Two polaroid photos rest back-to-back. The one on the left is sad wearing dark sunglasses whereas the one on the right looks happier and has a brighter outlook.

Loosing Who You Once Were

It is funny. As you get older, you change. I am not the same person I was in my early 20’s now that I am in my 30's. I have changed so much. I barely recognize the person I used to be. I think my diagnoses, of Graves disease and thyroid eye disease (TED), have played a huge part in who I am now. Below are some ways that I have realized I have changed since my diagnoses.

Who I once was and who I am now

Relaxation is my friend!

I used to be someone who always had to have plans. I always had to be doing something and I couldn’t just be home relaxing. Now, I welcome downtime because I am often tired. I have learned to take a breath and actually listen to my body. When I’m tired, I stay home. I don’t let the pressure of always having to have plans get to me now. I feel better now that I listen when my body is too tired and I find that I don’t get as burnt out as I used to. It’s helped my quality of life.

Taking care of my eyes with thyroid eye disease and Graves'

My eyes and how I view them have also changed a lot since my diagnoses. I never used to have issues with them, but since being diagnosed with Graves and then thyroid eye disease (TED), it has been something I deal with all the time. Right now, I am currently dealing with dry eye, which is such an uncomfortable feeling. I also find that with my dry eye comes a painful burning feeling and it can be hard for me to stare at my computer for my job. Eye drops are the best! They soothe my eyes so much and are extremely helpful to me. I will sometimes put a cold compress over my eyes when I feel they are really starting to hurt or feel uncomfortable. I’m more hyper-aware than I ever thought I would be when it comes to my eyes and I am always paying attention to how they are.

I also currently wear prescription glasses for distance, which is something new for me. I don’t know if having TED has anything to do with it, or if it just happened as I got a little older.

My mental health journey

Finally, I have learned that taking medication for my anxiety and OCD has really changed me. I always thought that it was just something that I had to deal with and manage on my own and that taking medication made me weak. Since my diagnoses, my mental health really suffered, but thankfully it doesn’t anymore. I have learned that medication is great for managing specifically my ocd and anxiety and I am completely open and willing to do whatever I have to do to be the best version of myself.

Where I am in my thyroid eye disease journey

It’s weird and I don’t want to sound dramatic but it’s almost like I am mourning who I once was. Yes, maybe I was more carefree, but now I am more aware and to me, that is more important. I am aware of what I need to do to keep myself happy and healthy. I have mourned the carefree more naive version of myself. Once you get diagnosed with a disease, everything changes. Your world is completely different.

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