done by the hospital lab (ie, venous rather than finger-prick) -

was 6.7

I think the (yes, very) gradual increase in TSH bothers me - especially tied in with the rise in cholesterol.

It would have been funny were it not so tragic when the pharmacy assistant (easily twice my size, which is 14-ish) wanted to offer me diet an exercise advice....

Speaking of which, apart from my very real issues with food (and mainly, not enough rather than too much), I try to be as active as the weather allows - cycling and/or "running" 5 days out of 7 - but it is a real struggle to find the energy - when if I try to eat to give myself some energy, I worry that the weight gain will just run away with itself. I feel as though I am on a knife-edge - and one ot two days of not "exercsing" and I gain everything back - if I had even lost anything.

I never used to bother about the scales (and I don't go near them now). I trained as an aerobics instructor and was always keen to impress - on myself and anyone who would listen - that the scales don't really matter; how we feel (in out clothes) and body composition are the most important things. But I have zero energy now and am really quite concerned about how out of breath I get.

The last time I saw the Dr (again, someone I had never seen before), HE (important - believe me) did say, rather reluctantly, "Well, I suppose we could check T3" but by then I was feeling a little foolish with my detailed notes, bullet-pointed list (short) of questions and a sort of algorithm for his brushing off my worries - even my textbook "Your thyroid and how to keep it heatlhy" - which he sneered at once he saw that the author left the NHS after a few years.

So I didn't retain that information but the next day went back to hopefully get the blood taken for the T3 test.

The Receptionist didn't believe me so went off to ask him and came back and in front of a waiting room of people, shouted, "No, he's not going to do that test. Make another appointment and come and see another Dr about HRT."

So - before I do that, I wonder if anyone might think that I am wasting my time, after all this....The notes I have read (God knows the content of those I haven't) make me think that I am going to get the brush-off again and I have no idea how to handle it.

This was mainly a rant so I do apologise for such a long story. I suppose this is no wonder the Drs are fed up of me.

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27 Replies

  • It would seem to me your hypothyroid

    HOWEVER if your ferritin and folate are low that will not help the situation and neither will poor eating

    Sometimes the only way people like you get diagnosed is by a clued up Psychiatrist

    You could of course self medicate with an NDT and see what happens

  • Thank you for your answer. It's not nice to think that I have to be regarded in such a way and Icannot see me getting to see a Psychiatrist on the NHS (the physchological issues that I have are around family and are lifelong - the reason they think I am super-anxious and depressed is because I have almost lost the ability to string a coherent sentence together and am so tired (and really TIRED) of banging my head on a brick wall while my life circles the drain).

    Not sure about self-medicating - do people do this? (I would give it a go though).

    What is NDT please?

    (Need a glossary.)

  • At the top right of this very page, as I view it right now, I can see a link:

    Abbreviations and Acronyms

    (Different platforms provide differing viewing experiences. You might not see it there.)

    It is very helpful if people try to avoid abbreviations and acronyms - or at least write them out for their first use in a thread).


  • Thank you :o)

    I was married to a welder and to me, NDT is Non-Destructive Testing, can't get that out of my head.....

  • Hmm - sounds about right!

    Jane (one of the growing number of happy guinea pigs) :D

  • Yes My husband also thought it was non destructive testing. I have been on it for nearly 3 weeks and am finding it a most constructive investment!! XX

  • I think that I am struggling to get my mind around "simply" (I know that it isn't) taking something that would (haha) be prescribed by a Dr and - hopefully - monitored.

    I want to try this - but am afraid of doing it alone or making things worse (if that were possible) that they already are :o(


  • NDT is Natural dessicated Thyroid either pigs or cows

    theres several safe sites you can get it from ..............but do not post them on forum ...........we only use the PM system

    and yes most of this forum and those of feel they have no option but to treat their own health

  • Do you have any other blood test results? Full blood count for example? If you had low ferritin in the past and nothing was done about it, it could still be low. This won't help your thyroid function. And since you're a vegetarian I have to mention B12 deficiency, the symptoms are very similar to hypo:

  • In September, had FBC (lots of different things - platelet, RBC, Haemoglobin (this was 129g/L) and lots of others - but no ferritin*. The "mean cell Hb" was 27.0pg (ref. 27.0 - 33.5) but I don't know how this differs from the other Hb test.....

