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Fat Thigh-roid Woes: For Every Grave Action….There is an Equal and Opposite Graves Reaction

Post Published: 09 July 2010
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Category: Column, Fat Thigh Roid Woes, Graves Disease Symptoms Column
This post currently has 20 responses. Leave a comment

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.

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20 Responses to “Fat Thigh-roid Woes: For Every Grave Action….There is an Equal and Opposite Graves Reaction

  1. Amanda says:

    Nicole = awesome.

  2. Kerry says:

    Nicole, I have so much guilt I often feel like retreating into a corner. You, my friend, have made me feel better about myself which is a hard thing to do. P.S. I love Eric and will be watching breathlessly this Sunday!

  3. Nicole Wells says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Dear Thyroid Community = inspiration

    I’m just calling it like it is, you know??

    xoxoxo

  4. Nicole Wells says:

    Hi Kerry,

    I’m SO happy this column made you feel better about yourself! That makes me feel better about myself in return, and the cycle of goodness continues…

    Eric is the reason I wake up in the morning. The new werewolf however, might make me cheat on Eric…I’m just sayin’…

  5. Amanda says:

    Since I am mostly a social reject [quite alright], I choose the “duck and cover” mode of protection. I have noted that hyperthyroid me tends to now speak when annoyed in public. And in my usual awkward fashion, it makes no sense and doesn’t relate to the situation. I tell my horrified/embarrassed daughter that it keeps the crazies away.

  6. Bee says:

    I don’t think irritability is only from hyperthyroidism- I’ve been pitching a lot more fits since my hypot diagnosis so you aren’t the only ones getting to have all the “FUN”-I’d be embarrassed by my behavior if I weren’t so damn mad at some of the crap I’ve put up with. Do you think thyroid disease reduces the amount of verbal filters we should have?

  7. Lolly says:

    Nicole,

    Love your take on Graves rage and avoid negativity, hard a times and when you blow we sure do blow, take for the hills barricade yourself in Lolly is on the rampage.

    I used to hate myself for going on one, then I tried to control it, which made it worse, then I decided to fucking laugh at myself because it was laughable the silly things that could bring on a rage.

    I still have the odd outburst now and again and thank fuck the people around me ignore me, because to answer me back would be suicidal. Does it get any better or is it less frequent? I thought things would improve and then go completely but no they still linger waiting to erupt at the slightest things. I find what helps me is taking myself off to a quiet place, and having time out it works for me that way sometimes. That way I don’t upset anyone or tell them things they don’t want to hear.

    Reading this brings it home as to how bad it got, and I would have done the exact same thing as you if that twat had said that to me. I don’t know about waiting till she left either I would have confronted her there and then never mind telling me to fuck off she would have been wearing her Starbucks, with mine on top of it.

    People can be so arrogant and ignorant and before maybe asking do you suffer allergies or do you have swine flu they automatically assume what ever you got you going to pass it on shame we can’t pass on Graves disease let the bitch deal with that.

    Thank you for your article It was great to rage here. 🙂

    Lolly

  8. Nicole Wells says:

    Hey Amanda,

    Good way to look at it. I’ve noticed that my speaking out and cutting people up has kept the thin skinned people away – and really, that’s fine with me.

  9. Nicole Wells says:

    Hey Bee,

    My mom has Hashimoto thyroid, and before she was diagnosed she was hell bent on making all of us cry. I don’t know how similar the circumstances are, all I know is that Graves made me want to turn on a chainsaw and run wild into a crowd of people.

    Thyroid disease not only reduces filters, it shreds them. The shitty part was that a lot of people I met at the time thought I was just this bipolar psychopath. I lost my job too, and it really messed up my career and the connections I’d made with people. Oh fuckin’ well!! Maybe I was supposed to be on a new path, who can say?

  10. Nicole Wells says:

    Hi Lolly,

    Hahaha I wish you were there with me! I would have loved to see this bitch covered in welts from hot coffee.

    It’s sad that we’ve all had the same issues with rage, but at the same time it’s comforting that we’re not stranded out there alone in a tattered robe, wide eyes, and yanking hair out.

    I hate how alone this shit has made me feel in the past because I never knew anyone with the disease. Now, I feel like I’m bonding with everyone on the DT community through our experiences, and really, you guys have no idea how important each and every single one of you have already become to me.

    Btw, I’ve had ONE person ask me if Graves disease was contagious, and they were backing up as they asked. In hindsight, I wish I said “yes” instead of a horrified “no”.

  11. Dear Thyroid says:

    Nicole – I adore you so.

    That thyroid rage, the Graves rage, is a rage I have never experienced except for when I was thyroid psychotic. Oh, girl, I couldn’t reel it in. I wanted to, and the guilt, the guilt is so fierce when you pummel an undeserving victim who crosses your path.

