You’re Not Lazy – It’s Your Thyroid!

by Leisa on April 16, 2009

One of the saddest things I hear – and I hear it often – is the way people describe themselves to me in clinic when I ask about their lifestyle habits – sleep, exercise and ability to get things done.

You wouldn’t believe how many times I hear – “Oh, to be honest, I’m really lazy.  I have trouble waking up and getting out of bed, and I just don’t feel like exercising….”

In my experience, very few people are genuinely lazy.

Very few.

The ones I see in clinic are not lazy.  They are TIRED.  Not even just tired for that matter. Totally exhausted.

Having suffered from adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism myself, I know for a fact the difference between lazy and tired.  And when you are too tired to even face chopping a carrot to put in a salad, and want to go back to bed the minute you get up, or are so depressed you want to just lay on the lounge all day and not function – there is something seriously wrong and to label yourself as just lazy is a huge insult.

I once had to make a big sign for a patent’s fridge so that she saw it every day – “I am not lazy, I am not crazy – I have a thyroid problem that is now being fixed”.  Her friends and family were always commenting on how lazy she was, and it took a lot of convincing for her to understand that her body was letting her down – it wasn’t a issue with attitude – she had a genuine medical condition that needed treatment.

Why are we so quick to think the worst of ourselves?

I too, have been in that position with severe fatigue, mentally beating myself up for not going to the gym when I said I would and not getting the work done that I knew I was capable of. However, the difference between that state and a state of healthy well-being is enormous and I now know that laziness was definitely not part of the problem.

When we feel well, we want to move!  We jump out of bed, wide-awake, looking forward to the day ahead.  The energy coursing through our body makes us want to move – to go for a walk, run, bike-ride, dance, play, swim – whatever it is we enjoy we naturally feel like doing it.

We don’t have to force ourselves – we want to exercise because it feels good, we get our work done because it is easy.  That is our natural state – and if you don’t feel like that, and describe yourself as being “lazy”, chances are there is something physically wrong that can be corrected.

For a more in-depth discussion of fatigue disorders – as a member of my Embracing Health Membership Club you have access to an hour and a half audio interview that I did with Dr. John Lowe – one of the world’s foremost experts on Fibromyalgia and thyroid conditions.  Once you join as a member, you will have access to a members only page containing a link to the interview.  There is a huge amount of knowledge shared on this audio, and if you are suffering from “laziness” I encourage you to listen to it.



Please feel welcome to leave your comment, feedback or question about this blog post below! If you would prefer not to use your own email address, just type in the box below to post your comment. We'd love to hear from you!

9 commentsAdd comment

Thomas February 1, 2010 at 4:29 am

Yes, people are lazy. I really get a charge out of everyone wanting to explain away something due an ailment, needing some treatment, never wanting to take responsibility and deal with it. There are many days where I’m dragging my butt, sometimes I have to force myself to get moving or get out and get exercise, but I do it. No one is suffering from laziness, it’s their own choosing.

Leisa March 16, 2010 at 9:33 am

Dear Thomas,
Quite obviously you have never suffered from a thyroid disorder and have not gone through the VERY real, very debiltating fatigue that hypothyroid people experience. If you had experienced it, then I would give your opinion some respect – but this comment is obviously coming from someone who has never suffered from this disease, or known a loved one who has gone through the terrible experience of being hypothyroid. It is narrow-minded, invalid opinions such as yours which keep genuinely ill people from getting the assistance they need. I would love to learn how many hypothyoid patients you have treated in clinic, so that you feel within your rights to spout off with your uninformed opinion.

Sophie July 18, 2010 at 5:36 am

I strongly agree with Leisa….

Sereena May 4, 2011 at 1:18 am

This ignorant individual is part of the reason why so many people who suffer with thyroid issues feel shame. The other is an inability for patients to find doctors who treat thyroid ailments correctly. There just aren’t enough of them and if you are lucky enough to find one that uses the most effective treatment for thyroid, it often takes you months or years even to get in to see them. Would be great if doctors actually decided to do the extra training to be able to treat patients correctly rather than relying on what they learned in med school, but very few of them do. So even when you try to help yourself, it can be difficult.

Krissy July 4, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Sereena, I totally agree with your comment! I suffered from thyroid disease symptoms after the birth of my daughter and then beyond extreme postpartum insomnia when she was five months old. My insomnia lasted for years. If I ever got sleep, it was only mere minutes of light sleep a night, all broken up! Usually I would start to fall asleep and just before I reached that deep sleep state, I was jolted awake and that was my sleep for the whole night!! It threw me into early menopause at 28. So I was suffering from SEVERE thyroid disease, insomnia and menopause. My family wasn’t supportive and believed and accused me countless times of being lazy and irresponsible. The reality was that I was doing all I could and I was not either of those things! It makes you start to feel crazy and bad about yourself when you already are having a hard time being sick and your illness holding you back, but on top of that, people are accusing you of false motives. So not only are we fighting an impossible health battle, but as you said, we are being shamed for it. It would be so great if doctors got extra training so they can actually diagnose and treat patients properly and actually help us, instead of us being left to suffer. I tried to help myself, but I was dependent on my family, so it was very hard because they didn’t understand.

Leisa July 11, 2013 at 1:03 am

Dear Krissy,
Your story is so common and it is so sad to hear. Many, many people suffer with the same issues that you’ve been through, and medical practitioners who don’t know what’s going on make the situation worse by saying that “it’s all in your head” or that you are suffering depression, instead of a severe thyroid disease. When there is no firm diagnosis, then yes, friends and family can be very shaming and label you as lazy – it is a vicious circle and difficult to break without the right treatment. I hope you did get the help you need and have your life back on track now.

Mindy July 23, 2013 at 4:04 am

I’m a teenager but my mom has been struggling with adrenal fatigue for years. I too, started having similar symptoms. I noticed her mother would mention that she needed to get it out of her head and that she was fine. My father would just say, “We could go take a walk.” She always seemed upset by these comments. I didn’t really understand. Until a few weeks ago. I can’t sleep until around 3am, I don’t feel like waking up until 12am, and I have no energy during the afternoon. I really was getting upset. I’m 17, most 17 year olds are joining sports and hanging out with friends all day. I am considered overweight but I love taking walks, I sometimes even enjoy eating healthy. But sometimes I’m just too worn out to even put my tennis shoes on and walk out the door! Sleep sounds much better.
Then, I started researching that thyroid problems can make weight-loss more difficult. I’m see a doctor especially for these things next week. My mom goes to her and already feels better.

Thanks for posting this. Tonight my dad (not meaning to be harsh) told me that I should take walks and eat healthy. I told him I do take walks and he mentioned “not consistently.” I literally cried for 20 minutes because I thought maybe I AM just lazy. I decided to look it up and I clicked on this link first. (Keep in mind, I am NOT an emotional person, but for some reason, it really got to me.)

Maybe I really am not crazy and lazy! Again, thank you. I am excited to get feeling better and I guess some people just don’t understand and NEVER will.

– Mindy

Barmavath vamshi June 15, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Boo very badd

SK ayesha khatoon July 29, 2018 at 6:42 pm

How to become active again

Leave Your Comment


(Spamcheck Enabled)

1 trackback


Previous post:

Next post: