The Honest Confessions of a Hypothyroid Patient's Spouse
What is it like living with a hypothyroid partner? What can they do to help?
I woke up one morning to a long Facebook message from my fiancé and other half of almost eight and a half years. I was having a particularly bad week in terms of my physical health and this was affecting my mental health, too.
What he stayed up to write and send to me was honest and raw. I hope not only fellow thyroid warriors but also their other halves and friends and family will find what he shared with me, insightful.
Written by Adam Gask, long-time partner of someone living with Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal fatigue, anxiety disorder and depression:
“What is it like living with a hypothyroid partner? Hard. There is no clearer way to say it. There are good days, bad days and golden days. It’s a struggle mentally, physically and emotionally, for both you and for her.
On the bad days, you need to keep going. Just keep on going. Just keep on swimming. To make sure you remember that no matter how tired you are, how mentally drained you feel, how emotionally unstable you may feel, it is nothing compared to how she feels. Nothing. Not even close. Forget it. You need to step up, carry the extra weight or burdens in order to make things a little easier. Because she needs you. She wants you to be there for her.
On the bad days, it can hit you like a ton of bricks from nowhere. And over time you need to build up a tolerance to the bad days, to take more in your stride and know how to handle them. To have a cool head and be the mast in the storm you’re both going through. It can happen last thing at night, during the night or first thing in the morning. It can be the smallest or it can be the biggest of things. You get better over time at judging what makes things worse or simply doesn’t help, but you’ll never get it 100 percent right. Know that and work with that. You just learn to try and not make the same mistakes twice.
As time goes on I’ve come to know that on those bad days, you can be both the hero and villain all at once. To be the hero they need to make sure they can keep putting one step in front of the other, the villain to make sure they get to bed on time and take those supplements or do the routines she hates.
You come to treasure the things that make her better. Being the one to make her that breakfast which makes her feel better first thing, or to help her have those few more spoons. To make sure she does take the car and not walk, even though she really wants to, because you want to make sure she can get through to lunchtime, where you can go and see her to bring her some chocolate. To be the one who brings that spark back in her, that you both remember.
You try so hard to do the little things to help, to do things around the house. To try and make their lives that little bit easier. It isn’t always enough though, be prepared for that. It might be the wrong word said here, the wrong thing done there, but do the things you know make things better. That foot massage she needs to be able to sleep. That hot bath with the bubbles she likes, just right – not too hot though. Do the things you said you’d do. Pick up your socks. Do the washing up. Make that extra trip to the shop when she’s feeling low. Get her her favorite ice cream. Do the things only you know to make sure she gets everything she needs to feel better.
Because when she does feel better, those are the golden days. The days where everything feels that little bit normal. The days where you can be the ages you really are. To be with the one you fell in love with all day instead of in glimpses. Those days don’t happen all that often. They require the stars to align just right. Sometimes you can get close, and those are the good days. Days where we might be able to do all the things we wanted to do. To be silly. To laugh together. To cuddle and watch all the things we want to. To watch that next episode of “Friends.” To get Netflix to ask, “Are you still watching?” These are the golden days that make it all worth it. And it is all worth it. ”
I love you, Rachel. Forever and Always x”
We often forget or don’t consciously acknowledge how difficult it can be for someone to live with a chronically or mentally unwell other half. The strain it can put on the relationship and often, how much more that healthier person has to carry, in the relationship, is missed. For most couples who consist of someone with chronic or mental health struggles, it’s often not a 50/50 relationship in terms of both sharing tasks and responsibilities. Some days it is, but often it’s more like 30/70 or 10/90.
This post originally appeared on The Invisible Hypothyroidism.
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