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Thyroid Disease: I Don’t Always Look Sick, But I Am

Thyroid Disease: You Don't Look Sick

There was an article recently published on YahooBeauty (formally YahooHealth) which told a woman’s story of living with chronic pain. She discussed how people around her assumed she was okay because she put on makeup. This made me think that those of us that live with hypothyroidism or thyroid dysfunction in general are treated similarly, especially from our health care “professionals”.

Until we get the diagnosis and treatment we require, we will spend our days feeling exhausted yet unable to sleep at night. Or we will feel upset at the fact that we gained more weight and everyone is commenting on it, but we know we are trying everything we can to lose it. Until we get the help we need we will suffer from a mostly invisible illness.

So, like Anna Evenosky who wrote “To Those Who Assume I Feel Good Because I’m Wearing Makeup,” I find it necessary to address all of those individuals that tell us every day, “You’re fine,” or “You don’t look sick,” or “Just suck it up,” and this includes the unknowledgeable physicians. Unfortunately this list of comments can get even worse including, “It’s all in your head,” or “You brought this on yourself!”

Just because we get up and go to work, take care of the people around us, put on makeup to make ourselves feel better, or just plain “don’t look sick”, doesn’t mean we’re not fighting to get through the day.

“People assume because I may look good, I feel good,” but anyone who has an illness that is not immediately visible will tell you that this is not the case.

Yes, we try to live as normal a life as we can (whatever that is), but unfortunately this daily struggle with being exhausted and simply not feeling well has become the new normal.

Many people don’t understand the countless symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction and how severe they can be ranging from fatigue to weight gain to infertility to compromised cardiac health. The current list of symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction has over 300 items on it!

Unfortunately, this attitude can continue even after we’ve been given treatment. People and physicians will begin to say, “You should be feeling better by now.” Well, the truth is: what should be happening is not always what is happening. I should feel energized and full of life at my age, but that’s not the case.

So, to those of you that are saying or thinking these things, can I challenge you to simply believe us when we say we don’t feel well and don’t assume that just because we look okay we suddenly are. And to my fellow thyroid dysfunction sufferers, may I challenge you to share this post with your loved ones so they can get a little more insight into you.

About the Author

Naomi Parker

Patient Advocate

Naomi Parker is a patient advocate that is enthralled by the medical field. Hypothyroidism became a topic of interest over the last few years while she worked amongst alternative medicine doctors as a front office assistant. She believes that information is key and strives to become better informed so as to help others achieve success and wellness.

Naomi has written various articles concerning hypothyroidism including information on diagnostics and treatment. She enjoys learning alongside others and passing on vital information regarding this condition. Naomi is actively monitoring and writing for the National Academy of Hypothyroidism both on the site and social media.

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