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Sunday October 23rd 2016


Flying With Broken Wings: In Sickness and in Health I said I don’t

Post Published: 03 April 2010
Category: Column, Flying With Broken Wings, Health Research and Awareness
This post currently has 26 responses. Leave a comment

It seems most people I know, myself included, don’t enjoy being alone, so the natural instinct is to find a partner and how do you do this? You play the dating game. When you’re dating, self-esteem is particularly important, but when you are suffering from a chronic illness, this can really throw a spanner in the works.

I never found the dating game an easy one to play, so much so that in October 2007 I decided to pack my bags and go back home to England. I didn’t want to be alone any longer, but I was sick and tired of trying to look for Mr. Right here in Germany when it felt as if I was recurrently bumping into Mr. Wrong. As is so often the case when we are not looking, that is precisely the time that I bumped into my Mr. Right – two weeks before the ferry would have taken me back home. My dad had already come over to take a whole carload of stuff back and my mum was looking forward to my return – in fact, she cried when I told her that I wouldn’t be returning because I had met Corey and I was moving in with him after knowing him for just one week.

You may think I am crazy and stupid for this decision. However, if my previous dating experiences had taught me anything, that was that you have to jump at your chance when it feels right and follow your instincts. Otherwise, you might live to regret it. I moved into his place while he was still in the US – I figured if he trusted me enough to let me do this, then I could trust him too. As it was, I no longer had a place to live anyway as I had already given notice on my flat. Not for one second have I regretted my decision. Today, we live in Düsseldorf and we are both battling away to overcome Hashimoto’s (autoimmune underactive thyroid). I am lucky to have a supportive, kind and sensitive fiancé and I am telling you this story in the hope that you will believe that you too can find your Mr. Right (that is if you haven’t already). Sometimes love comes when we least expect it.

I wasn’t always this lucky however. Perhaps we have to go through a spate of bad experiences in order to truly realize what we are looking for. My first boyfriend – and the one I moved to Germany for – was M. He seemed so sweet at first, but as time went on he continually picked my appearance and my intelligence to pieces. At the time, I wasn’t yet diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, but one of the most painful things he did was to nag me about my weight. I remember one particular incident when he forced me – at 63 kg (138.6 pounds) – to put my money in a set of scales at a pharmacy only for it to tell me that I was overweight. One time on a train, he even claimed that a drunken guy had laughed at me and commented on my weight, too. In hindsight, I was always struggling to match my BMI, but I never managed and now I know that I am probably not supposed to – according to BMI, I will always be overweight, but I know my body better than some silly table. At the time, I was a Size 6 – 8, but M was simply obsessed with me being skinny. From my early to mid 20s, I started filling out and it seemed there was nothing I could do and no way that I could satisfy M. Silly me for even wanting to, but at the time I was naïve and so scared of losing him. In hindsight, I now know that this was most probably my Hashimoto’s having its wicked way with my weight. Once I heard a guy on German radio talking about his ideal girl – one of his specifications was that she wasn’t allowed to weigh more than a certain amount of kilos – it was something like 65 kg (143 pounds), I believe. I weighed more than that at the time and wasn’t exactly huge, but comments like that make me realize how unrealistic and unfair the opposite sex often are in terms of their expectations (and that includes both men and women). M certainly wasn’t an Adonis, but it felt like he expected me to be Cindy Crawford! One time he noticed that I had a hair on my chin – as I said, I am hormonally challenged and, yes, I do get the odd hair, but I don’t exactly have a full beard or anything that you could really call facial hair. The bastard pointed it out and called it a “witch’s hair”.

The other thing that M did was pressure me to have sex with him despite the fact that he knew it was excruciatingly painful for me. His tagline was to tell me that I am no longer a child. I always blamed myself, but a few months ago my new gynecologist removed a skin tag which he said was the cause of my painful sex. We sort of suspect that this skin tag may well have developed due to my hormone imbalances. I am without a doubt hormonally challenged and I probably was back then. It certainly didn’t make my sex life any easier!

