Do’s and Don’ts for family and friends of Graves’ disease patients.
- First: Don’t run away from a person who has Graves’ disease/hyperthyroidism. When it comes to Graves’ disease, or any thyroid disease for that matter, it would separate the weak from the strong. Don’t be that friend or spouse that leaves. Help as much as you can, write, email, text, visit, stay there for the long haul. The longer thyroid disease stays, the lonelier it gets.
- Don’t say things like “Oh, you are just having a bad day, tomorrow will be different”, ” You can’t do the things you use to do 20 years ago” or “If you just get up and move, get outside and do things, you’ll feel better.” That’s not helping folks!
- Don’t’ share horror stories about people who became worse because they had their thyroid removed, got RAI, or pursued natural treatment. It’s not considered a happy ending, if the character of your story got worse, one or another way.
- When it comes to a serious disease like Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s, there are no right words. Keep it simple: “I’m here for you!”. And mean it. Sometimes you don’t have to speak even, your presence is enough and matters more than any words. Keep in touch, even your friend/spouse with Graves’ disease is too tired to talk, or to spend time with you. Continue to be there for them.
- Don’t offer medical advice or discourage the person from pursuing the course of treatment he or she was chosen. (Unless you are a medical professional and you’ve been asked for an advice). Whether you agree with their decisions or not, respect the choices they have made. It’s about their health, not yours.
- Don’t blame the person for being sick with thyroid disease. It’s not their conscious choice. Don’t point that he/she is being sick because of smoking, not eating healthy, lack of exercise, eating too much red meat, stress or negative thinking. Seriously, don’t do that!
- Don’t point out anything that isn’t flattering- like their bulging or protruded eyes (that hurts!), brittle nails, skinny bodies, overweight bodies or fine hair. Make sure that your words are necessary, helpful and kind. That matters!
- Don’t be afraid of the person being sick: Graves’ disease or any thyroid disease is not contagious. Get in there and hug, hugs mean more than words!