    I also at that time has serum lipids/cholesterol, which even then was (total) 6.4, also GFR which showed chronic kidney disease level 2/reduced kidney function.

    Also Liver Function tests and glucose.

    By the way, no-one told me any of this until I asked for a copy of the tests last week.

    *When I had the low ferritin, it was 20 in a ref. range of 20-270 (when I talked toa pharmacist about this the other day, he said that was a big range. I agree - but hadn't considered that until he said,

  • Well done for getting your tests (first hurdle!)

    Low iron can make you anaemic - GPs usually say sort by diet & sometimes prescribe iron pills, fine (ferritin is storage iron). However B12 is a different kettle of fish, alters blood cells, causes nerve damage, dementia and all sorts and may lead to pernicious (deadly) anaemia (PA) - ask for B12 & folate test - Active test better

    more links here - see Hampster1s links (and some vitamins to check - especially Vit D)

    I too had moments where all I could control was what I ate or didn't eat (or forgot, couldn't be bothered or just fed kids instead- lost 4 stone in as many months - and VERY unhappy!) not eating sends crazy signals to your body which takes forever to recover, in preparation for the next famine! (IMHO) J x

  • My problem wrt food has built up over time and has many different reasons.....

    from having a very poor diet in childhood (brought up by grandarents who hung onto the wartime rationing mentality), even subconsciously thinking that I should not have existed/don't deserve to eat (see why I need a Psych....?) to, in more recent times, working for a major (processed - think red and white cans) food manufacturer in the R&D team but based at a manufacturing site. Not that I ever did eat mushy peas but the sight (and smell?) of the tank being emptied to take to the pig farm would put the most ardent fish chips and peas lover off for life!

    In between, add in my strange schedule - meaning times to eat were abnormal (so I just didn't, after eating late led to stomach issues and of course, weight gain) - becoming an ardent vegetarian for too many reasons to count and the desire to be thin (which = acceptable to the important men in my lfe....) - and I fully accept that I have mainly caused my own problems.

    At worst/?best - I was a US size zero. I say this because I was actually there when this happened and before size zero even existed over here- so probably a 4. I looked dreadful (5'7") and I knew it. But even so, at that time - I was there on holiday with my "family" - my stepmother called me a pig for going to MacDonalds with my half-brother (he wanted to....) and condemned and shamed me for eating Key Lime pie (we were in Naples Flordia after all....) and yet still told me to my face that I "must be" anorexic - which I knew that I wasn't.... May I just mention, I was a grown woman at that time.

    I don't know if I am trying to turn the clock back or just trying to feel better than I do but I guess that I always knew that my poor eating habts would one day bite me on the backside. Thankfully (or not?), I can still - with the help of make-up - pass as looking half-well, which I suppose is all the Drs go on, no matter what a person says.


  • You poor thing - and why do we all try to look our best going to the docs? crazy!

    -They mention mental health issues - but you've not been offered treatment.

    -You have Kidney problems - again no treatment offered?

    -Low iron - guess what, no treatment offered?

    -Probably Low B12 - you MUST get this tested sweetie (Active test £57 if you can't face the GP at the moment) & Read up on Dr Chandy

    (I started supplementing before I got tested, not very clever, yet felt better!)

    -Vit D bound to be low too - and besides bone/pain symptoms it can help with low mood (my daughters PND was actually this & her daughter deficient too) cholesterol, inflammation & all sorts - there's a recent tabloid article poo-pooing its benefits - so someone has finally noticed that it works! (its only sunshine after all!) If your GP won't test it's £25 here (NHS lab)

    Perhaps its time to take your health into your own hands, go back with some results to the GP & see what they say then - good luck! Jane :D

  • Thank you Jane :o) I rally appreciate your support.

    I think I read read somewere that resentment and paranoia can be symptoms. Hmmm.

    I was always the child who could not skip PE becuase my rosy cheeks wouldn't let me get away with a fake swoon. Even if I was really ill.....

    Not so rosy-cheeked these days but obviously come across as robust because they just will not believe how I bad I feel - and whne the tests are "normal", that just backs up their apparent belief that I am super-human. But my goodness, if I have felt that way (apart from mentally, which of course they blame for everything) until the last few years, I certainly don't now. and all the great skincare in the world and carefully applied make-up isn't going to help me for much longer. I think I am a bit like Michelle Obama and have what they call a "bitch-resting-face" and maybe this puts people off.

