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Thyme For Some Literary Healing: Thyroid’s Impact On Memory

Post Published: 15 April 2010
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Category: Literary Healing for Thyroid Patients, Memory Issues Thyroid Disorders, Thyme for literary healing
This post currently has 20 responses. Leave a comment

Today, we had a beautiful letter “Yours Truly, If Not Willingly“, from Elena, a 21-year-old college student with Hashimoto’s. Elena’s letter got us thinking about issues related to memory that we’ve discussed in the past, in comments and in our letters. We think delving into this a bit deeper and sharing our respective issues, in writing, will help us understand each other’s plight. Together, we’ll find commonalities, and support along the way.

Our questions are:

  1. How would you describe your memory issues?
  2. Do you see marked improvement with your memory when your thyroid is balanced or would you say that it doesn’t matter?
  3. Do your memory issues affect your self-esteem? If so, in what way?

Let the literary healing begin. Please post your answers in comments.

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20 Responses to “Thyme For Some Literary Healing: Thyroid’s Impact On Memory

  1. Dear Thyroid says:

    How would you describe your memory issues?
    Overwhelmingly annoying. Struggle to: Find words, complete sentences. In the middle of a conversation, my mind draws a blank. If I don’t write everything down, it’s as if a wave crashed on the sand and washed it away.

    Do you see marked improvement with your memory when your thyroid is balanced or would you say that it doesn’t matter?
    Considering I only experienced 6 months of a balanced thyroid out of 10+ years, I would have to say this is a RESOUNDING, loud and sad NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

    Do your memory issues affect your self-esteem? If so, in what way
    I feel stupid all the time. My confidence is shot. I turn inward far too often. The constant “Don’t you remember” queries, are so upsetting, I don’t know where to throw myself.

  2. Kathy Taylor says:

    1.How would you describe your memory issues?
    I have significant word retrieval issues, so often not
    being able to find the right word or person’s name or
    looking right at something and not being able to name
    it. My memory is best early in the morning. After I
    have been up a few hours and I’m feeling that chronic
    fatigue, my brain begins to shut down. I often have
    trouble doing simple math. That in itself is
    both embarrassing and worrisome.
    2.Do you see marked improvement with your memory when your thyroid is balanced or would you say that it doesn’t matter?
    I don’t even want to admit it, but I have seen
    significant improvement that may be the effects of
    being gluten free, as I have stopped having the daily
    crippling headaches. Also, being diagnosed with sleep
    apnea and other breathing issues (COPD)..now that I am
    able to breathe better and get better quality sleep, I
    think that helps with the debilitating fatigue.
    3.Do your memory issues affect your self-esteem? If so, in what way?
    I work with memory impaired persons. I can’t tell you
    how scary it is to know that my brain is experiencing
    the whispers of what may be an all out case of dementia
    and/or Alzheimer’s disease. When I cannot find a word
    in my vocabulary, or I have to ask for help to balance
    a simple petty cash account. I wonder “What next?” It
    makes me feel old sometimes. So.. I try new things, do
    tasks with the other hand, all the tricks to keep my
    brain feeling a little younger, in hopes that I can
    stave something off..

  3. Linda says:

    I can’t remember the questions long enough to type out what I think. LOL I do know I hate feeling stupid. Especially when friends say “you used to be so smart”. What do they mean? I am not dumb now I just can’t express myself or think as fast. It is so frusterating!!!

  4. susan says:

    It is not the forgetting where I parked the car when I come out of the supermarket that frightens me… it is the not remembering driving to the market or parking the car and frantically trying to recall the trip but having no access to a simple short-term memory that people take for granted.

  5. A.D.B. says:

    How would you describe your memory issues?

    *It’s a huge annoyance. In addition, I been placed on an antidepressant that also exacerbates the problem with my thought processes and memory. I can have the thought race in my head, but there’s a delay between the time I process it and the time it gets to my mouth to speak the thought. So people who are impatient and have a tendency to finish other people’s sentences interrupt me, which is a hot-button issue for me. My short-term memory is completely shot. There are times when I will do something, and can’t remember what I did 3 minutes after I did it. A lot of my things get misplaced this way.

    Do you see marked improvement with your memory when your thyroid is balanced or would you say that it doesn’t matter?

    *I think it matters more if I’ve gotten enough sleep or not, which affects thyroid function (and everything else).

    Do your memory issues affect your self-esteem? If so, in what way?

    *I find myself apologizing a lot – sorry I forgot about this, sorry I couldn’t remember that. I am trying to compensate for that by not trusting my memory, and making sure I take notes for most everything I’ll need to remember.

    I’m in school, too – and the last exam I took, I went completely blank. Couldn’t remember anything I had studied. I panicked. Needless to say, I didn’t do well on the exam.

