Originally published on 25th March 2016 Last updated on 20th September 2019
The other week, I did a post about things you shouldn’t say to someone with hypothyroidism.
Now for something more positive!
1. “How are you doing?”
This simple question shows you care about us and how we’re doing, and that you understand we may have a bit of a battle with getting well again.
It’s nice to know that someone cares and we may like to talk about our health with others so we don’t feel so alone. If you can be an ear to us getting frustrating experiences off our chest too, it’s hugely beneficial and can help us to process the changes in our lives that thyroid disease can bring.
2. “Can I do anything to help?”
Most commonly, you won’t be able to do an awful lot, but we can benefit from you helping us with errands, housework or giving an ear to listen. 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, but we’ll rarely turn down the offer of a cup of tea and a chat. Little things mean a lot to us when we’re struggling.
3. “What has worked for you? / Has anything be useful?”
Treating and managing hypothyroidism is often not as simple as you’d think. We may have to try a few medications, lifestyle adjustments and more 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, frustrating and really testing at times, so we may find it helpful to share with you what we’ve learned and what we’re going through.
It’s comforting to know you understand that it isn’t a simple ‘one size fits all’ disease.
4. “I respect your opinions / I support your choices.”
Try not to dismiss us when we say that we know something isn’t right, or that a particular 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 regimen if we feel it’s the best thing for us. Really just try to listen to us.
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 what it’s like living with a thyroid condition. If anything, it’s great 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 can affect our lives.
6. “You seem to be making progress.”
If we’re looking better, brighter, happier, healthier, then let us know! It’s reassuring to know that our hard work at improving our health is paying off. Thyroid patients can lack motivation due to the disease and many of us battle with mental health struggles that make it difficult to stay positive.
Some reminders every now and then that we’re making progress (no matter how small) can go a long way in giving us the boost we need to carry on progressing in our journey to feeling better.
7. “How is the book you’re reading?”
See us reading a thyroid book? A study or some research? Health magazine? A blog? Articles online maybe? Ask us what it’s about, if it’s any good and what we may have learned from it. It’s nice to see some interest from those around us and we’d like to share what we learn with you too.
8. “Could you 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. Again, your support is going to be key in us making progress with our health.
9. “Keep on going.”
When hypothyroidism 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 unwell, is enough to make someone very depressed and / or anxious. People with hypothyroidism can get better, and although it’s not always easy, it is possible.
But we may need gentle nudges and direction to keep on at it.
Would you add anything to this list? Let me know in the comments below.
This excerpt is from the book You, Me and Hypothyroidism: When Someone You Love Has Hypothyroidism. A book for those who know someone with hypothyroidism, such as a spouse or partner. More information on libido as well as many other topics can be found in the full book.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Please remember that if you’re a thyroid patient living with poor mental health or lingering physical symptoms, that you don’t have to live this way. To address why you may still be feeling unwell (often despite being on thyroid medication too), please see this article and go through each suggestion, putting your thyroid jigsaw back together.