HELP!!! Exhaustion fatigue, depression - could it be hypothyroid?

Hi I am quite new to all this, but have been encouraged to ask GP to test my thyroid by my dad who has underactive thryroid, as does my sister.

I have been feeling exhausted for a long time, but getting worse and worse in recent weeks or months. I work part time in a school (the dr always puts tiredness down to this) and feel like I need to crawl back into bed by the afternoon. I also have primary aged children, and some stress at home - also being blamed for my fatigue.

I often wake up feeling like I have not even been to sleep, even after hours of sleep, have bad reflux and IBS - I am so bloated I look 6 months pregnant. I suffer from heavy periiods and regular headaches which I take propanalol for, as my BP is sometimes high. I get woken up sometimes by my heart 'leaping' for no apparent reason and get palpitations (possibly linked to ovulation and period?) I often feel so sluggish in the mornings, it feels like I am walking in treacle. I feel fuzzy headed, and often so tired, I ache all over. I recently visited my sister in London for a day on the train 2 hours away. By the time I got home I was so tired I couldn't move for 15 hours. I am only 42 but I have had to stop going to meet friends in the evening, and can't face anything extra - housework is too much effort. I have lost interest in lots of things as I feel too tired to deal with anything.

Things came to a head on Sunday when I woke up after having an evening out to a dance show, and I felt terrible - I went back to bed and slept for 3 hours, and only then did I feel like I could stop crying. To be honest, I feel sometimes that it would be better for me to not be alive any more than have to keep struggling on like this. I see other people older than me zipping around and I just feel so slow. The doctor has said I have depression and wants me to go on antidepressants but I don't get it - on a day when I have energy I feel fine, do lots, meet people feel happy, then it wipes me out so I take days to recover, when I feel tired and depressed.

GPsays all my results are normal - I had to ask to have a thyroid test, then they wouldn't tell me the result just said normal. However, I managed to prize out of them that my TSH is 4.2 (0.8 - 5.5) which is normal apparently. Am I going mad? When I looked at the thyroid uk website, I fit so many symptoms, but feel that it's not showing up in my bloods. I feel fobbed off and in despair, as I don't want to take antidepressants unless I really have to.

Sorry for the long post

in desperation.....

15 Replies

  • Hi, sorry you are having sich a dreadful time.I dont know alot about underactive thyroid as I have the problems of an overactive one! I have learnt a bit from this site though about hypothyroidism and I know you need not omly TSH but also T3 and T4 results to get a full picture, you also neef ferritin iron, vit b12 and vit D checking amongst others.Your doc had no right to withhold your results you are legally entitled to them! Someone will give you a more knowledgeable answer soon thete are some very good memberson hhere. Just wanted to reach out to you to let you know we care sending hug x

  • thank you so much. I am so glad I stumbled upon this website. How do you get hold of your blood results - I think they did a whole range but always say they are normal. Can you just ask at the GPs?


  • I just ask the receptionist at my GPs for a print out.The first time she said if you want it to take to hospital the consultant can view them on screen you dont need a print out.I said no they are for my own records so she just did it thete and then.I asked if there was any charge and she said no.When I go to hospital I just copy them down from the screen thimk it ammoys endo because I take ages but he never gives me a copy so.Some people say they have bern chargrf a tiny amount such as a pound or two to cover cost of paper but shouldmt be any more than that.Others have been told they need to ask their doctor and get them from GP, others have to fight for them.Maybe your low in iron due to heavy periods? That can make you feel exhausted.Learn as much as you can so you are better equipped when you go back to doctors and maybe see a different one if he/she wad funny about giving you your results x

  • Hi Rich72, things sound dreadful for you'll right now, and well done Dad for encouraging to go to the Drs. Firstly, your TSH may be normal ie within the lab range, but normal doesn't necessarily mean well or symptom-free. Plus your TSH is at the top of the range anyway. Many people will feel decidedly unwell with a TSH over 1.0 let alone 4.2, and some of us don't feel right unless their TSH is suppressed ie below range. However on its own, a TSH value tends simply to provide a GP with the excuse to tell you you're working too hard, or you are depressed., or both :-( You need to have results for your T3 and T4 too. Additionally as a minimum your GP should test your Vit B12, Vit D, ferritin and folate as they can often become depleted long before a hypothyroid diagnosis is made, and are required to support a health thyroid function.

