A person is sitting crosslegged and has their eyes closed. They are meditating in the mountains with an app steaming light from their phone.

How Meditation Helped Me With TED

Last updated: November 2022

Why am I doing this? Sitting for ten minutes is way too long! It’s practically an eternity!! Who decided ten minutes was the lucky time to meditate? Why is this meditation guide person talking so slowly? Talk faster! How has it only been three minutes? Longest three minutes of my life! My legs are so uncomfortable. My eyes are uncomfortable. I don’t want to do this. There is no way I am making it to ten minutes.

These were the thoughts racing through my mind when I meditated for the first time. My mom suggested that maybe meditation could help me with my anxiety and cope with my thyroid eye disease (TED) better. With reluctance, I downloaded a meditation app and clicked the first session that was available for free.

Changing comfort level

I hated it. I felt so uncomfortable in my own body. I did not want to sit still, period. I wanted to either be distracted or overthinking all the time. I didn’t want to watch my thoughts pass by in my head like clouds in the sky.

My mom said it takes a while to become comfortable with doing absolutely nothing. Embracing the uncomfortableness of sitting cross-legged on the floor or on a bed for a certain amount of time every day is a process.

The more I meditated and I focused on my belly breathing, the more comfortable I became with lying on my back every day with knees bent and eyes closed. This meditation practice became an anchor I turned to when dealing with my TED. It allowed me to calm my emotions and steady my thoughts when my eyes were freaking out.

The relationship between my TED symptoms and meditation

When my eyes were irritated, randomly started watering, or hated the light, I would retreat to meditation. Closing my eyes, I could still feel how uncomfortable the swelling was. I tried my hardest to ignore it. It became a reset for my eyes too. It was a way for them to settle down from whatever symptom was bothering me at the moment.

There was a period in my TED journey where most of the symptoms had gone away, but I would have random moments on random days where one would come back and completely derail my entire day. My irritated eyes were the most common recurrence and loved to sneak up on me without warning.

At first, I would become so frustrated because my eyes were itching and watering at the same time. I thought I was done with this! Why was this still happening? I hadn’t had anything for months and now this is back and I hate it. I would allow myself to have those initial frustrations before grabbing my eye pillow, turning on my meditation app, and retreating into what I knew had helped me before.

Mediation helped my TED

For almost a year straight, I meditated every day. Meditation was a coping tool for me to get through those tough moments with TED where I could not do anything because of how bad my eyes were. It is important to have things that help you cope with all that you are experiencing with this unpredictable disease. Finding out what works for you and your body in times of stress is what will help you in the day-to-day.

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