Oh yes, M really did wonders for my self-esteem: my legs were too short, wearing red made me look like a tomato, I had always had bad skin, my hair was dark instead of his preferred color red, I was too hairy (ironically, it was thanks to that particular comment that I got diagnosed with PCOS – I was never super hairy anyway, but he was quite simply obsessed with any kind of body hair – he was extremely high-maintenance to say the least). It has taken me literally years to get over the mental damage that M inflicted on me – at one point, he even had the gall to call me slow.

Being with Corey has made me realize that I am none of these things M accused me of being and that I shouldn’t have to change myself for a guy. If he loves me, he loves me for who I am. Everybody deserves this kind of acceptance, but these days it seems that it is very hard to find. I sometimes wonder if dating was easier in days gone by.

After M, I got together with S. We were never right for each other, but the main problems I remember in terms of my health were the fact that he quite literally ate like a pig. He was very overweight and I suspect now that maybe something else was going on in terms of his metabolism, but he seemed to stuff his face with junk food 24-7. By this time, I had accepted the fact that I had to watch my weight, but I often ended up eating like he did, which really didn’t help matters. If you have a metabolic disorder, it’s important to get the support you need from your partner and for them to truly understand that you do need to eat healthily. That is hard when they are doing the exact opposite. My other issue with S was that he was constantly lethargic and never wanted to do anything much. When you have Hashimoto’s, there are times when you feel like you have to get out and get some fresh air. I have to literally peel myself off the couch at times and go out to get some exercise and energize myself. I felt like I was pissing my life away with S. The sad thing is that I now suspect that he too may have been hormonally challenged, but he has a phobia of doctors, so he may never know it. I now realize that I need to be with a partner who wants to experience new things and has the motivation to try new activities and visit new places.

All of these dating challenges are enough to make you want to capitulate and throw in the towel. That’s certainly the way B feels: “Oy, I gave up on dating. I figured if I can’t handle the gross and confusing things my body does, not sure how to expect anyone else to.” B’s boyfriend dumped her two weeks before her cervical cancer surgery as he “couldn’t deal with it.” Another boyfriend left her because he wanted to be with someone “fun”, so she “forced” him to cheat on her. Since then, B has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and PCOS and now realizes that her exes were bad candidates for the “whole sickness and in health bit.” As I said above, we need to find someone who appreciates us for who we are and accepts our flaws including health conditions. Not one of us deserves anything less and there have been times that I have chosen to be single rather than in a relationship because I don’t see why I should make do. On the flip side, it can get very lonely, but I also think we have to learn to live with and accept ourselves before we can expect anybody else to. Sometimes that is a tough road to walk, but we are never walking it alone.

K has adopted a similar attitude: “I want to date, but I’m terrified to date.” She goes on to say how Graves’ disease broke up one of her past relationships because she was thyroid psychotic at the time. Now she is afraid that she’ll never allow anyone to love her again as she is shit scared of intimacy and the weight gain that she has suffered hasn’t exactly boosted her self-esteem either: “I am terrified of a man seeing my lady parts ravaged by Graves’ disease. What most people don’t talk about, and what I came to learn after the fact, is that some patients get brown/black polka dots around the labia, inside the vagina and upper inner thighs. I feel like a monster. How do you explain to someone venturing to your down there to nosh that things don’t quite look the way they should? I don’t want to be rejected. I don’t want to be dishonest. I want intimacy and sex in my life, but I am terrified of the ‘what ifs’.” Like many of us, K has also been faced with lack of understanding from her boyfriends. She talks of how two exes recently contacted her to see how she was doing and, when she told them about her Graves’ disease (autoimmune overactive thyroid), both of them asked whether it was contagious. She was devastated and hurt by their lack of awareness.

H’s mother M suffered a string of health conditions that affected her relationships and ability to date. “Mom said by the time she had two false breasts, thin hair (so she wore a wig) and false teeth that she was mortified to date. She hadn’t dated in seven years before she passed and she was only 63. She used to joke she probably had cobwebs down there.” In high school, she had sworn never to marry because she didn’t expect anyone to put up with her health problems. Furthermore, due to her confidence issues, she tended to pick guys who weren’t very nice to her. M’s strategy was to tell potential partners about her health problems by the second date so that they “knew what they were letting themselves in for.” Following a double mastectomy, she had prosthesis, so it wasn’t immediately obvious that she had no breasts. Instead, her breasts had been replaced by scars that stretched around her chest and down to her navel. M felt her health was part of who she was and wanted long-term partners to accept this because they were interested in her as a person rather than as a sex object. She was very frank and would tell them “yes, I have a daughter and I have no breasts.” She had been horribly hurt in the past and guys had walked out on her because they were “grossed out” by her scars.

