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7 Things You Can Do to Change How Hypothyroidism Is Perceived

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I’ve made it no secret that as hypothyroid patients, we often feel put down, not listened to and belittled. So what can we do to change that? Here are seven things I recommend:

1. I set up my blog, The Invisible Hypothyroidism, and started writing articles for The Mighty to share my own experiences with hypothyroidism, and then, when I got a diagnosis for it, adrenal fatigue, too. There, I started sharing what I was learning along the way, putting together blogs referencing books and other sites. I also write about my personal experiences.  I hope all of these things help others.

2. We can make those around us aware of what we have to put up with by sharing stories such as my open letter. We should also be honest with our office colleagues about how it can affect our work and our ability to complete tasks. We should aim to make our family aware because we may need their help at times when it gets tough. We shouldn’t feel ashamed about having a condition we’re not at fault for. We shouldn’t feel ashamed to ask for help sometimes.

3. In my articles and blogs, I share what has worked for me, what can work for others and what frustrates me about living with thyroid disorders. We can all do this. Whether it’s posting or sharing things on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, we can all make those around us more aware.

You don’t have to blog or write articles yourself, but you can share them. You can show your passion for better awareness, understanding and treatment of thyroid conditions that way. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll start to get somewhere. If you read a good article, blog, website or book, please share it with those in your life.

4. We should ask friends and family for help when we need it and explain that if we can’t meet their expectations all the time, then it isn’t our fault. We need to learn to put our foot down, too. If we suspect that friends or family members could also have thyroid problems, then we should encourage them to get properly tested and assist them with getting better.

5. We can fundraise where possible. There are quite a few thyroid charities out there that need our support. I chose Thyroid UK to fundraise for, as their beliefs are very much aligned with my own. They’re a small charity and money raised will go towards their campaigns for us to be heard, a new website to better deliver invaluable information about hypothyroidism and their research and studies.

6. We can also share what we learn with our doctors and endocrinologists, so it can hopefully help other patients that they see, too. Sharing books with them can be helpful. Just make sure not to do it in an undermining way; a lot of doctors won’t take kindly to this. Ask them to consider reading some suggestions and to listen to your personal experiences. We should share with them what has been helping us and what hasn’t, so they can become more aware and give us better treatment.

7. We can also get involved within the community by setting up face to face groups and meetings to support those with thyroid disease.

Whichever way we choose to raise awareness of hypothyroidism, you can be sure that it won’t be wasted. It won’t be easy to raise awareness and recognition, but every snowball starts with a single snowflake.

By working together, we have a better chance of making change and raising more awareness.

We must empower each other and show support when no one else does. We must stick together.

Follow this journey on The Invisible Hypothyroidism.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: September 1, 2016
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