Jackie Bacom Stone, Contributor
Today is my late father’s birthday, he’s been gone three years now and in light of that, I am writing this post on Self Acceptance. He is the one who taught me all the goodness in my life and showed me that my value is based on just being myself, not who I was or what I could do.
I see so many posts by people in my thyroid groups that make me so sad. They are frustrated and just want to give up because they feel useless or have family and friends that make them feel bad for being sick. Or, even worse, their family makes them feel awful by calling them lazy or telling them to just suck it up and get over it. It’s a very sad and painful feeling to be sick all the time and to have your friends, family, coworkers, employers, students and acquaintances think that you are just lazy or being a drama queen/king.
It is just not true.
We thyroid patients are truly sick with a disease that cannot always be seen from the outside, it is invisible to most. We are constantly tired to the point of exhaustion, freezing cold or sweating to death, we have painful and swollen joints and muscles, irregular or fast heart rates, our blood pressure is too high or too low, we have terrible digestive problems, weird rashes, dizzy spells, we swell up all the time, gain weight despite what we do to lose it, we have depression and anxiety, and I could go on and on. You get the point, right??
So why the negativity from our closest family, friends or coworkers? Do they think that thyroid disease is an easy fix?
Most people don’t get it unless they have it and that makes us feel bad about being sick. It hurts tremendously to know that other people think that we are just lazy or making up excuses to not have to do anything. We start to withdraw from life and people and the things we love doing. I hate being told that if I would just exercise, or eat right, or even just think positive, that my life will get so much better. That if I did any or all of those things, for myself and my thyroid, that I won’t be sick anymore.!? Or non-thyroid sympathizers will say, just take a pill and that will solve everything. Or, I have a friend or relative and they take pill and they are fine. (are they? really? fine?) Oh, if only it were that simple, my life would be perfect and fabulous all the time. They just don’t get it and it hurts!
I have always been a busy body and I was always a doer. I got things done. I had the energy and the want to, to be able to do whatever it was that needed to be done…I didn’t even think about it, I just did it.
When I became sick, it was just horrible. I was so sick, for so long, that I had a hard time even taking care of myself. At first, I had to have my sister come and help me until I was strong enough to do things myself and that was especially hard for me…I was the caretaker, I was the one who made sure everyone else was ‘OK’. Or at least, that is how it used to be. It actually still bothers me, to this day, that I need help with certain things.
My thyroid issues made me very angry for a while and I withdrew from social activities and from people that I loved, because I just felt so tired and so bad all the time. They made me feel that way about myself, at times, too. I was suffering from thyroid disease yet, they could make me feel even worse than I already did. I felt useless, like I couldn’t do anything for anyone anymore, and that left me in an extremely depressed state.
People didn’t get it, they just saw me from the outside, looking normal, like nothing was wrong, at all. A lot of them still don’t.
It has been three years since I was first diagnosed with Graves Disease. It has been a long, hard, scary, and depressing road, but I am still here even though I have wanted to give up many, many, times….I just couldn’t do it…it’s just not in me to give up. My mom and dad were very strong and loving people who supported me in everything I did, even when they knew it was a bad idea…they did it so that I would learn my own lessons, I know. But, the biggest gift they ever gave me was complete and total unconditional Love. I always knew that they loved me and valued me beyond belief and that alone has contributed to me being who I am today.
I am here to tell you that you are worthy just because you are…you don’t need anyone to tell you that you are or to make you feel accepted. You are! We all have value in this world and we are all important. Just, because. If someone is telling you that you are lazy or crazy or whatever it is they are saying that is tearing you down and making you feel bad, it’s not you. It most definitely is NOT your problem…it’s a problem that THEY are having. Normal, kind people don’t go around tearing other people down, angry people do that. Positive people, lift people up. Find happy and upbeat people to be around that understand you. Find them online if you are too tired to do anything. They are there.
We all have a purpose here on Earth, even if you don’t see it, you do. Yours may be, to tell someone the very things that I am writing about. Or, your purpose might be to expose more about thyroid disease to the world or even, just to smile at someone who needs it, as much as we thyroid sufferers do.
Never, ever, give up or let someone make you feel less than you are. We are Warriors and Thrivers because we live with an invisible illness that debilitates us yet, we still get up and go on about our business, we still try to do all the things that we used to do, and we still have hope that someday, we’ll find what makes us feel better. We may go about it a little differently than everyone else and we may have days that we just do nothing, but that doesn’t have any correlation with our self-worth. It has everything to do with what we deal with, on a daily basis and the fact that we still try every day to fit into what everyone else says is normal.
We do all of these ‘normal’ things even with having thyroid disease, and feeling bad and miserable. It is OK to try to do these things every day, but it’s also OK to just have a down day (or a few) and to just do whatever it is you need to do. To take care of you. It is OK to feel the way you feel. Don’t let other people tell you how you feel or tell you that it’s wrong to feel the way you feel.
When you are feeling useless or unworthy because you yourself, or someone else is telling you that, just stop it!
8 Tips for handling negative comments or actions about your invisible thyroid illness:
- Take a deep breath and think of something, anything positive.
- Don’t let yourself get into an argument about defending your illness.
- Try to empathize with negative thoughts from family or friends, as maybe they are going through something you don’t know about.
- Stick to light topics of discussion if you are with someone who is generally negative.
- Let any negative comments ‘roll off your shoulders’ and ignore them.
- Praise the person for positive things, maybe they’ll get the hint.
- Always remember, you are worthy, no matter what.
- You are NOT your ‘invisible’ illness.
Remember we are all here for a reason and we all have value, we need to recognize and honor this. The sooner you accept and love yourself, no matter what, the better off you’ll be. Not to mention, you’ll feel so much better, too. That is the sole purpose with us thyroid patients, right? We just want to feel better and to feel useful and worthy and to remember what our so-called ‘normal’ feels like again.
Don’t ever give up and never let someone make you feel bad. Raise that chin, square up those shoulders and show them your fighting face.
We are Warriors and Thyroid Thrivers and should act accordingly! (when we can) Have a great day!
About the Author
Jackie Bacom Stone, Hi! I’m Jackie, I am 46 years old and was diagnosed with Graves disease in 2012 and Hashimoto’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2014. I love writing and learning about all things Thyroid and just health and wellness in general. I am on a journey to get healthy and to help others get there too and would love to someday get back or at least close to the life I had before. There is a new me that I’ve had to accept and learn to live with and I’m ok with that, but I just know there is more out there that I can do to feel good again. I will try my hardest to help you along in your journey also and show you a little of my silly sense of humor too…without my sense of humor, I would probably just cry all the time and I like to laugh way more than I like crying, so here’s to a positive attitude, healthy eating, and healthy bodies!
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