In the process of reconstructing M’s breasts, she went through 52 surgeries, all of which failed because she developed an allergy to the silicone implants which started pushing their way out through her chest wall. To complicate matters, one of the surgeries involved transplanting a skin graft from her inner thigh to her breast in order to create a nipple. The areola of this nipple started sprouting hairs that were the thickness of pubic hairs and would grow up to two inches, so M had to fastidiously pluck her nipples for fear of meeting with the disgust of her sexual partners. She always was very particular about her grooming, but being so sick with fibromyalgia, the breast cancer, obesity and what H and I now suspect to be thyroid disease, this became increasingly difficult.

M battled her whole life with her self-esteem – considered an outcast by her own mother, she believed that her sister was prettier than her. M felt like the odd one out in her family because none of the others struggled with their weight and they also looked different than her. She spent most of her days on the lake in Montana. The area where she lived was highly polluted, which may well have caused her later health problems and those of her daughter.

Luckily, M was also a very inspiring and positive woman who knew how to make the best of her health challenges. She bartended for 15 years in Alaska and her running gag was to pull out her prosthesis and throw it across the bar. “She turned something painful and horrific into something light and funny,” explains H. She goes on to tell me how if it weren’t for her allergies M would have loved to have concealed the scars on her breasts by elaborate tattoos. Apparently, legend has it that this was the traditional practice of women of the Amazon tribe who cut off their right breasts so that they could better shoot a bow and arrow.

M even won a lawsuit against Dow Corning, the manufacturer of her silicone breast implants that popped. Apparently such an “explosion” could even be caused by something as simple as a mammogram! She subsequently went on television to explain to people that saline is not a safe alternative to silicone. She wanted to get involved to prevent even more women from getting sick. The silicone floated into these women’s bodies and permanently changed their DNA cells. In M’s case, it had probably caused her to develop lupus.

Sadly, M’s own grandson and my 18-year-old nephew V suffers from similar problems. He is painfully skinny and thus endured nasty nicknames such as “98-pound weakling” and “toothpick” all the way through junior high. He didn’t pick girls he was interested in, but tended to pick girls who were interested in him – perhaps because of fear of rejection. Like his mother and grandmother, poor V was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 10 (interestingly, he is one of the rare cases of men with this illness). Because of his health issues, we also wonder whether he too has a whacky thyroid. Luckily for V, however, he can really charm your socks off and is very intelligent, smart and sensitive.

T was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 10 years ago. Her idiot doctor never treated it, preferring the “watch and wait” strategy. This resulted in her having a gastric bypass when her weight spiraled out of control and shoulder surgery to fix the damage caused by arthritis. She also has lupus. As a teen, T kept her weight down with drugs and would suppress her high by taking painkillers, which she was addicted to. Her ex-husband was one of her fellow drug users. His attitude to her health problems was less than sympathetic. He claimed that any disease she had “doesn’t count, isn’t a real disease and that she was a hypochondriac.” He told her to go to a therapist as he felt “it was all in her head.”

Despite the fact that her obesity severely bothered her, T’s hubby didn’t mind it. In fact, he rather liked it as it was sort of an insurance policy for ensuring that she didn’t attract any other men. That didn’t stop him, however, from cheating on her once she had her gastric bypass and had lost all the weight! T is now dating again, but finds it tough because of her low energy levels. She beats herself up because she considers herself a bad mother as it is very hard to deal with her children who are severely ill.

