A woman hesitates to write as she clutches a pencil. The seasons are changing behind her.

Going Through the Motions of Emotion

Last updated: August 2022

From October 2018 to March 2020, I was in a constant state of worry over my eyes. Being worried was nothing new to me but suddenly I had something specific to focus on. Something I could not control. It was out of my grasp completely. When one of my senses was no longer manageable, everything else became heightened. When one sense became unreliable, everything shifted and became off-balanced. It felt like I was submerged under water, just trying to push through it hoping it would get better. I was just trying to survive the inconsistencies of this disease.

Seasons of emotion in my thyroid eye disease journey

I was not prepared to be diagnosed with thyroid eye disease (TED). Physically I had no idea what was about to happen to me nor was I mentally ready to process something that would consume my daily life for a year and a half. My TED journey was ever-changing. Some days were good, though the good days were few and far between for a very long time.

Moving forward and standing still

In winter, I was depressed. Overwhelmed by the patterns with this disease I had not yet figured out, I felt hopeless. It felt like time was moving forward but I stood still. Nothing made sense. I did not have any place to put my feelings. I couldn’t be mad at myself or my body. I didn’t do anything to cause this disease. I rarely wrote anything about TED while I was in the thick of it. I’m a writer who refused to write because writing about it overwhelmed me. I couldn’t process it when I was in it. I had to get through it first.

Sensitivity to light

By summer, I realized how much I hated light. My eyes felt like they were burning when I would go outside without sunglasses and a hat. I hadn’t quite yet figured out the patterns I was experiencing. I was constantly uncomfortable with the swelling around my eyes. My eyes were big and wide. Exposed in a way I had never experienced before. And I was miserable because of it.

A shift in emotions and coping

The autumn and winter were quiet. More of the same as the first half of the year but I gained a new perspective. Settling into the shifting emotions and unsettling waves of this disease, I learned how to meditate. I began writing again and placing my emotions somewhere productive, even when it was just for myself. Slowly, I began to recognize the patterns I had been experiencing for over a year and how to react when I would have them. Irritated eyes do not last forever. Double vision is frustrating but it means my eyes are tired and going to bed early one night isn’t the worst thing ever. I learned to speak positively to myself in tough moments.

Celebration for my eyes

In March 2020, I came up for air. My worry over my eyes shifted to worrying about my health and the overall state of life. With that shift of focus came the opportunity for my eyes to begin to heal quietly. I no longer had a microscope focus on them, my eyes were allowed to settle down. I had known the patterns of pain and difficult moments that I no longer needed to worry about them. In place of worry came the celebration. Celebration for my eyes very slowly returning to a new kind of normal. A kind of normal only I could accept when I shifted my focus and allowed my patience to take over.

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