    It’s depressing because I used to pride myself on having a memory like an elephant. But perhaps this is a blessing in disguise – sometimes, *some* things (like grudges) are meant to be forgotten!

  6. Lori says:

    1.How would you describe your memory issues?

    It makes it very difficult to communicate and function. It’s frustrating and embarrassing. I’ve had to write things down and have my trusty list notebook and datebook for as long as I can remeber, but it’s worse because I keep losing my little notebooks I write things in. My datebook manages to stay in my handbag, as long as I don’t change the handbag too often, so I’m pretty good at not missing appointments. At the start of the new year I kept forgetting to get a new datebook every time I went out and for the first time I started being late and even missed an appt. I showed up the wrong day and insisted they made the mistake. I got so mad at myself when I realized it was my mistake but I still kept forgetting to pick up a new datebook when I’d go out. My husband finally went to the store and got me one. I felt like such a dumbass!! LOL I call myself that all time in fun, it helps to laugh at myself.

    2.Do you see marked improvement with your memory when your thyroid is balanced or would you say that it doesn’t matter?

    NO but I don’t believe I have been balanced yet. I have high hopes that this will improve when I am balanced.

    3.Do your memory issues affect your self-esteem? If so, in what way?

    Yes. Because it is so hard to have a conversation, I avoid any real meaninful conversations with anyone. I’ve been embarrassed many times. How can anyone take you serious? The first year on T4 treatment, it got so bad I would lose my way driving on streets I knew like the back of my hand. I also have experience with people that have dementia and Alzheimer’s and I feared that’s what was happening to me, thinking my thyroid certainly couldn’t cause such severe memory problems. I was dx’d with sleep apnea and thought for sure that would help but I didn’t have as much improvement as I anticipated. It wasn’t until I got put on NDT did I notice improvement, so it really had taken a toll on my self-esteem by then. I don’t get lost in familiar territory but it still interferes majorly.

  7. Dear Thyroid says:

    Kathy – Your points struck a deep chord. I really feel you.

    I’m glad that since going gluten free, you are seeing marked improvement. Knowing that there’s a little space of time carved out when your memory is best, must be comforting in some small way, yes?

    I would love to know more about thyroid/dementia/Alzheimer’s connection, if you wouldn’t mind sharing.

    Thanks for sharing, Kathy. We learned a lot.

    xo

  8. Dear Thyroid says:

    Linda – I’m SO SORRY that your friends have the audacity to say “You used to be so smart”. Are you still friends with them? How do you handle that? It must be so heartbreaking for you.

    YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU ARE BRILLIANT!

    xo

  9. Dear Thyroid says:

    Susan – When you wrote this It is not the forgetting where I parked the car when I come out of the supermarket that frightens me; it is the not remembering driving to the market or parking the car and frantically trying to recall the trip but having no access to a simple short-term memory that people take for granted.

    — I GOT THE CHILLS

    Wow. Wow. Wow. That is awful, and something too many of us face. Do you also find that by the end of the day, what you did earlier is such a blur, that you can’t recall the day’s events?

    xo

  10. Dear Thyroid says:

    AD – Everything you wrote is so profound and honest. Thank you for sharing – On such a deep level, we all relate.

    When you wrote this: I find myself apologizing a lot — sorry I forgot about this, sorry I couldn’t remember that. I am trying to compensate for that by not trusting my memory, and making sure I take notes for most everything I’ll need to remember.

    — wow. That is so true, and such a shame. Why do we constantly apologize for something we can’t control? Don’t you sometimes feel like the only thing you have on brain-speed-dial, is “I’m sorry”? I sure do. I sure wish none of us had this issue.

    xo

  11. Dear Thyroid says:

    Lori – It makes it very difficult to communicate and function. It’s frustrating and embarrassing. Painfully true. And, and, and, do you also find that when you go to look for something, it’s as if you’ve hidden it from yourself? For the life of you, you can’t recall where it is?

    Lori – Yes. Because it is so hard to have a conversation, I avoid any real meaninful conversations with anyone. I’ve been embarrassed many times. How can anyone take you serious?

    –You’re so right… So many of us feel this way. It’s awful. I’m so sorry that you have to endure it; that ever thylicious dame and fellah has to.

    For some reason, it is such a self-esteem killer. I guess it’s obvious why it is a self esteem killer. Still. Very sad and frustration.

    Thank you for sharing more of you with us.

    xo

  12. Linda B Reed says:

    I agree with all of these answers and certainly experience the same things. Hashi really does a number on everything, especially to self-esteem. If it weren’t for sticky notes, I’d forget a lot more! Just wish people would “get it” better than they do and not just look at you/think you’ve lost your mind!