M’s daughter H had three surgeries in a row and spent three months in bed. After she had neck surgery, things got so much worse and her energy really was zapped. We now suspect that this may have exacerbated a preexisting thyroid condition – all her existing symptoms (fibromyalgia, celiac disease, weight fluctuations and many others) point to this. H had to give up college a month from finishing her degree as she was simply too sick to continue. H’s overprotective mother-in-law was always concerned that her son S was burdening himself with a sick partner and H always did (and still does) beat herself up about being ill. She wanted to fix her health issues and then get married to S, but that wasn’t to be: “When we are sick, we want to do more and be more, are trapped in our bodies because we’re not sick inside. We’re still the same people we are when we got sick. When your body is being difficult and rotting away and you don’t know why and how to fix it or are fighting, inside you are still the same person who wants to go camping, fishing and have fun, make love all night long to your partner. You’re still that person. No matter what your partner says – they can be supportive, loving and understanding; truth be known they would rather have the other person back too. Nobody wants their loved one to be sick, especially not if it changes their entire life. I’m not just affecting my life, but also his and my children’s. His choices are different because of me. We’re all disappointed in our bodies, not in ourselves, just in our bodies.”

To finish, I’d like to give you some good tips on how to bolster your self-esteem that were passed on to me courtesy of H’s therapist. Low self-esteem is a result of how we talk to ourselves in our heads, similar to a “broken record”. We have to “change the record” by reprogramming our brains. For instance, if you catch yourself telling yourself you are “a fat pig”, be aware of this and don’t allow the thought to be completed in your head. One way to do this is to turn your negative statement around and write a positive statement about yourself on a Post-it® note and stick it to your mirror or your computer monitor – somewhere where you frequently see it. Such Post-it® notes can also work well as notes of motivation, so if you are beating yourself up because you feel fat, this is unproductive – instead you might consider writing something such as “I’m beautiful the way I am and I am going to feel better about myself because I am an attractive person.” Negative thoughts will sabotage your aims because we tend to act on them. In contrast, positive messages of affirmation will encourage you to strive to reach your goals. Meditation works in a similar way by finding a positive mantra you can focus on by repeating it to yourself and instilling in yourself positive self-confidence.

Another thing that I’m sure you’ve heard before is that you have to learn to love yourself before you can expect others to love you. For me personally, this has a lot to do with self-acceptance. For years, I (and various others – my family included) have beaten myself up for being slightly overweight. It was a type of self-flagellation because I truly believed that it was my own fault and felt an inherent sense of guilt. However, on being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and realizing that my reproductive hormones are still not balanced, I dropped this guilt, educated others who had taunted me in the past as to why I have weight fluctuations and began to accept the fact that I do have weight problems, but I am one of the lucky ones to get diagnosed because now I finally know what is wrong with me and have good doctors who are eager to give me the right treatment and help me lose the weight. If anyone ever attacks me again because of my weight, I will try to educate them as to why overweight does not always equate to laziness and greed.

My attitude to myself has changed in the last few years. My fiancé Corey is beautifully accepting of who I am to the point where I asked him if he’d like me to lose weight. His response was that he loves me the way I am and that he wants me to do whatever makes me happy. At the end of the day, few of us – even without thyroid disease – are supermodels and if a partner is worthy of our time, he or she will appreciate us for our inner values and not unrealistically demand that we give ourselves a complete overhaul. I wish each and every one of you happiness, luck and acceptance in your relationships and would be honored for you to share your experiences with me.

Lots of love,


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26 Responses to “Flying With Broken Wings: In Sickness and in Health I said I don’t

  1. Sarah;

    Thank you for writing about this subject. Speaking for myself, I am completely FREAKED OUT about dating post-Graves. I’m worried about what a man will think of me. This has left me phobic that I will spend the rest of my life alone.

    It’s not even about needing a man; it’s more about reclaiming myself and figuring out how I want to approach dating and relationships.

    I am VERY GRATEFUL TO YOU for writing this article!

    Thank you, it’s beautiful. I’m sorry that you’ve been through as much as you have, as well as so many of these other women.


  2. Jane says:

    Thank you Sarah for such a wonderful article. I think it is amazing just how much everyone opened up and share their very personal and very private experiences. It made me realize just how much I beat myself up about my weight, appearance, health issues and relationships.
    I use to be much thinner and felt good about myself. I had no problem dating and or being in a relationship and my sex life…well with the right partner was simply amazing, something I enjoyed very much. Unfortunately Mr. Wonderful always turned into Mr. Very Wrong.
    A year or two before I was diagnosed with Hosimotos thyroid disease, things began to plummet downhill for me. I gained 30-40 pounds and yes even being treated with thyroid meds the damm weight stayed on and was a bear trying to lose it. With my ever so fluctuating thyroid the fatigue took over my life. When i look in the mirror I couldn’t imagine any one being attracted to me let alone having sex with me or even try to understand my chronic health problems.
    The last couple of years I have totally sabotaged any chance of a relationship, Ill cancel a date because I am just too damm tired and I am so afraid of the many what ifs. If I start communicating with a guy online I always back out when it comes time to meet them in person because of the what ifs.
    I realize now I need to feel better about myself before I can expect any man to even remotely be attracted to me. I am ok for the most part to just be alone as I sure don’t want what I had in my past relationships but maybe one day when I get my heath and attitude in a better place there still may be a chance to find someone special

