So, children, when we left off last time, I had been to an endocrinologist with a DREADFUL bedside manner, been told that everything was in my head, been given a buttload of tests, and all of them had come back negative. Following the endocrinologist’s fervent assertion that there was no way I was hypothyroid, I determined that the reason the thyroid meds were helping was because T3 has been shown to augment antidepressants.
Well, thanks to the endocrinologist, who freaked out that I was taking thyroid meds even though I CLEARLY WASN’T HYPOTHYROID NO WAY JOSE, I reduced my thyroid dose. I was still taking it (see comment on the last post about my cold, dead fingers), but I reduced how much I was taking because she was so worried about it.
Well, the depression, anxiety, and fatigue came roaring right back.
So I did a little digging (as one does. Or at least, as I do).
It turns out that if you’re augmenting antidepressants with T3, the recommended dosage of T3 is 25-50 micrograms/day. With my first dose of thyroid meds, I was getting 5 micrograms per day. With my new dose of thyroid meds, I was getting 2.5 micrograms per day.
NO WONDER I WAS DEPRESSED!
So I decided to go to my doc and ask to try a T3 only medication at 25-50 micrograms per day, instead of the dessicated thyroid, which contains both T3 and T4.
…Aaaand I was told I had to wait a month for my appointment.
Well, the problem was that I’m my church’s summer youth pastor, and I was going along on their one-week work trip in the middle of June. If the new T3 dose was going to beat my fatigue, I wanted to get on it BEFORE I went on the trip, not after. So I called up my Lyme doc–the one who had prescribed the thyroid meds in the first place–and got an appointment that afternoon. Because my Lyme doc is MAGIC.
I genuinely couldn’t find a stock photo for that one.
So he agreed that trying the T3 was a good idea, and he prescribed the meds. Fantastic. I went on them. Great. Didn’t see any improvement before the trip… but I expected it to take awhile to kick in. Went on the trip: felt like poop. Found out I was starting my period: feeling like poop made a lot of sense. Managed to have plenty of energy for things like hanging around a hot work site, moving ladders, painting window frames, and participating in skits, but no energy for things like sitting around and listening to speakers talking. Interesting. But I assumed, because I had the energy to do the work, and had come back home and not needed a day to recover, that the new meds were working.
And then the depression began raising its ugly head again.
I didn’t have the motivation to do ANYTHING. I couldn’t make myself clean my room. I couldn’t make myself write youth group lesson plans. I couldn’t make myself apply for jobs. I began having thoughts like, ‘I just want my life to end. There’s no point to it.’
Finally, I found myself fighting back tears while driving to my friend’s house to hang out. When I’m fighting back tears for no discernible reason, that’s when I know my antidepressants are super not working.
So the T3 didn’t work. Why not? Well, apparently I need the T4. T4 supposedly does nothing for depression. BUT, if you have depression that is ACTUALLY caused by hypothyroidism, normal antidepressants won’t work: you HAVE to address the hypothyroidism. That was what I had discovered way back in December, when I had made the first appointment with my Lyme doc in the first place to discuss my thyroid. T3 does almost nothing for hypothyroidism: you have to have T4.
Conclusion: I really do have subclinical hypothyroidism. I was right all along.
And my endocrinologist can SUCK IT.