A woman holds a heart in her hand as her friend's face on a video call floats behind her.

How Graves’ Disease and TED Changed My Perspective

Prior to being diagnosed with Graves’ Disease and thyroid eye disease (TED), I feel like my perspective was completely different. I did not think about the fact that many people live with diseases that they probably do not talk about, or do not want people to know about. Or, they don’t know how to open up and talk about it so they just keep it inside.

When my perspective changed

With Graves’ disease, a lot of times you could not really tell what my body was going through unless you were me. It was internal. When it is not happening to you and you cannot physically see anything, you just think nothing is wrong. I even remember talking about it with someone before I was officially diagnosed. Telling them about how I did not feel right, and something was off with me. I didn’t feel like myself and I just knew something was not right. I remember them completely brushing it off and saying something along the lines of “Oh, you’re fine.” I also remember being really mad after that exchange.

First of all, you know your body and you know when something is off and just because I did not look physically sick did not mean that nothing was wrong with me. It was at that moment I realized, that a lot of times people are fighting something on the inside, and I vowed to be more gentle and understanding with others. I would never become the person that just brushed something off when someone wanted to open up to me.

Should I open up about Graves' and thyroid eye disease?

It’s weird because I feel like I was torn about whether to talk about Graves' and thyroid eye disease (TED) with any of my friends. I talked about it with my family, but would my friends understand? I find that some do, and some do not. I find that some check-in and some don’t. For some, it was a short conversation and we never talked about it again, and for others, it’s a check-in every time we are together. Part of me didn’t want to explain what was going on with me, but it’s part of me and if they are my friends they would want to know, right?

Talking things out

I have to say, it does feel good when a friend of mine checks in on me. Especially when my TED became more noticeable. It’s not that I am expecting it or anything, but when they do it is as if they are saying, “Hey, I’m here for you even though I don’t know exactly what you are going through.” I think this whole experience has taught me that when a friend or family member of mine tells me something is going on with them, then I will always check in just to let them know I am there for them. Talking about your feelings, or something that is going on with you is not always easy, but it helps to have people in your corner. For me personally, I chose to talk about it. I didn’t know how others would react, but it felt good to be open about what I was going through.

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