  3. Jane says:

    Katie, I think you put it very eloquently “It’s not even about needing a man; it’s more about reclaiming myself and figuring out how I want to approach dating and relationships.” That is exactly how i feel.

  4. Elizabeth C says:

    Wow! What a great article. I really related to the content of this article.
    I am married to a wonderful man who truly tries to understand and be supportive. I know he gets frustrated with my mood swings and the despair I sometimes feel because of hypothyroidism. Never the less he tries.

    I have weight fluctuations as well. Right now I seem to be gaining weight and am trying to get my metabolism back on track. My husband is so understanding and nurturing…he tells me daily how beautiful he thinks I am. He knows how much I beat myself up over this.

    I have congenital hypothyroidism. All that I have of my thyroid is some cells and tissue, but nothing fully developed. The guy who did an ultrasound on me couldn’t even find it! anyway…despite my family knowing my whole life that I have this disease, my father always felt the need to comment on my weight…especially during my teenage years. I struggled with eating disorders from the time I was 14-until I was about 19 or 20. I know I still do not have a healthy body image. To this day when I look in the mirror I hate what I see and the words of my father echo in my head.

    I am so grateful that I do have people in my life who remind me that I am a beautiful, creative, kind person who is worthwhile.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story and the stories of those who contributed. It really touched me and made me feel connected to others who struggle with thyroid disease and appreciate the people in my life who love me and support me.


  5. Christine says:


    In our hearts is the essence of who we are, all that we are, all that we can be. It is the one place that our disease cannot defeat us… but sometimes we get lost in the pain and the struggle for and of ourselves… we forget what lives and breathes in our hearts. It is the place where life and dreams begin and are sustained.

    Within each of us to the core of our heart and soul, man or woman, no matter the health consequences, do we shine the brightest – our inner beauty, when disease and misfortune ravage our outer body, it is then that we have to reprogram that “broken record” I am WORTHY! I am BEAUTIFUL! I am SOMEONE worth loving!

    After such insults to our self-esteem, to our sense of self, to our sanity and capabilities to live, our defense mechanisms become fully engaged. Protection! We seek only to protect ourselves from that kind of hurt, risk, ridicule, mis-understanding that is often aimed at what is happening to us, via our disease, and not at who we really are. Sometimes people simply don’t care to look that close, to take the time, to delve deeper, to embrace us, imperfections and all. We all have them, except that for many of us – those imperfections are clearer than others simply by the nature of our disease.

    When we’ve had to walk this road, often alone, I think, whether we realize it or not, we are somehow made better for it, we see more, we understand better, we empathize, we care, we embrace the truer beauty in others…. It makes us “pro’s” at the “in sickness and in health” – cause we know how precious the “in health” part of the equation is and are accepting and proactive with the “in sickness” part in others. We love with ALL of our being, we want, desire and need to be loved that way in return. We are special, unique, wonderful, worthy and beautiful in all our shapes and forms and we deserve that in return.

    It breaks my heart…. that people can be so cruel to one another, especially when based on appearances. I know we are all built differently; we handle life stresses in ourselves and others differently. Some simply cannot cope, cannot wrap their hearts or their minds around what is happening to us, those that are gently honest about that I can appreciate. But those that simply are callous and cruel… I sometimes think to myself… “Karma is a BITCH!”

    No one deserves to be alone be it healthy or sick — NO ONE! We aren’t built that way I don’t think. Our hearts want to beat in time with another.
    I am thrilled that you have found such acceptance, understanding, support and above all LOVE in your Corey!! <3 I wish you every happiness, every good thing that your heart and souls desire, I wish you love, above all a lifetime of love.

