You may not be sure what to say to a loved one who has recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, or other chronic condition. Like anything outside of our reality, it can be tricky to understand what your friend is going through. You see them struggling with symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, or other issues. Still, maybe they don’t talk openly about what they’re experiencing, or you’re unsure how to bring it up.
A new diagnosis may be a frustrating experience. Your loved one may not even know what they need or want in terms of support. But make no mistake, having the support of friends and family goes a long way in helping a new patient get well.
Your presence means more than you think. Ahead, what to say to your loved one recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
Many people don’t know much about their thyroid or how significant a role it plays in their body function. When your thyroid is affected, everything from your metabolism, body temperature, digestive system, mood, and much more will also be affected. Encouraging your friend to self-educate can be vital in helping them to restore their health. Nobody knows our bodies and how they are feeling better than us. Being in tune with their body and knowledgeable of thyroid health will help your loved one communicate with their care team about what they need.
A good thyroid doctor is super crucial to a hypothyroid patient. Many doctors only look at Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) to assess thyroid health. Still, most patients do not know that more comprehensive thyroid blood work (including tests for fT3, fT4, and TPO antibodies) is needed to get the big picture.
A doctor who takes time to understand their patient’s symptoms, history, and test results is vital. Since many people with hypothyroidism continue to suffer from symptoms even after starting thyroid medication, they need a care team who finds solutions to their specific situation. If your friend doesn’t think her doctor is listening to her, encourage her to find one who will. It can make a world of difference.
Unlike traditional healthcare, where patients only check in with their endocrinologist or GP a few times a year, Paloma Health has board-certified physicians who provide continuous monitoring and care.
Dealing with chronic illness day after day can feel frustrating, lonely, or stressful. This stress can worsen symptoms like fatigue and brain fog and make previously simple tasks much more difficult. It can be hard to use your voice to ask for what you need. There is a fear of being vulnerable or being misunderstood. Fear of being seen as selfish or lazy. Or of asking too much. Your friend needs to know that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. There will be a period of adjustment as she finds her way forward, and there’s no shame in needing to slow down for a while or asking for some extra help. Not overdoing things and taking time for healing is essential to getting on the right track.
As someone who was blindsided by my hypothyroidism diagnosis, I can say that this was my first thought. Nothing would ever be the same. I will need to take medication for the rest of my life. My thyroid controls so many different functions in my body, and they will all be affected. But once a little time had passed, and I was feeling better, my outlook improved. You do settle into a new normal of sorts, but it’s not a bad thing. It made me more aware of my health overall and caused me to be more health-conscious. It’s not the end, but the beginning of a new journey. And with good care and supportive friends, it’s a chance to regain your health and feel good again.
One of the best things a friend can do is listen when someone needs to talk. Having hypothyroidism (especially early on) can be like a roller coaster ride with constant ups and downs. Having someone to talk to can help keep you on an even keel while trying to deal with everything hitting you all at once. Even when you don’t know what to say, just listening to your friend can be a tremendous help. Giving her an outlet and a place to vent without judgment can be invaluable.
Just as it can be difficult for someone who doesn’t have hypothyroidism to understand what it’s like, it can also be difficult for someone to explain. Your loved one may appear healthy on the outside, but on the inside, it’s an entirely different story. Symptoms will vary, and some days will be better than others. To have someone in your corner who wants to help can be a massive boost for a patient. Having a support system is vital and will be a tremendous help along the way!
Find inspiration for a healthy way to support your thyroid