Why an Online Thyroid Support Group Could Help You

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Living with a thyroid condition such as hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s, can be really challenging. The amount to which people with these conditions are affected can differ hugely, and whereas some may feel that they’re able to go about their day to day lives mostly unaffected by the disease, for others this isn’t the case. 

Thyroid conditions can be frustrating and lonely to live with, therefore many patients find that they require support. Support can come in various forms, from needing someone to vent to, discussing ideas/interventions or changes for what may help and even sharing personal experiences to gain insight. They can all support the wellbeing of a thyroid patient.

Although support can be found in those around us, I hear from many thyroid patients who feel that friends, family, work colleagues and even their doctor just don’t understand what it is they go through. This is where talking to people going through the same condition, diagnosis, treatment and struggles can help.

Even though it is estimated that 750 million people in the world have some form of thyroid disease, including 1 in 20 people in the UK and more than 12% of the U.S. population, many thyroid patients say they don’t know anyone else in their lives with the condition. In my experience, they likely do but people don’t think to speak about it and so they’re not aware.

However, connecting with a support group is another option to finding others who understand.

I was someone who, after receiving their diagnosis of autoimmune hypothyroidism, immediately looked for some online forum or safe place to discuss my struggles and frustrations with those who would understand. I soon realised that support groups were not only useful for venting, but also in helping me get back to feeling healthy.

With the amount of knowledge administrators and members of these groups have, they can be hugely helpful in educating you about your condition, so that you can start getting better. Links to studies, articles, blogs and more are often shared and the information out there is forever expanding. Learning to embrace being your own advocate is a common theme and group members often enjoy helping others as someone helped them when they were new to the condition too.

As there is such a huge amount of information on thyroid conditions on the internet, this may be overwhelming to someone new to the condition. It certainly was for me! But online support groups provide that wealth of information which has been sifted through and checked to ensure it’s reliable and useful to members. This is incredibly useful and time saving.

Also knowing that you’re speaking about your frustrations, concerns and all the ups and downs of learning to manage a new life with a thyroid condition, to a group of people who ‘get it’, can help to reassure you that your thoughts and feelings are indeed valid and so this helps to support good mental health too. Many of us find we live with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression alongside hypothyroidism, but knowing that you’re being listened to and have a support network around you can improve these. They certainly did for me. I felt like an active member of a community again, when hypothyroidism left me feeling very hopeless.

Common questions and posts raised in these groups include discussion of tests results, medication and treatment options, symptoms and even lifestyle changes such as diet. Many fellow thyroid patients have a lot to share regarding what has and hasn’t worked for them and are willing to share this with you so that you can make progress in your thyroid health also.

Finding the right support group for you needn’t be a daunting task, though. I run one myself which I created after finding that none of the many I joined upon diagnosis (around 10!) contained the type of information combined with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, that I was needing. You can find my group here.

There are many platforms for support groups including Facebook and Health Unlocked, amongst others. So take a look today and decide if one may help you, too.

Some additional points:

As much as I do recommend support groups to thyroid patients, in order to help them back to good thyroid health, I do also give a few cautions, too.

For those newly diagnosed with a thyroid condition, joining a support group full of unwell people may be daunting and scary. Do remember that these groups and forums are mainly used by people who aren’t doing well on their medication, or didn’t to begin with, as that’s why they seek the support group out in the first place. Those who have always done well on their medication don’t really use these groups as they don’t need to. So there is a bias. Don’t be scared stiff by all the members still struggling to feel well!

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.

If you found this article helpful please take a moment to share this post on social media so we can help other Thyroid Warriors get better and spread awareness.

Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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Rachel Hill, Thyroid Patient Advocate, blogger and author, has Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites and has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Yahoo, MSN and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well-recognised as a useful contributor to the thyroid community and also contributed the foreword to Emily Kyle’s The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook.

2 thoughts on “Why an Online Thyroid Support Group Could Help You

  1. Dear Rachel.
    I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and went through cancer treatment over a course of 6 months. I then developed a underactive thyroid.
    I would really like to have a full investigation of my underactive thyroid as I’m struggling day to day and have been administering medication which I dont want to continue take as I prefer more natural safer alternatives. Please could you help .

    Thank you

    Michelle

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