The other week, I did a post about things you shouldn’t say to someone with hypothyroidism. Now it’s time for something more positive.. the things we do want to hear!
“How are you doing?”
This simple question shows you care about us and how we’re doing, and you understand that we may have a bit of a battle with getting well again. It’s nice to know that someone cares and we often like to talk about it with others so we don’t feel alone. Let us moan a bit, too; it’s healthy to get things off our chest! This can be a difficult condition to live with, after all.
Don’t assume that just because we have medication for it now, that we’re doing alright. It’s far from the truth for most people.
2. “Can I do anything to help?”
Most commonly, not an awful lot. There’s not a great deal our friends, family and work colleagues can do other than to be understanding of our condition and be open minded. You could offer to run us a bath, ask if we need any help with housework or with the kids, or even ask if we want a cup of tea. Little things mean a lot to us when we’re struggling. We’re really grateful for the little things.
3. “What has worked for you?”
Treating hypothyroidism is often not as simple as you’d think, so we tend to have to try a few things until we find what works for us. This means lots of book reading, internet searching and maybe even numerous visits to different doctors and health practitioners. It can be stressful, upsetting and really testing at times, so we’d love to share with you what we’ve learnt and what we’re going through. It’s comforting to know you understand that it isn’t a simple one-cure-fits-all disease.
4. “I respect your opinions/I support your choices.”
We know our own body better than anyone else, so don’t dismiss us when we say that we know something isn’t right, or that treatment isn’t working for us. Respect us for doing our own research, and respect our opinions. Let us share our findings with you. Explore with us our ideas and acknowledge that we’re entitled to our own thoughts, too. Support our choices to make changes to our health regime if we feel it’s the best thing for us. Just understand. This one is most important for partners and doctors of thyroid patients.
5. “So.. what is an underactive thyroid/hypothyroidism/thyroid disease?”
It’s nice to know that you’re interested, and if you don’t know, then we don’t mind telling you all about what its like living with it, what the thyroid gland is and where it is in the body. If anything, it’s nice for more people to become aware about it so that we have a better chance of getting the treatment we deserve and acknowledgement about how seriously it affects lives. Read this open letter.
6. “You’re looking well!”
If we’re looking better, brighter, happier, healthier, then let us know! It’s reassuring to know that our hard work at getting ourselves better is paying off. We often lack motivation and many of us battle with mental health conditions that make it difficult to stay positive. Some praise every now and then and reminders that we’re making progress can go a long way to give us the boost we need to carry on fighting to feel better.
7. “You’re so brave/strong/determined.”
Battling hypothyroidism and all its complications and symptoms is tiring. Every single one of us gets fed up with it from time to time. Anyone who has this condition is brave and strong. Encouragement like the examples above remind us to keep on going, that we can do it and we are strong enough to come through the other side, especially when we feel like there’s no end to the fight.
8. “How is the book you’re reading?”
See us reading a thyroid book? Another health book? Magazine? A blog? Articles online maybe? Ask us what it’s about, if it’s any good and if we’ve learnt anything from it. It’s nice to see some interest from those around us. We’d like to share what we read with you!
9. “You need to try another doctor.”
If we’re going back again and again to the same doctor and getting nowhere with feeling better, you may need to encourage us to seek out another. And another. And another. Until we find one who will listen to us and work with us. We can feel intimidated or worried to make the change, but it’s important for our health that we do so.
10. “Keep on going. You will feel well again.”
When this condition and all its related problems get too much for us, we need to be reminded that we must keep on going. Often, facing the idea of spending the rest of our lives feeling so unbelievably ill, is enough to make someone very depressed and/or anxious. Even suicidal.
Hypothyroid patients can get better, and although it’s not always easy, it is possible. It absolutely is. They just need gentle nudges and direction on where to go, at times. Help them to help themselves.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
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