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How TED Impacted My Mental Health

I have always had anxiety. Since I was a kid, I had always worried about all the big and small details of my life. Overthinking a lot of things on a daily basis was not uncommon for me. Being diagnosed with thyroid eye disease (TED) upped my daily anxiety to a moment-by-moment feeling.

Amplified anxiety with thyroid eye disease

With TED, everything felt out of my control. I had always strived to feel as though I had some control over my emotions. But with the onset of this disease came a lack of control I was not prepared for. This sense of unease lasted for months.

Early in my diagnosis, every symptom I had was added to the list of things I was anxious about. My double vision made my reality scary and, at times, humorous when people would suddenly have four eyes. Anxiety would sit on my shoulders as I read a book, anticipating words splitting into two. Light became uncomfortable. The sun would blind my eyes every time I would walk outside. White light bulbs would make a room or a store unbearable to be in without sunglasses and a baseball hat.

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The swelling around my eyes and their ever-changing appearance caused a lot of negative feelings. I no longer looked how I knew my eyes to look. My face changed. My cheekbones became more prominent. I looked in the mirror and no longer recognized the person staring back at me. All of it was too much to handle.

Writing as an outlet

When I get anxious, I write. Write out my thoughts, get them on paper, and try to understand them better. Or that’s what I used to do. When I was diagnosed with TED, I stopped writing or I would write around how I was actually feeling. My words were vague and delicate. I refused to acknowledge it. I was in survival mode, just trying to get through it.

A family friend suggested six months into my TED journey that I try writing down my feelings and what I had been experiencing. I’m a writer, writing has always been a creative and therapeutic outlet for me, maybe it would be good to do so or at least try. I wrote a lot of negative things because I was feeling all of the negative things because I was experiencing a lot of negativity from this disease.

TED gave me an awareness of my anxiety

It was not all negative. TED gave me an awareness of my anxiety that I would not have now had I not experienced it. I know my behaviors when I have anxiety and how I respond to change. I know that my anxiety comes in waves and that every big wave I have will eventually turn into another emotion. I have more patience with the steps that I take and how to breathe through the hard moments.

The more time went by, the more I began to recognize patterns in my symptoms and how I responded to them. I learned that every uncomfortable moment is temporary. I noticed my anxiety became less overwhelming. I realized that I will live through the hard moments which made me see I have more control than I think.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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