Click here to listen to a reading of this blog:
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 often like to talk about it with others so we don’t feel alone. Let us get things off our chest too, it’s very healthy and can help us to process the change in our lives.
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 even 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.
We’re really grateful for those little things.
3. “What has worked for you?”
Treating and managing hypothyroidism is often not as simple as you’d think, so we tend to have to try quite 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, 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 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 understand and 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 all about 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’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 struggles 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 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 learnt 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. “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. Again, your support is going to be key in us making progress with our health.
9. “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. People with hypothyroidism 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.
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.
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.