Tips to Feel More Like Yourself with Thyroid Eye Disease
Last updated: May 2023
My experience with thyroid eye disease and Graves’ disease was a constant struggle. Every day was difficult, and I felt like my body was spinning wildly out of control. I got to the point where I could not recognize myself in the mirror. While my doctors had treatment plans, it was a very long wait for each of them. I could only do my best and take things one day at a time. Here are some things that helped me feel a little more like myself along the way:
Feeling more like myself with TED
Gel eye drops
These were a game-changer. I was embarrassed by how red and alarming my eyes looked, which I learned was in part due to how dry they were from my eyelids not being able to close all the way. Switching to gel eye drops and using them three times a day helped soothe that dryness.
I’ve always been fascinated by how shadows and colors can manipulate shapes and change focal points. I researched makeup techniques, took a lesson with a professional makeup artist, and through trial and error learned which products and techniques helped make my eyes appear not as far forward. I found the smoky eye technique to be particularly helpful - by darkening the lid and lower lash line with matte colors, the eyes appear to drawback. Comparatively, lighter lids will open up the eyes, and shimmery colors will draw more focus to that area. Makeup became a very important tool to help me feel more like myself.
I cringed whenever a friend pulled out their camera for a group photo. “How do I pose? Are my eyes red? No matter what I do this is not going to end well. Oh gosh, what do I do when they post this on social media? Will they be upset if I untag myself? Or if it’s really bad can I ask them to take it down?” It took time for me to give myself permission to casually put my sunglasses on for a photo, offer to be the person taking the photo, or simply say, “You all go ahead, I’m not up for a photo today.” I had to remind myself that this was not a big deal, and anything I could do to safeguard my mental well-being was worth it. I could then focus on being in the moment, enjoying the time with my friends, and feeling like myself without the pressure of thinking about what I would look like in photos.
Finding the right angle
Looking at myself in the mirror was triggering, and video calls were worse. With the camera on one side of the screen and friends’ faces on the other side, I’d end up catching a glimpse of myself at an odd angle that took me off guard and upset me. I found that a vertical placement of the device (with the camera on top) and minimizing the portion of the screen that I was in helped me both feel more comfortable and stay present.
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