    I don't know too much about adrenals, so someone else might pick it up, but your description of your sleeping behaviour might indicate a problem there, in addition to a likely underactive thyroid. We can become depressed by our situation and being denied or lacking help to feel better, ie reactive depression, rather than there being a depressive disorder independent of the physical illness. So become better/optimally medicated, and both the physical and emotional symptoms abate.

  • I forgot to say that you have a legal right to be provided with your blood results and lab ranges, although sometimes a practice might charge a nominal sum for printing them.

  • TSH of 4.2 is in no way normal

    its hypothyroid

    Insist on tests for

    thyroid antibodies

    Free T4


    Vit D3


  • Rich, sorry you're feeling so ill and desperate, it will get better when you can get a diagnosis and start medication. Make sure to have your next blood test as early as possible in the morning when TSH is highest and it may just tip you over the 5.5 for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Before the blood tests came in for the thyroid gland, doctors assessed the patients by their clinical symptoms alone and gave them medication for their thyroid gland - even on a trial basis. Nowadays, unfortunately, doctors only diagnose by a TSH blood test whilst ignoring glaring clinical symptoms which you have.

    Particularly as hypo is in your family already - I don't believe doctors can use their brains. This is a link which will surprise you.

    If you can wish to have a private consultation, email who has a list of sympathetic doctors.

    In the USA you are treated with a TSH of 3 - in the UK you have to wait till it reaches 10 which it may never do so the suffering is prolonged. You can also have private blood tests as usually in the UK if your TSH is within 'normal' range they don't check your Free T4 or Free T3 but you can have them done privately too.

  • Lots of good advice above. I'd have thought your family history should have been enough to set alarm bells ringing with your GP but your TSH is too high for you to be able to cope with things. I went to see an Endocrinologist the other week and came out with a fistful of lab forms for various departments but the first thing he gave me was an authorisation letter to give to his secretary to say any results had to be sent to me as well, my body, my results and also I was entitled to them. It takes a while to get stable on anything like the correct dose but as you can see plenty of good advice along the way. Good luck

  • Some people on this site, if they really can't get any help from their doctors, and after exhausting all other avenues, end up buying their own thyroid meds online. I am not suggesting you do this but just to let you know that if all else fails there is light at the end of the tunnel. Don't give up!!

  • Thank you so much for all your kind words and help. I am going to head to GP tomorrow and try to get a print out of my results so that I can see what they are. It is reassuring to know I am not going mad, but could get some treatment to get my life back! I will keep you posted.

  • Good luck Rich72 let us know how you go on at GPS, you know you are not alome now you have team thyroid behind you ! Lol x

  • Follow up!

    Hi I have now been back to the GP (a locum this week) and feel even more fobbed off. He basically said my TSH of 4.2 was totally normal and gave me the phone number for some counselling. I managed to get a print out of my blood test results, and as far as I can tell the only ones relating to the thyroid are TSH of 4.2 (0.2-5.5) taken 2 months ago now, and thyroid peroxidase antibody level 20iu/ml (0-60).

    there is Red blood count 3.93

    Can;t see

    Free T4


    Vit D3

    B12 on there -

    Dr decidedly unhelpful and made me feel like a total idiot for even asking. I tried to say that I know I'm not just depressed but he just looked at me like I am stupid.

    Now feeling in despair as I'm sure many of you will understand it took me so much effort to get myself to the Drs having worked today, I feel it was a waste of time. I dont have the energy to go to a counselling - if I did I would, although not sure how it will help me get my energy back.

    Hopefully after some rest I will be able to think what to do next (fuzzy head and lack of brain power a bit problematic!)

    thank you so much for all your replies so far - I feel there are people who understand!

  • Rich, I'm sorry your locum was as useless as your GP. Your symptoms are hypothyroid and a more clued up GP would have prescribed a trial of Levothyroxine with your TSH 4.2.

    Your negative thyroid peroxidase antibodies mean you don't have autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto's) and your GP may decline a hypothyroid diagnosis until your TSH is >5.5 or even >10 in the absence of antibodies.

    PM me if you want links to buy thyroid meds online and self medicate.

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