Fat Thigh-roid Woes: For Every Grave Action….There is an Equal and Opposite Graves Reaction
I have shitty allergies. They’re not just regulated to springtime either, I start sneezing if the sun hits me the wrong way, or if I walk by a particularly menacing dust bunny. I’ve had them as long as I can remember, and Allegra has been my BF on more than one occasion. However, I try to stay away from as many medications as possible at this point; I want my body to be strong, DAMN IT.
Depending on how crappy things are going with my immune system I tend to sniffle a lot. Not an annoying amount, but I always try to have a tissue on hand. Also, according to my acupuncturist who was helping me with my Graves symptoms – my immune system is just working overtime across the board, which I already know as fact, but didn’t really think about it in relation to my allergies. My immune system DESPISES ME, and it has for awhile. Maybe my allergies somehow triggered this Graves Dick-sease too? Who the hell knows as this point, but I need to speculate cause doctors ain’t doing it for me. I realized when I cut out gluten my allergies get a bit better, so yeah, I certainly do my best to stay away from them. Unless someone puts a pastrami sandwich under my nose….
Last year on the day after my birthday, I went to Starbucks in the morning to get some coffee. This was during the whole swine flu panic that so many people felt except for me – I DARE Swine Flu to try and join in on the Graves mess. I was standing in line and coughing a bit cause of my allergies, and blowing my nose as quietly as I could. This woman, maybe in her 50s, who was standing in front of me suddenly turns around, backs away from me like I have a bomb strapped to my chest, and says, quite loudly, “I don’t know what you have, but you’re sniffling a lot and you need to not be doing that!” Everyone turned to stare.
Hmmm ok? I was STUNNED. I’m rarely rendered speechless, but I was at a loss….I think I just let out a squeak and started shaking. She got her drinks and walked out the door, and I was mulling over following her. So, yup, I ran outside and confronted the miserable twat.
Something tells me this wasn’t the first time she’s ever done something like this, because the words flowed so easily from her. I wanted to try and make it her last. I ran up to her and I yell “Excuse me!” grabbed her arm and made her look at me. I said “You know, you don’t have the right to just SAY things like that to people and think it’s OKAY!”. Her reply? “FUCK YOU.”
Common decency has long left the city of Los Angeles. I notice that when people cut you off, or almost cause an accident, they give you the bird instead of saying “I’m sorry!!”.
I don’t know if this wench had ever been confronted with her actions, but after the “fuck you” I wasn’t done. “Fuck me?? What, do you think I have Swine Flu and I’m going to give it to you?”
“I don’t know what you have, but I’m older than you, and I’m not going to take that risk.”
What I wished to have at that moment was an itchy STD that I could pass onto her FACE with a glance, but instead, I went for the jugular instead of leaving this alone. “You’re going to die a miserable old bitch.” and I walked back inside. PS – Graves Disease can make our vocab a little more colorful than necessary, along with our reactions, in case you didn’t already know….
Maybe I went too far, but….eh, I still don’t regret saying it. It’s all in the past and I still think she deserved it. My biggest regret however, was letting her get to me. I cried and was shaking all afternoon – if this had happened more recently, my reaction would most likely be different, but at the height of illness it just seemed to send me over the edge. This woman was an extreme, but we deal with mini confrontations daily whether we realize it or not.
To our friends and family: we sound like a broken record when explaining our disease, and no one will ever fully get it unless they live it. No one can understand that mentally, emotionally, and physically, we are messed up. No one can fully understand Graves RAGE until they themselves have experienced it, and to make matters worse – when we’re talked to about our attitudes, we blow up and then internalize the guilt. How do we stop the cycle of….confrontation, explosion, “calm down”, cry, guilt, explode again, rinse and repeat?
Since we can’t change how they deal with us, we can try and do our best to change how we react to them. I know that’s easier said than done, because ask anyone about my lashing out at them and they’ll laugh off my “let’s change how we react” fantasy. It is definitely a challenge, but our options become limited as we’re stuck in a corner.
What started to help me was recognizing words and phrases people used to describe what they perceived as “me”. Words that were associated with my disease. “Calm down”, control your “rage”, “you’re so angry”, etc etc. I stopped, paused, and took a breather and tucked the conversation away in my “evaluate later” pile. It really helped, and made me introspective but not to the point of bottling things in that needed to get out. It also made me understand the dynamic of my relationships more. Take note: if a friend is criticizing your “attitude”, and has minimal positive things to say about you when you need it most…maybe that friendship needs to be re-evaluated.
We need to keep people around us who make us feel better right now, and don’t need to deal with negative criticism. Ask yourself: how would they behave if they were able to hear their own rapid pulse 24/7? How would they “calm down” when they wake up ravenous and are hungry every two hours? Chances are, they’d behave quite similar to how you’re behaving. Graves disease made my own personality take a backseat. I’m not saying this excuses our actions entirely, because we are accountable – I just don’t want us to beat ourselves up and misdirect focus, which takes us into a whole world of guilt, pain, and burden. No time for that shit, it’s time for us to do what we can to get better.
It’s so hard to know if we’re in the right or wrong when sick; Graves filled me with so much self-doubt I didn’t know which way was up. Mentally, we know something is messing us up but there is no control. This is not a simple case of “mind over matter”. My mind absorbed the physical symptoms of jitters, diarrhea manifested as verbal diarrhea, and fire from the heat my body was generating.
A lot of the issues people brought to my attention were unjust, and masquerading as concern. Sorry, I DO NOT have the time to deal with projection from others.
The problems you have come across in your relationships, friendships, etc – not all of it is your guilt to carry, even if you’re perceiving it that way. What good is it going to do to take on that burden? You and the management of your disease come first, so take care of yourselves, and the relationships will work themselves out eventually.
Let’s say it together – “Blow me senseless, Graves, for messing with my self-worth!!”
What I suggest to you, DT community, is finding a way to protect yourself. Whether you imagine a wall, a fuzzy blankie, or a shield – let’s try to remember to not absorb any negativity being thrown our way, along with supposedly well-intentioned criticism from friends and family. I don’t suggest blocking people out, I just want our fragile bodies and minds to only absorb the good stuff people bring us. Puppies, frozen yogurt, Eric’s hot ass from True Blood…you picking up what I’m putting down?
SCREW the self-loathing, F the self-doubt, and BALLS to the people who talk down to us when we’re sick. Let’s toss that shit out the window, and move on to healing ourselves.
Tags: autoimmune disorders and allergies, Fat Thigh Roid Woes, for every grave action there is an equal opposite reaction, Graves disease column, graves disease support, graves' disease, hyperthyroid column, hyperthyroid support, hyperthyroid symptoms, self confidence, self-esteem, thyroid and allergies, written by Nicole Wells