    I’m so glad you wrote about thyroid rage because I do believe that we all experience it, on both sides and in varying degrees. I also think there are so many damn crossover symptoms.

    Excellent column.

    xo

  12. Melissa Travis says:

    You know– it really struck me when you said – “no one will ever get it till they live it”… and there-in lies the REAL kicker for me.

    I live this life working so hard to just be kind and compassionate – but more and more I find myself ONLY having “sick friends” or people who have dealt with death/loss/illness.. only wanting to talk to people who have some sort of loss or illness…

    It’s strange– but I’m quickly finding I have to FORCE myself to be friends with HEALTHY people. And by healthy people I mean those who wake up and haven’t had to not snap someone in half.

    I adore you – I ADORE YOU- for having so much passion… and having LIVED THROUGH IT – you have to carry those memories. It makes you so much more beautiful – it gives you texture – it gives you compassion – it brings you so much more ability to understand other people and their own illnesses – their medications – their reactions to their own illnesses… ugh.

    YES.

    Anyway– massive hugs to you. Thank you for sharing this. And thank you for being so brilliant!
    x
    Melissa

  13. Hannah says:

    Thanks for expressing my emotions so clearly. I work in retail and often have the desire to say “Fuck Off” to stupid customers – which is often. I am now going to picture them naked and laugh.

    Did the acupuncture help?

  14. Nicole Wells says:

    Hey Katie,

    Thank you! The rage is something I still experience from time to time, usually when I’m stuck in traffic…LA traffic can SUCK IT HARD.

    The rage made social situations so difficult, all I wanted to do was stay at home. It was either sitting at home staring at my wall, or going out and being annoyed and angry at people around me. It became a challenge just to enjoy the company of others.

  15. Nicole Wells says:

    Hey Melissa,

    Thank you for being so awesome! I totally understand the challenge of being friends with healthy people. We’re drawn to people we can relate to, and same goes for the other way around. This disease has changed me, and I’m no longer who I was before I got sick.

    I like to think that it’s changed me for the better : )

    I ADORE you, and the honesty that busts out of your experiences.

  16. Nicole Wells says:

    Hi Hannah,

    You’re welcome! Girl, how are you able to work in retail with thyroid disease and NOT snap daily? Even healthy I wasn’t able to work in retail without wanting to punch faces in.

    I haven’t been able to afford regular acupuncture, but my Graves was too severe for anything natural I believe. However, one time I walked in with horrible allergies and couldn’t breathe – she stuck some needles in me and 1 hour later I was able to skip on outta there and smell the air around me. Amazing stuff.

  17. 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.

    Nicole, I just love this because it’s so true. I get so tired of answering the same questions with the same answers. I have an entire group of friends I can’t really relate to anymore because they just don’t get it, and as much as I try to convey what I’m living, it doesn’t sink in. So do I keep trying to connect with them or do I just give up and move on? Is there even a right answer to that question?

    Love this column so much. You’re amazing!

    xoxo,
    Joanna

  18. Nicole Wells says:

    Joanna,

    Thanks lady! You’re super amazing as well!

    Heart,

    Nixy

  19. Sarah Downing says:

    Hey Nicole,

    I loved this column. I read it earlier this week, but only now am I finding time to comment. I just reread it. I can’t help thinking that there are times when people deserve to be told to “fuck off!” or “shut the fuck up!” There are times here in Germany when people are horribly rude for no particular reason and it really takes me aback so that I am initially lost for words. Because I was brought up to be polite (we Brits are generally a more reserved culture than the Germans), I’m terribly self-controlled and sometimes I wish I could just say fuck it and tell them what I think. I know it can make you feel bad, but there are times when people just need to hear that what they have just said or done is plain old wrong. I guess I am also non-confrontational as I know it will upset me later, which is why I rarely do get angry with people, but when I do I really do. That woman was needlessly cruel and wrong. It’s hard to find the balance, though, isn’t it? Between sticking up for yourself and not feeling bad for doing so afterwards and not letting it eat away at you, which obviously isn’t healthy either. At least that’s how it is for me, but I realise that Graves’ rage probably isn’t premeditated or something you can control. I like your shield idea. I use that a lot here. I tell myself that even if some people here walk around with a miserable fucking look on their faces, there’s no reason for me to be miserable and by smiling and being nice and friendly to people, I might just brighten up their day. It works sometimes too. Friend evaluation is important when you are sick. You need people to respect the fact that you are sick and not able to do everything. Ideally, you need them to give a shit too. Sadly, not everybody is capable of empathy.

    I’m sorry that we have to deal with such twats. That woman may well die lonely if she carries on with her attitude. I also believe in karma.

    Love,

    Sarah

  20. Rock says:

    I COULD READ YOUR SHIT ALL DAY

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