    To those who are still hoping and searching for Mr. Right or Mrs. Right ~ I wish that the right man or woman walks into your life, maybe when you least expect it and the journey into love is all that you want it to be. That your steps are light, your heart is full, your smile radiant and hope abounds at the possibilities.

  6. Heide King says:

    So much pain we all go through, and it seems to be the worst on our emotions. We may have different illnesses but we all have so many similar issues. Thank you for sharing such personal and encouraging words. I am sure Sarah you are helping us all to see our similarities instead of our emotionally separating health issues. Thank you for your bravery!

  7. Norma says:

    I had given up about 5 years ago on dating. I went through my ex-husband calling me lazy and stupid before my diagnosis with Hashimoto’s. No matter what, I could do nothing right in his eyes. I dated numerous people after my divorce in 1996. At one poin, I had gotten pregnant and ended up having a still birth in which I barely survived myself. The doctors told me to have my tubes tied afterwards. So of course I did. One guy who I dated off and on for 5 years asked me to get it undone so I could have his kid. I told him that the doctors had told me if I tried to get pregnant again, it might actually kill me. He couldn’t understand why I was unwilling to have the tubaligation reversed.

  8. Christine says:


    How painful those words must have been for you. I remember all to well similar words hurled at me, there is a part of you that wants to cry out, make them see, understand, be where you are….

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss…. there are no words

  9. Katie, I am so glad if this article has been able to help you in any way. I am so sorry that you are scared of dating. At least now you know you are not alone. I think I’m pretty much over my past experiences. They seem such a long time ago now. When I look back (which I try not to too often), I’m still mad with M because he truly was a grade A bastard, but then I too believe in karma. He had a way of pissing people off with his awkward arrogance.

    I hope that some time soon you feel able to date and find somebody who understands and accepts you for the beautiful person you are!

  10. Jane – thank you very much for your kind words. I too think that this community is amazing for being so brave to open up about things that are otherwise considered so awkward, so personal and so taboo.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your horrible experiences with your Mr. Wonderfuls who morphed into Mr. Wrongs.

    From what you wrote, it very much sounds like you are simply not emotionally ready for a relationship. You are so right when you say that you have to work on feeling better about yourself – you will get there and you are not on this journey alone – we at Dear Thyroid are all there with you, cheering you on and helping when we can!

    Ill or not, everybody has good things about themselves and sometimes we need to force ourselves to remember these in order to come out of the dark hole that many of us are hiding in.

    I wish you all the best and happiness and luck in finding the right person for you!

    Hugs, Sarah

  11. Elizabeth – thank you for your comments. I’m glad you were able to relate, although I wish that none of us had to go through this crap. I am glad for you that your husband tries, even if he doesn’t always fully understand. It definitely sounds like you are with a keeper though!

    I totally relate when you say how your parents used to pick on you because of your weight. So did mine – particularly my father. He would ask me if he could weigh me so we could “keep track of” my weight. He never understood that the weight gain was not because I ate like a pig or was bone-idle. Once I found out, though, I was lucky in that he accepted he was wrong and began to be a bit more compassionate, at least as compassionate as he can be. I am so sorry that your parents are not more supportive – it must be frustrating because by now they really should get what is going on with you and understand that the weight is not really your fault. I guess my way to deal with this was to stop expecting certain people to be compassionate or supportive and to focus on those who are. That way, you don’t get as disappointed because your expectations aren’t dashed, although I know that of all people one would like the support of their parents. It sounds like you are following this route however when you talk of all the people who appreciate you – that is awesome!

    I am glad that you felt connected. One of my aims when writing is to make everybody in this community realise that we are never alone.

    Wishing you all the best. Hugs, Sarah

  12. Christine – thank you so much for your profound words and for taking the time to write them. They really touched me.

    You are so right when you say that we need to let our inner beauty shine through. I do believe that chronic illness can change us for the better in some ways. One of these ways is by making us more compassionate and empathic of others.

    I also agree on your comments about protection – it so often is a case of “once bitten; twice shy”. That is perhaps why I gave up looking for a guy and then ended up finding my Mr. Right – it really was unexpected. Somebody who loves us for who we are really should be interested in the whole us – warts and all. Of course, it can take time to find that certain someone.

