DEAR ABBY: I recently suffered from a serious depression. I was so depressed that thoughts of self-destruction were almost impossible to get out of my mind. I cried all the time and was paranoid about everything and everybody. I felt I couldn't do or say anything right. I thought I had nothing to live for. What a helpless feeling!
My mother and two of my friends insisted that I have my thyroid gland checked. My doctor didn't think a thyroid evaluation was necessary because I didn't have the usual physical symptoms. She wanted to prescribe anti-depressants. However, when I insisted, she agreed to do the thyroid function test.
A couple of days later, she called and prescribed medication to treat my thyroid problem. She also congratulated me for insisting on the test.
If I had not asked for the thyroid test, I would be taking anti-depressants and still be physically sick. Perhaps others who struggle with depression are really suffering from thyroid disorder. -- FEELING BETTER IN ATLANTA
DEAR CONCERNED: I would like to think that those who are on anti-depressants have been first evaluated for physical disorders. However, if they haven't been, perhaps your letter will give them the courage to insist on testing to determine if there is a physical cause for their depression -- which can be caused by a thyroid condition. Depression can also be caused by certain prescription medications, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia (pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons), and even lack of sleep.
Before any anti-depressants are dispensed, a complete medical evaluation -- including blood tests that would reveal a thyroid problem -- should be performed by a qualified physician.