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Originally published on 6th February 2018 Last updated on 21st November 2018
What is it like living with a hypothyroid partner?
My husband and other half of over nine years wrote this blog after a particularly hard day of trying to support me through my physical and mental health struggles. It’s honest and raw. I hope not only fellow thyroid warriors but also their other halves and friends and family will find this insightful.
Written by Adam Gask, my husband and other half of nine years. Long time partner of someone living with Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism.
What is it like living with a hypothyroid partner?
Hard. There is no clearer way to say it. There are good days, bad days and golden days. It’s a struggle mentally, physically and emotionally, for both you and for her.
On the bad days, you need to keep going. Just keep on going. Just keep on swimming. To make sure you remember that no matter how tired you are, how mentally drained you feel, how emotionally unstable you may feel, it is nothing compared to how she feels. Nothing. Not even close. Forget it.
You need to step up, carry the extra weight or burdens in order to make things a little easier. Because she needs you. She wants you to be there for her.
On the bad days, it can hit you like a tonne of bricks from nowhere. And over time you need to build up a tolerance to the bad days, to take more in your stride and know how to handle them. To have a cool head and be the mast in the storm you’re both going through. It can happen last thing at night, during the night or first thing in the morning. It can be the smallest or it can be the biggest of things. You get better over time at judging what makes things worse or simply doesn’t help, but you’ll never get it 100% right. Know that and work with that. You just learn to try and not make the same mistakes twice.
As time goes on I’ve come to know that on those bad days, you can be both the hero and villain all at once. To be the hero they need to make sure they can keep putting one step in front of the other, the villain to make sure they get to bed on time and take those supplements or do the routines she hates.
You come to treasure the things that make her better. Being the one to make her that breakfast which makes her feel better first thing, or to help her have those few more spoons. To make sure she does take the car and not walk, even though she really wants to, because you want to make sure she can get through to lunchtime, where you can go and see her to bring her some chocolate. To be the one who brings that spark back in her, that you both remember.
You try so hard to do the little things to help; to do things around the house. To try and make their lives that little bit easier. It isn’t always enough though, be prepared for that. It might be the wrong word said here, the wrong thing done there, but do the things you know makes things better. That foot massage she needs to be able to sleep. That hot bath with the bubbles she likes, just right – not too hot though. Do the things you said you’d do. Pick up your socks. Do the washing up. Make that extra trip to the shop when she’s feeling low. Get her her favourite ice cream. Do the things only you know to make sure she gets everything she needs to feel better.
Because when she does feel better, those are the Golden days. The days where everything feels that little bit normal. The days where you can be the ages you really are. To be with the one you fell in love with all day instead of in glimpses. Those days don’t happen all that often. They require the stars to align just right. Sometimes you can get close, and those are the good days. Days where we might be able to do all the things we wanted to do. To be silly. To laugh together. To cuddle and watch all the things we want to. To watch that next episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. To get Netflix to ask “Are you still watching”. These are the golden days that make it all worth it. And it is all worth it.
I love you Rachel. Forever and Always x
Adam, long term partner of a someone with a chronic illness
Feel free to share your own experience of how hypothyroidism has affected your relationship, 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. It contains information on living with a hypothyroid person, managing their home life, fertility, energy levels, employment, as well as many other topics.
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We often forget to recognise that strain that chronic illnesses can put on a relationship and I dread to think of how many relationships and marriages have broke down due to hypothyroidism.
I have a whole chapter that talks to the friend or family member of someone with hypothyroidism, in my book, Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate: When You’re Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired.
Remember that professional help is also out there and as well as face to face services, online mental health support is becoming increasingly popular and convenient, for both thyroid patients and their family/other halves.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
THe following links HAve BEEN SPONSORED BY BetterHelp and ReGAIN.US.
See Better Help for more info on counselling for yourself: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/get-free-online-therapy-should-you-use-free-counseling/
and Regain.us for marriage counselling: https://www.regain.us/advice/marriage/confidentiality-should-i-seek-marriage-counseling-near-me/
If you would like to submit a guest post, whether you’re a thyroid patient, doctor or anyone else, please get in contact.
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and award-winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, blogger, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. She has two books: ‘Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate‘ and ‘You, Me and Hypothyroidism‘. Her thyroid advocacy work includes authoring books, writing articles, blogging and speaking on podcasts. Rachel has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, BBC, The Mighty, Yahoo, MSN, ThyroidChange and more. She is well-recognised as a useful contributor to the thyroid community and has received eight 2020 WEGO Health Award Nominations.