    Your comment was so beautiful, positive and uplifting. You really have a way with words!

    Thank you for wishing me all the best with Corey. As I said before, knowing how different it was before I met him, I really do appreciate how lucky I am to have him now.

    Hugs, Sarah

  13. Heide my love (and my surrogate sister), thank you a million times over for your support with all these articles. You are so knowledgeable and empathic and are a great storyteller. You are brave too! Hugs, Sarah

  14. Norma, I am so sorry to hear about your suffering with your ex-husband and then the man you dated. It is beyond belief how they treated you, but sadly all too common. Please don’t ever believe any of the negative crap that these guys have dished out to you. You are a wonderful person – illness or not – and you should never be afraid to be yourself and do what is right for you despite the selfish reactions of unsupportive partners.

    Christine, awesome words of support. I am sorry that you had to go through the same as Norma, but am grateful to you for reaching out to her and letting her know that she is not alone.

    Hugs to you both, Sarah

  15. Lori says:

    I didn’t expect to be touched by this subject as much as I am. I’m determined to make the best of my health situation but until now, I haven’t been honest with myself about how I have let this disease knockdown my self-esteem and what has become of my self-image. It really can do a number on a person.

    Thank you Sarah for sharing yourself and writing another great article, and everyone else that contributed and shared their experience.

  16. Lori, I am sorry that your thyroid condition has also knocked your self-esteem and I am glad if this article has made you realise this because it is only once we realise it that we can really do something about it. I know you as an inspiring, positive and aware person despite all the health crap you have to go through. Keep it up and don’t forget to remind yourself of all you have achieved this far!

  17. Robyn says:

    “… calling me lazy and stupid…”

    Uh, never OK. If anyone called me lazy and stupid I would kick their ass. Seriously, I’ve had my share of insecurities and bouts of low self-esteem, but I am glad this person is no longer in your life. There’s criticism (undue), and then there is bullying.

    I hope any/all of us who may feel they are being bullied can find help within themselves or through a third party.

  18. Robyn, you are right. This is bullying and we shouldn’t tolerate it. On the other hand, as someone who has experienced a bullying relationship, all I can say is it’s really not that simple. I was 18 when I began my relationship with M and it took me too long to realise (or more to accept) that he was bad news. Now at age 32, I probably would kick his ass, but back then as a young girl in a foreign country who didn’t yet have many friends I put up with more than I should have. I didn’t have a third party to help me and I was unable to help myself. I would indeed wish that things are different for people suffering a similar experience, but sadly I know only too well that inner strength and third-party support cannot always be taken for granted.

  19. Heide King says:

    Thank you for all the great suggestions my daughter is having esteem issues and I had her read the article and she was surprised how many people feel like she does and said how she would work on not being so hard on herself.

  20. HDinOregon says:

    Sarah – Great article, and good suggestions about improving ones self-esteem!

  21. lori says:

    Heide, that’s wonderful your daughter realizes she is not alone. I remember when my kids were teenagers and thought things were so easy for other kids. Peer pressure can really be brutal but it was so much easier when they learned things are not always as they appear, and that most kids worry about the same things.

  22. Heide,I cannot describe how happy I am that this article helped your daughter. I know her situation and I don’t want her to ever feel insecure or inadequate. If something is going on, I hope she gets the diagnosis/diagnoses she needs. Love to you both!

  23. HD – Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments. Glad you liked it.

  24. Lori, I know all about peer pressure, as I went through hell when I was younger. It can be really hard to feel good about yourself when you don’t fit in with the crowd and don’t really want to either. Kids can be quite cruel if you are different and I wish that more kids would give others a break and room to be themselves.

  25. Cynthia says:

    Fantastic! So sad though.. we go thru so much! I was crying reading the stories people shared with you.

    I have my days where Im ok with my apperance and other days where I just dont want to leave he house.. its so hard when society expects you to be a size 2!

  26. Cynthia – thanks for your comments. I’m sorry everybody’s comments made your cry, but I can certainly understand why.

    It is tough when society expects you to be a Size 2, but I guess we have to try and throw society’s expectations to the wind and define ourselves based on who we want to be. Interestingly enough, I have noticed that every society I have lived in (be it English, German or American) had different expectations of women, so I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules anyway.

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