If you're living with thyroid disease, you might struggle with negative thought patterns that hinder healing. These can stem from negative statements such as "But, you're always 'sick", from your partner, coworkers, or children.
It seems like they're accusing you of being ill on purpose as if you're making it up. It's frustrating and heartbreaking.
Unfortunately, many people with thyroid disease deal with this guilt from disappointing loved ones too often.
When you're dealing with an assault from symptoms such as overwhelm and panic from anxiety or extreme fatigue, it is impossible to give others what they need. It spills over into every part of your daily life- work, school, hanging out with your family and friends. You feel alone.
The worst thing is when you have a string of really great days, and then the following week, you're feeling awful and canceling plans again.
Habits of people with thyroid disease
It's so devastating when your friends, family, or boss don't believe that you're sick and don't understand your suffering. To add to this, most of us aren't good at asking for help.
Most people with thyroid and autoimmune disease have similar characteristics, such as:
- They are type-A people who pressure themselves to do everything without help.
- They are nurturers who take care of everyone else, often to their own hurt.
- Most are control freaks- everything needs to be perfect.
- Although type-A, they may be shy or insecure and worry a lot about what others think of them.
- They mostly avoid conflict at all costs. They don't feel comfortable in arguments and can quickly feel overpowered by others.
- Often, they feel isolated from others, even family. Some things are too private to share, such as their beliefs or life choices, and they hide their real personalities to gain the love and approval of others.
- Because they have challenges in expressing themselves directly, they usually feel angry towards others because confrontation is uncomfortable.
The guilt comes from wanting to be the person in control, taking care of others, but the symptoms can make that impossible.
The most important way to help yourself and loved ones cope with your disease is to talk about it.
It's scary to talk about thyroid dysfunction and our symptoms, but it will help people understand some of the most common misconceptions about this condition.
Misconceptions about thyroid disease
Some of the things that well-meaning people in your life could have told you include:
- You need to just push through.
- It's just in your head.
- You're not sick; you're a hypochondriac.
- It's easily fixed, so get over it!
- Your anxiety is a choice.
So how do you combat these misconceptions by people who think you're making it up or looking for attention? What's the solution for the massive guilt you feel that you can't live up to expectations?
Five steps to dealing with thyroid guilt
- Determine the source of your guilt. Guilt stems from fear, so what makes you afraid? Is it not doing your best at home or work? Not being a good parent or friend? Try journaling to examine these feelings and their source. If you write a lot of "should" statements (such as I should be able to clean the house), remember that is somebody else talking!
- Forgive yourself. After you've identified your fears, ask yourself if they're unfounded. Are they logical? Probably not. You have a medical condition. It's crucial not to blame yourself for that, or for the "symptoms" of having that disease, like not being the "perfect" parent, friend, or partner.
- Stop the negative self-talk. You can only forgive yourself when you're not putting yourself down. Pay attention to what you're saying to yourself. List the negative things you tell yourself. Consider whether you would say any of those things to your best friend, partner, or child. If the answer is no, then why is it OK to tell them to yourself? Commit to trying to recognize and stop the self-bashing.
- Take action towards healing. You didn't choose to be ill, but you can commit to getting well. You have to take daily action and take the steps necessary to heal.
- Share your experience. Now is the perfect time to commit to being open with your loved ones about your experience with the disease. Discuss what the condition is, how it feels physically, how their words make you feel, the steps you're taking to get better so you can be more present, and what support you need so you can heal. Request them to accept where you are and what your experience and that they are compassionate as you work to get better.
The Sole Toscana Beauty Team