In general, I try not to talk about my Hashimoto’s to most people. I don’t really enjoy the question, “What’s wrong with you?” Yeah, people need to learn a bit of tact.
When talking about my health to others, I mentally take a quick assessment of the situation and decide if this person really wants to know or is just being polite. I’ve learned most people really don’t want to know the real answer because I see a glazed over look to their eyes once I start explaining.
So, my usual reply is “a thyroid disorder.” Most people stop there. Phew.
Then you have the few that ask more questions and really want to know what it is and how you are feeling. And I struggle with how to answer.
For the most part a thyroid disorder is accurate, but not really. It’s only part of the problem. Hashimoto’s is an immune system disorder, your body is producing antibodies that attack your thyroid.
Again, that really only describes a minor part of the illness. It doesn’t hit on how hard it is to get things done during the day because you are so tired. Or how you wake up and some part of your body always hurts. Or the weight gain that just keeps creeping up. Or how one day food agrees with you or the next day your tummy protests everything you eat.
It doesn’t describe the panic attacks that come out of no where due to a swing of your thyroid to a hyper state. It doesn’t explain why you wake up exhausted but yet you can’t fall asleep at night. And it really doesn’t mention how difficult it makes it to stay on task during the day.
Hashimoto’s is a person that never knows if what they feel is their new normal. A person that like me, probably spends a lot of time online trying to figure out how to help themselves feel better. A person trying to find the right balance of diet, exercise and supplements. (With out taking a mortgage out on the house to pay for it all!)
That’s really what Hashimoto’s is… a disorder that pretty much effects your entire life when it is not under control.
I have no desire to say those things to make someone feel bad for me but I want people to know that while some people may look ‘not sick’ there is so much more there. There is a person fighting to get to ‘normal’ and most often times don’t even have the help of a doctor that really understands how to treat Hashimoto’s.
You can do anything you want to ‘fix’ your thyroid, but unless you fix the underlying problem of your immune system, you are not doing yourself any favors.
I’m thankful to have my hashi’s under control right now. I know that it is a delicate balance I’ll always have to watch and maintain. But, for now, I’m happy to feel good and be moving forward.
How do you deal with talking about your health to others?