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Originally published on 5th July 2016 Last updated on 12th March 2019
What can we do to change how hypothyroidism is perceived?
Isn’t that a question. I’ve made it no secret that as thyroid patients, we often feel put down, not listened to and belittled.
So what can we do to change that?
Share Our Personal Experiences and Thoughts
I set up my blog and started writing to scream and shout about my own experiences with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. I started sharing what I was learning on my own thyroid journey, putting together blogs referencing books and research. I also started writing about my own personal experiences with a thyroid condition. All of these things I hope help others and raise awareness. I then wrote my books Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate and You, Me and Hypothyroidism.
You can share your own thoughts too, by being honest with those around you about what you experience. Hold a bake sale at work to raise money for a thyroid charity and open discussion. We should be honest with our friends, family and work colleagues about how hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s can affect us with work or our ability to complete tasks.
By making our family aware, it is helpful when we may need their help in future due to this chronic illness.
2. Share Resources and Information
We can make those around us aware of what we have to put up with by sharing articles such as this open letter with them. I have also written a book especially for our friends, family, co-workers, partners and more, to help them understand what it is we experience.
In my articles and blogs, I share what has worked for me, what can work for others and what frustrates me about living with thyroid disease. We can all do this.
You can also get involved in campaigns for better thyroid disease management, treatment and diagnosis, and share them on your social media.
Whether it’s posting or sharing things to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, we can all make those around us and in our lives, more aware. You don’t have to blog or write articles yourself, but you can share them. You can show your passion for better awareness, understanding and treatment of thyroid conditions that way. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll start to get somewhere.
If you read a good article, blog, website, book etc. do share it with those in your life.
3. Ask for Help When Needed
We should ask friends and family for help when we need it, and explain that if we can’t meet their expectations with some things, then it isn’t our fault.
By being honest about what we experience and where and when we may need support, it can open others’ eyes.
4. Fundraise For Thyroid Charities
We can fundraise where possible too.
There are quite a few thyroid charities out there that need our support. Money raised go towards their campaigns for us to be heard, updating websites or resources and completing their projects, research and studies. By working together, we have a better chance of making change and raising more awareness.
5. Work With Our Doctors
We should also try to share what we learn with our doctors or chosen medical professionals, so that we can build a good relationship to improve our thyroid health on but also hopefully help other patients that they see too. If you want to explore other types of medical professionals that can be helpful to thyroid patients, please see this article.
Sharing books, research, studies and other literature with our doctors or medical professionals of choice can be helpful. You can ask them to please consider reading some suggestions and listening to your personal experiences.
My own GP is a good example of this. He sees how I needed a change in thyroid medication (from Levothyroxine to NDT) and supports me in being on it. He also runs all the thyroid tests I have asked for, after demonstrating how important I feel they are and why.
Whichever way you choose to raise awareness of hypothyroidism to encourage better treatment and testing, you can be sure that it isn’t wasted. It won’t be easy to raise awareness and recognition, but every snowball starts with a single snow flake.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
How do you choose to raise awareness?
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-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 multiple awards and recognitions for her work and dedication. Although British, she advocates for thyroid patients worldwide.