Whether you are newly diagnosed with hypothyroidism or have been living with it for years, you probably meet people all the time who know little or nothing about the disease. Or maybe what they think they know is wrong and based on myths, such as it’s all in people’s heads or you just need to take a pill every day and you’ll go back to feeling normal.
If only it were that easy.
Chances are, when you were diagnosed with an under active thyroid, you began a crash course on hypothyroidism and how to treat it. It’s actually a very complex illness with an equally complex treatment.
Many hypothyroid patients learn to be their own thyroid health advocates through trial and error. Whether you advocate simply for yourself or branch out to try and help others, there are several things you can do to change how hypothyroidism is perceived.
Don’t Try to Do It Alone
Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help when you need it. Dealing with hypothyroidism at any stage is a challenge. Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been living with it for years, you can’t always do it all.
There will be times when you’re extra tired or stress will start to overwhelm you. That’s when you need to take care of yourself and start asking for help. Whether you need a friend to run an errand or some help to complete a project at work, don’t be afraid to speak up.
Trying to do too much is the quickest way to burn out and end up completely stressed out or worse. And reaching out to others will help them better understand the challenges thyroid patients face.
Talk About Your Experiences
Don’t be shy about sharing your experiences with others. You probably have examples of the many ways that hypothyroidism affects you every day. That doesn’t mean talking about it non-stop to anyone who will listen. But when you find someone who’s curious or who may be wondering if they also have thyroid issues, be open and share your story.
There are so many facets of hypothyroidism you can share with others. Helping them to get a glimpse of what living with hypothyroidism is like can be eye opening for other patients and their friends and family as well.
If you feel like branching out even further, reach out online. There are many blogs and websites for people with hypothyroidism where you can comment and share your experiences. If you’re feeling really bold, start a blog of your own and reach out to educate and enlighten others.
Talk with Your Doctor
Don’t be afraid to speak up during your thyroid doctor visits. Sadly, many hypothyroid patients feel dismissed by their doctors. Even though more information is learned about hypothyroidism and treatment every day, many doctors stick to older ways of treatment.
If your doctor simply tests TSH without a full thyroid panel, speak up or try Paloma’s at-home test kit. Share information you’ve learned and explain your symptoms and how they affect you.
Helping doctors to better understand your symptoms and experiences can help him or her to give better overall treatment to their patients.
There are many ways today to help people suffering from hypothyroidism. If you read a book that helped you, pass it on to a friend. If you find a website full of helpful information, tell friends or fellow hypothyroid patients.
Do you have a thyroid healthy recipe that you love? Share it with other thyroid patients. Invite a friend over for lunch or have a party to share recipes and healthy ways to live with hypothyroidism.
Being open and aware of ways you can help others can be a game-changer for many. We never know how many people we can help until we take that first step and reach out.
Reach Out to Other Patients
If you know someone with hypothyroidism who is newly diagnosed or struggling with their symptoms offer your help. Maybe they just need someone to listen to them who understands. Feeling validated and that you’re not alone can make a big difference to someone who’s struggling.
Or maybe they need advice that you can share. Sharing your experiences and advice on doctors who listen, nutrition, and coping with symptoms can be a help to others who are struggling.
How were you feeling before you were diagnosed? What thyroid symptoms did you have? How long did it take to get your diagnosis? What test(s) did your doctor run? What medication did they prescribe? Did the thyroid medication work for you? Are you on a different medicine now? What foods do you eat? Do you still suffer from any symptoms?
There are so many ways to reach out and help people better understand hypothyroidism and the best ways to deal with it.
Perceptions about hypothyroidism appear to be changing, but there are still too many patients who struggle to get good care. You can help educate and inform others—from doctors to patients and to friends, family and co-workers of patients. That can go a long way in helping people who are suffering from hypothyroidism to get better and more complete care.