2022: Mood gets low, low, low, low

Mornings suck… I used to get up super early so I could run before I had to get my kid ready and start working by 7:00 AM. (I usually start working at 6:30 AM, because I suck at work/life balance.) But since my total thyroidectomy… mornings suck.

Me, standing in the morning sun, with my thyroid incision

For most of my life, I have woken just before my alarm, watched the time tick over, and then would quickly turn it off. I don’t hit snooze… ever. Never in my whole life have I been a snooze person. But now my alarm actually wakes me up each day. And even though I use this super peaceful piano song as my alarm, it startles me awake because I am always so tired, but never rested.

So I don’t wake up super early to run anymore, I wake up at 6:02 with my alarm so I can get ready for the day, get my work computer all booted up, and be online by 6:30. I also have to oversee my kiddo getting ready in the morning during this time. (I’m pretty sure I’m failing at parenting on that front because when I was 10, I just got myself up, got dressed, fed myself, and took myself to the bus stop. Granted, there is no bus to take my kid to school, we have to drive her. At least the vast majority of other parents with similar-age kids right now seem to be failing in the same way as me. Why?)

Maybe us Gen X kids were too independent? LOL

I haven’t been good at taking a lunch hour since I started working remotely in 2005. I usually eat at my desk. But with the introduction of thyroidectomy fatigue into my life, I decided to try taking my lunch hour on the regular so I could run on the treadmill during that time. 

The upside of being on the treadmill is that if I felt a sudden wave of dizziness or fatigue, I wasn’t 2 miles away from my house. I could just get off the treadmill. And the downside of being on the treadmill is that I don’t get the mood benefits of being outside in nature. (It’s proven!) The upside of the treadmill is I got over 500 workouts on the iFit platform for 2022. The downside is I’m always in my stinkin’ house so I essentially feel like a prisoner in my home.

Also, I’m very busy at work and due to my perfectionism and people-pleasing tendencies, I keep pushing my “lunch hour” to later and later in the day until I can’t take it at all. So the amount of running I’ve done post-thyroidectomy has plummeted. This impacts my mood even more as I just don’t feel accomplished. That is probably another problem, that only physical exertion helps me feel like I’ve accomplished anything.

Honestly, I have felt like I am slipping into a darker and darker place mood-wise since the second surgery. 

I ran a race at the start of 2023, the first time I’d run a race since pre-pandemic and that was amazing, I felt like myself more than I had in a long time. And even though it definitely wasn’t the fastest 5K I’ve ever run, it sure took a lot out of me. I felt even more fatigued after that event and it took about a week to feel up to running again. So my mood improved for a moment and then plummed further back down.

To fight the fatigue, I keep consuming more and more caffeine. Wanna know what “they” say makes anxiety worse? Caffeine. But I don’t feel I can give it up else I’ll be crawling under my desk and dozing off or wallowing in bed all the time. Actually, I can’t do that either. I’m a mom and I got ish to do. But the low mood makes all this maternal load stuff weigh on me even more and I get more and more furious at everyone and everything around me each day. So now I’m depressed, anxious, and angry. 

A long time ago when I went to the first therapist I saw for my eating disorder, she taught me the acronym HALT. It is Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and these are all risky zones for plummeting back into harmful coping mechanisms. I can pretty much guarantee that I’m in the ALT zones 99% of the time and I’m probably operating in the Hungry territory too. Even though I’m far better on the eating disorder front than I was at one time and I don’t actively restrict, I think I subconsciously restrict a little because I’m still scared of food and often feel guilty about eating anything. That’s probably a little worse lately because of my low mood and lower activity levels. So yeah… I’m probably in full HALT territory. 

I desperately need a break. I need a break from work, from parenting, from my household responsibilities… I don’t want to plan a vacation or have to arrange things to do. I just want to disappear and not make any decisions. 

I went to DC last week with my kiddo on a field trip. (I never went on field trips that awesome… I remember the big exciting field trip from my elementary days was a trip to a potato farm for one day and I was sick that day. So I didn’t even get to visit the potato farm.) Our schedule was immensely packed and even though I took running clothes with me, I did not run. It was a good trip, but it wasn’t a break.

And then there is our new puppy… we can’t leave her alone unsupervised. (My spouse made that mistake TWICE while I was in DC. He had a lot of clean up to do.) She is fine in a crate overnight, but if I put her in the crate during the day she howls and cries and that ruins my treadmill run because I can’t tune that out. It’s painful to listen to and I’m an empathetic soul.

So I’m a prisoner in my own home where the wardens are my overwhelming fatigue and an adorable 4-month-old puppy.


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