The Façade of Looking Normal

Thanks Janie Bowthorpe (“Stop the Thyroid Madness”) for hitting the nail on the head!

In the introduction to her passionately-argued book she gives us her story, a catalogue of debilitating symptoms that many of us know well. Then she says: “….the most remarkable aspect of all of the above: I doubt anyone who has known me would say I appeared to be anything less than normal…….But I paid horrific and nauseating prices often and privately, and adapted my life all over the place”

Do you identify with this?

I do. We were invited to a friend’s house for a meal on Saturday evening. Her sister and French husband (Didier) are visiting from France and we have struck up something of a friendship with them. When we last saw Didier he said that he would like to cook us a real French meal. In reality my partner and I don’t do a great deal of socialising at the moment. I particularly struggle if we go out in the evening. I simply don’t have the stamina to cope. I, however, very much wanted to go along for the meal. We love their company and my partner, a real Francophile (ex-French teacher), was excited at the prospect.

It was a wonderful, convivial meal. It was lovely to share the company of our friends and Didier had gone to a lot of trouble planning a menu typical of his region. Each course was presented with a proud flourish and a different wine chosen from vineyards near to where they live in Bordeaux. Really wanting to enter into the spirit of the occasion and not wanting to appear churlish I had a small half glass of sparkling wine, the aperitif, then stuck to water for the remainder of the evening as I don’t seem to be able to tolerate alcohol at the moment.

Now here’s the thing, as I write “I don’t have the stamina” and “I don’t seem to be able to tolerate alcohol” I feel awkward. There are numerous ways in which my thyroid condition calls the shots and I don’t like it when I occasionally have to “fess up” to this. Generally speaking I have become quite good at looking after myself. Close friends know the score but, unless you have experienced it, I think it is difficult for others to appreciate how a “hidden” condition like a thyroid disorder can clip your wings. You don’t want to have to constantly say “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t” in your day-to-day dealings for fear of appearing needy….. or attention seeking. So, you work round it, adapt your life “all over the place” (thanks Janie) and, when you need to, quietly and privately pay the price.

Yesterday (Sunday) was pretty much a write-off. “I woke with a slamming headache, I was weak and jittery and disorientated. Pay back!” – cut and pasted from a previous post “Sunday 23rd February: A Snapshot”. Same old…..same old….I know the feeling well when I have overdone it and you think I would have learned by now!

But there is more to it than the façade of looking normal. Yesterday I also felt very low. I want to enjoy all of the things that other people don’t think twice about. An evening out! When I do, my condition slaps me down and that feels cruel. What I actually wanted to write was “MY THYROID slaps me down”. Yesterday I hated my thyroid. There, I’ve said it! This morning there is an uneasy truce. I am washed out but more stoical - there are always people worse off. I am also thinking more clearly and can see that despite yet another recent increase in my levothyroxine, it isn’t enough. In the meantime I am devouring everything I can lay my hands on researching the alternatives, counting the days until my follow-up blood test and preparing to jump ship and become one of the many thousands who are forced to self medicate.

If you haven’t already done so, please sign the e-petition:

4 Replies

  • Sorry you haven't had a response yet - I'll bump it up via newsfeed J :D

    I avoid socialising too, excuses excuses...

  • Thanks Sparerib. Just want to keep that e petition in everyone's mind......and have a bit of an offload....if I'm honest!

  • All so true...when I was struggling I didn't like to complain and went to crazy lengths to hide my true feelings/problems, but the payback was always physical and psychological...tears behind closed doors indeed. Hiding it from family and friends was hard - especially when they all told me I looked okay! I think I tried to live up to other peoples expectations instead of listening to my body...sometimes we really need to rest and offload to someone who understands how we really feel - like the people on here...

    Hope you find your answers soon.

  • Thank you "keeponbelieving". What an excellent forum name!

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