Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

I was diagnosed with Graves' disease years ago, and then also diagnosed with thyroid eye disease (TED). Both of these diagnoses happened in my 20s. I am now 32 and reflecting on how I handled everything. There are some things I wish I could tell my younger self now, after looking back.

Advice I'd tell myself looking back to my thyroid eye disease diagnosis

Control my stress levels

For starters, I would probably tell myself to calm down, or at least take some deep breaths. Getting worked up and worried does not help, trust me. It is because there was so much unknown at at the time and the unknown is a scary thing. Now, I know this is easier said than done because let’s face it, when a doctor tells someone they have any type of disease a person might absolutely loose it and freak out.

Looking back though, I am realizing I caused myself so much more stress because I just could not calm down and my mind would not stop racing. My brain was constantly on and I could not turn it off. I remember wishing so many times that it had an off switch.

Reflecting on the anxiety I had

Looking back, I know I caused myself so much more anxiety then I should have had. I have spoken openly about the fact that I have OCD and anxiety, so my mind was already racing. Since that time I have gone to therapy, and take medication, and I honestly wish I had started all of that sooner. It has calmed my mind down so much and I am so much more happy. My TED and thyroid disease is something I think about, but it is not all consuming to the point that it completely ruins my day when I think about everything.

Accept support

I would also tell myself to lean on friends more. I think at first, and maybe, for a while into having Graves' and TED, I was embarrassed to talk about it and did not think my friends would understand at all. I did not know anyone else who was dealing with any of the types of issues I was dealing with. What I know now is, that that is okay. Your good friends love you no matter what and will even ask for updates and ask how you are feeling.

I think I felt like I was burdening them or dumping my problems on to them but really, that is what friends are for. They are supposed to be there for you during the good and bad times. Your real friends are not just there when you are feeling great and nothing in your life is going wrong. It is when things are not so great that you see who true and loyal friends are. Since then, I have realized who my true friends are and who I can really lean on and talk to about anything and everything. It is such a great feeling.

Do more for me

The final piece of advice I would tell myself is to do more things for yourself. Start a new television show, go see a movie, or read a good book. I have become fully obsessed with reading and it has really helped quiet my brain down so I am not thinking about the Graves' or thyroid eye disease. It’s a nice way to escape or to even be distracted for a little bit and I really appreciate that now.

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