Imagine this: You have slept for a full night and you wake up feeling like you can sleep for another day. You have discovered that you have an amazing ability to fall asleep anywhere (literally anywhere) and anytime you talk, you stumble over the words that you’re trying to say because you’re incredibly foggy. Oh and forget about going out with your friends because the thought of any extra activity makes you want to pass out. The best part is when you overhear others saying “[insert your name] never wants to go out or do anything…what’s wrong with him/her”. You literally want to go up to them and scream “I have a thyroid disease!!” but you know that they’ll just think that you’re weird. This has been the story of my life for a very long time.
However, I will never forget what my neurobiology professor told me in college. She told me that I have to find other people that understand because they have a similar condition, or they want to understand. Whoa. You get so used to feeling alone that you forget that you have a lot of people that really care about you without even realizing it sometimes.
I found as many forums ands support groups that I could. Pinterest boards became my friend because I could laugh at the funny memes about the struggle of having a thyroid disease. I used to feel alone because I was so afraid that if I mentioned my thyroid disease, people would automatically assume that I was just making excuses. I used to love to spark up conversations with people when I’d go to the doctor, not because I wanted to have a pity party with them, but because I wanted to hear about their journey and the things that they’ve learned (I am typically the youngest person in my endocrinologist’s office). It was such an uplifting experience for me.
Soon I started to realize that I didn’t have to wait until I was at the endocrinologist’s office in order to have meaningful conversations with others. I had to allow myself to be open to others around me. It didn’t take long. I didn’t necessarily tell people about my condition, rather, I talked to them about their day, what their interests were and what their favorite food was (because food is my love language). Getting to know others made me feel really good. After talking to others I quickly learned so much about them and their families. I enjoyed talking to others so much that I can now easily spark a conversation with a complete stranger.
Whenever I felt sad, I’d pick up the phone and call someone that I really care about. I don’t necessarily tell them that something is wrong, but I do let them know how much they mean to me. It doesn’t take more than five minutes before I feel better. It’s about quality, not quantity. Try it out! The next time you feel sad call a friend and just talk to them. I bet you’ll feel better!
The lesson that I’ve learned is that sometimes you have to create your own support group. Surround yourself with others that will push you when you need it, support you when you’re down, and will be able to make you smile. When you’re comfortable, you can talk to others about your condition. It’s about your comfort level. Explain it in terms that they will be able to follow. Remember, don’t feel bad for the cards that you’ve been dealt. Just work the game of life until you can create your royal flush.
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