I have the same disease as Gigi Hadid, here’s what it’s really like

I suffer from a thyroid disease called hypothyroidism, which means that I have an under-active thyroid. Basically, I have a different version of Gigi Hadid’s disease, Hashimoto’s. 

The big difference is that when you have Hashimoto’s, you can suffer from both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, and your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck (yes, everyone’s got one), and it regulates, promotes, and creates important hormones in your body.

Of course, I didn’t know any of this until I was diagnosed. I was blissfully unaware of what the thyroid is and how important its role is in the body. Even though my best friend has Hashimoto’s, I wasn’t exactly sure what the disease entailed.

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My Energy #gonewiththewind

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During my junior year of college, I randomly gained 30 pounds. This was odd, since I never weighed more than 140 my whole life. I was eating homemade and healthy foods and I had a very active lifestyle (I was a cheerleader and also trained on the side daily). I got severe acne, something that I hadn’t had since age 13 thanks to the gloriously toxic Accutane. I was constantly exhausted and couldn’t even get out of bed at noon to go to class, and I couldn’t sleep at night.

I was always mad at my boyfriend who was living with me at the time. I didn’t want him to touch me, and made him sleep on the opposite side of the bed. My sex drive plummeted, and I got more irritable every day with crazy mood swings. After working out, I would be so tired that I would pass out. My period was irregular and I was a damn mess.

I went to Planned Parenthood to get a refill on my birth control prescription, and after they weighed me, they handed me a pamphlet on weight loss that said they considered me to be “obese.” I was only 175 pounds.

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While I don’t believe in what Planned Parenthood did, it was definitely a health wakeup call. I was finally ready to face the fact that something was really wrong with me. Your body doesn’t go through immense changes like that out of nowhere, and walking around with something undiagnosed isn’t healthy at all. My body was telling me to get some help.

I didn’t know what was wrong, until I started thinking about my best friend who suffered from Hashimoto’s. She often talked about her hair falling out and other odd hormonal changes. I thought that maybe I was dealing with the same thing.

Turns out I basically was.

I eventually was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and recently a severe iodine and vitamin D deficiency. But, the road to diagnosis was long and difficult. Doctors didn’t believe me and told me I had diabetes even though I tested negative for it. My family was blaming the symptoms on me. It was a ton of trial and error with no results or changes in symptoms. The battle to get diagnosed itself spiraled me into depression.

The thing I had trouble with the most was accepting my new body. I kept thinking that if I ate less and worked out until I was blue that I would eventually get my old body back. But it wasn’t coming back. For the past 3 years, I’ve had to redefine what it means to love myself and my body. It hasn’t been easy, and I’m still on the journey of figuring it all out.

I realized that I needed to just be healthy in my own way. I work out daily, and I eat as well as I can. But let’s be honest, everyone needs cookie dough ice cream now and then. I want to be my healthiest and happiest self, and to me, that doesn’t involve starving or straining myself.

The societal pressure of being thin and always looking my best wore me out. I don’t always have energy to do my hair and makeup in the morning, and no matter how much I work out and eat well, I still have a tummy, ass, and thighs.

It’s takes a lot of mental strength to step back and say, “Ok, what does it actually mean to be beautiful?” I had to realize that society’s definition of beauty wasn’t my own definition, and I’ve recently decided to be a part of the resistance of that definition.

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Thyroid diseases are extremely common, and they unfortunately affect women more than they do men. Meaning, women are often getting diagnosed with this terrible hormonal disease on top of all the other shit they have to go through.

Thyroid Facts. This is real life #thyroidawarenessmonth #disease #reality #usa

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While it’s awesome that Gigi Hadid wants to use her platform to bring awareness to thyroid diseases (especially on the heels of January, Thyroid Awareness Month), it was poorly executed.

Gigi allegedly received comments from followers who called her too thin for modeling. In my opinion, those people have their own issues with their bodies and are just taking it out on a public figure. Giving life to their comments is like adding fuel to the fire, and that is her first mistake.

Gigi also mentions that she is upset about not fitting society’s standard of beauty.

While comments about a stranger’s body are completely inappropriate, she absolutely does fit society’s standard of beauty. She is a household name with her supermodel status – she walks for some of the most iconic designers and has been on so many magazine covers. Many young women try to look just like her. She is white, blonde, skinny, tall, and has clear skin. She is what women grow up being told to look just like.

It’s disheartening of her to say that she doesn’t fit into society’s molds, when other women battling thyroid diseases are having way more serious changes than hers, or even mine.

The truth is, when you have a thyroid disease, your symptoms and the way the disease affects you are uniquely your own. It is different body to body. Gigi Hadid may have fatigue and metabolic issues, while I gain weight and have insomnia, while my best friend has hair loss and weight loss. No two people carry the disease the same exact way.

But, on this, Gigi is correct. We all need to try and understand each other’s difficulties a little bit more, and practice empathy. We all also need to stop commenting on other people’s bodies. It doesn’t affect you in any way, so why do you care what Gigi Hadid looks like? Mind your business, and unfollow her on Instagram if it irks you so much.

Me? I’ll be over here practicing some good old self-love.

Gimme More Health

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