    I will look into getting these tests done. It is so hard when at such a low ebb, you have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.


  • Hi, cant offer much advice medically(dont know much!) and I am overactive thyroid so know even less about hypothyroidism. What I can identify with though is the dreading going to the doctors with a new symptom as I am thr same.Before I was diagnosed I had been about palpitations, insomnia, shakiness, bowel problems, sweating, anxiety and no one connected them as being cauded by Graves disease it was all brushed off and I wss put on HRT.So I do understand that it can be difficult and you feel a nuisance. It must have been upsetting to read what the doctor had put and the receptionist should not have announced to the surgery about your treatment. I know some members have private blood tests done but I dont know your circumstances. I hope you soon get some answers.Take

  • Oh, thank you Kim. I sometimes(like now) feel that I AM obsessed with my health.

    The same Dr who brushed me off and wrote the comments about me said, on one occasion, "Something's going to get you in the end" (!)

    I have never been a physically ill person (but am - obviously, it seems, psychologically messed up); I wonder if they think that i am invincible and can never be seen to have any kind of ailment.

    Did you take the HRT? Did it "help" at all (I would think not if you had something else entirely)?

    I am at present also looking at Pregnenolone as it is a mother hormone that helps with all of the others (somehow).

  • Yes I took theHRT and it helped with the hot flushes but not thr other symptoms as they were all symptoms of overactive thyroid but I didn't know that at the time.I suppose you could give it a go but needs a couple of months to show improvement. I think it is only natural for some people to get obsessed with their health when you feel unwell and you cant work out why.

  • Hi

    I have PM you.

  • Well, I just got my blood refused at the donation session. If it takes longer than 15 seconds to fall, this means low iron. So even they told me I should probably see the Dr.

    Hmm - gives me something else to be pooh-poohed for, I suppose.

  • Not sure why you think you won't get to see a psychiatrist on the NHS? I have had psychiatric issues since childhood and have had NHS psychiatric care for 20 years, the fact that your previous doctor refers to psychiatric issues means that you have every right to ask for a psychiatric referral. My psychiatrist has been able to insist on tests that I probably would have been refused otherwise

  • Really - that's so good. I would never think to actually ask for a psych referral and would honestly not have thought it possible..... Do you think it's something that might vary by region?

    I recall the one occasion I said (not so bluntly) that I wanted some psychiatric help or I "wasn't leaving" - with what was quite clearly (in hindsight) a case of severe post-natal depression*; I was (after waiting, hidden away in the nurse's room) taken by an ambulance, together with my baby (for whom I had no fresh nappies) to the Psych Dept of a Hospital some 15 miles away. Nothing really happened as a result - in fact, it was even more stressful as I felt like an escapee when I left by climbing a wall (!)

    I wonder if I dare suggest such to yet another GP.....

    Were the tests your Psych got for you connected with hormonal/endocrine issues? Did they prove something for you (I hope so) and get you treated biochemically also?

    {This was a very long time ago - my daughter is 26 next month :o/)

  • Yes, since being referred to my current psychiatrist I was diagnosed with auto-immune hypothyroidism and because of this and other with-immune disorders he has insisted on various blood tests including ferratin, vitamin d and various others which led to getting treated for low levels of these. As he is a consultant he can insist on these tests being done if your GP drags his feet.

  • Hi blonde,

    Probably your doctors would already have tested for this, but have you been checked for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome? Might explain loss of periods and weight gain. Best of luck with everything.

  • Hi :o)

    No, they haven't tested for it.... and it is a thought, you're right. I doubt if they would help me though as I HAVE been labelled a hypochondriac and, as they decree (TSH, normal) that there is no thyroid problem, there cannot be any other cause for my symptoms (they say).

    More or less nowhere to turn now.



  • It's so frustrating. It seems so easy for doctors to blame very obviously physical symptoms on depression or being a hypochondriac as a way of absolving themselves of any responsibility! :(

    Did the doctors at least explain why your periods stopped? They might just put it down to stress...

  • Nope - they didn't even check the usual hormone levels - even though the one test they did do showed not menopausal.....

    Did not seem inclined to test again and when I suggest anything to them (i.e. asked about estrogen dominance as I know there are some symptoms in common and I DO have some symptoms) but got shut down with an eyeroll.


  • :( It's not fair to be treated like that by doctors who should be there to help! I have been treated similarly at times. :(

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