  13. Lori says:

    I just have to butt in here and say something I think would be verrrry COOL! This is something I always imagine: One day, we’ll write a “funny book” telling all our “memory stories” so that we can look back at them and LAUGH at them! Yes, we will have new and great memories one day, I just know it!

  14. Lora says:

    I always forget my son’s therapy appointments even though they are every week on the same day. It is embarrassing when I have to tell the therapist that I spaced it out and forgot all the time. If I don’t remember to put a post-it note then what good are they?

    I just recently got diagnosed with hypothyroidism so I am just getting to know what all the symptoms are. I didn’t realize that my poor memory was linked to it.

    Due to my PTSD I have little to no memory of my childhood and now I can’t even remember things in the present!

  15. Judy says:

    I have thyroid problems for about 8yrs. The tiredness is the worst thing for me. The memory problem is something I’ve had to learn to live with as I had two strokes 5yrs ago, one affexted my left side (Now virtually ok with loads of physio.) The other took my memory, mostly short term but there are some big gaps that I struggle to remember. Balancing my thyroid wont make any difference to my memory> I try to do something every day to “work” it, crosswords, mahjong, poems, small stories etc. I dont let it affect my self-esteem, if someone says “Dont you remember ?” I just say “I only remember important things !!” As for my friends, then they know what happened and they accept me for who I am now and who I was then. There is a silver lining though, I never have to buy a new book or DVD as I’ve forgotten them within a week or so !!! Also my grandkids think I’m super cool as I bought game consoles so that I could do strategy games (As well as fun games !!) This helps “work” my brain and the eye/hand co-ordination (As well as making me a very populiar “gran” as I have most of the “good” games ) As I said at the start, I just wish I wasn’t so tired all the time. Never mind, can’t have everything eh ??

  16. Kathy Taylor says:

    Here are a couple of links that talk about thyroid related dementia. When older women start exhibiting signs of memory loss and possibly the beginnings of Alzheimer’s, a full work up should be done, to include checking the thyroid. Sometimes, the memory loss can be helped with the thyroid medications. The links are:
    http://www.healthtree.com/articles/dementia/causes/metabolic-endocrine-disorder.php
    and
    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Endocrinology/Thyroid/10293
    that’s a start! 🙂

  17. 1. How would you describe your memory issues?
    Frustrating. I used to have an awesome memory. Now, I’m doing good to remember my own name, much less anyone else’s. I forget names, I forget words, I forget what I’m doing when in the middle of a task. It’s quite sad.

    2. Do you see marked improvement with your memory when your thyroid is balanced or would you say that it doesn’t matter?
    NO. I wish.

    3. Do your memory issues affect your self-esteem? If so, in what way?
    Well, feeling stupid never does much for the self-esteem, and stupid is how I feel much of the time.

  18. HD in Oregon says:

    To be really honest, I have not yet experienced (at least I don’t remember) any real memory issues. Of course I do forget things at times, but maybe that just comes with age. As a 61 year old geezer I have a right to forget things, don’t ya think?

    What was I saying…..?

    HD in Oregon

  19. Linda says:

    In response…I really don’t have friends. I think it is easier that way. I got sick of holding others back and they got tired of me not being “the person they remembered having fun with.” Screw them all! Lucky for me I don’t remember them most of the time. It gets hard sometimes, but I just talk to my boyfriend or my dog. Although the dog is a much better listener they both help in their own way. I do find a lot of comfort in writing here and the support I feel from this community. THANKS.

  20. Bee says:

    1)memory issues I call the “milk in the pantry, shampoo in the fridge” syndrome. The term is used loosely in describing all the other crazy things I do. I buy things and “put them up” in a safe place; and then forget what I bought and where i put it. So i end up duplicating purchases. I’ll be having a meaningful conversation and be half way thru a profound sentence and the words just stop coming out of my mouth like a faucet stops dripping-like a trickling effect…i then get that head rush of embarrassment and feel my eye glaze over 2)I see some improvement once we got my TSH out of the 40ish range, but I’ve never been euthyroid since diagnosis 4 yrs ago so don’t know if it will come back 100%. The velcro part of my brain that used to hold onto tasks and required info has lost it sticky ability. Does that make sense to anyone? the thoughts try to stick but get detached and float around in the empty brain pan somewhere. 3)Self-esteem? huh…don’t get me wrong I’m really working hard on loving my big fat wobbly ass, my batwing arms, and my Budhha belly, but I’m not close to total acceptance yet; thus, all the people I knew where I used to live haven’t seen me much or heard from me much bcuz I’m nervous they’d invite me out and I’d be afraid they wouldn’t recognize me—sort of like the woman I knew who I hadn’t seen in a long time who gasped when she saw me at a wedding and tried to cover up her shock by telling me I looked good in that color

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