Written by A.R Arthur
Having any Thyroid condition typically implies a slew of mental and other health implications that ultimately impact both quality of life and literal physical health. In this November's blog piece, I will be exploring the ways in which mental health impacts alongside Thyroid illnesses impact men.
As a man going into my eighth year of having Hashimoto’s, I have often found myself fighting from the very lowest ground level to gain some form of understanding and empathy. Speaking for myself, I don’t want to be victimised or made to feel inadequate, faulty or to have rogue sympathy lobbed at me. Instead, I yearn for simple understanding for men like me who have faced all manner of mental health suffering as a result of a condition that can arise in anyone at any given time.
Despite increasing levels of diagnosis, it is estimated that women are ten times more likely to be affected by a thyroid condition within their life. However, due to this difference in levels of diagnosis, men often go unheard and excluded in many discussions of Thyroid illness and mental health.
From intrusive thoughts to depression and chronic anxiety to not wanting to leave the house. These are just a spattering of the many mental health trials and tribulations that can arise with Thyroid illnesses. More specifically with men, many feel inadequate, lose libido, are tired all the time or lack a general zest for life that often sticks out more than the pin-pointed definitions that have emerged for many forms of mental health conditions. This is to say that Thyroid illnesses have a slew of mental health conditions that are just inherently part of them.
However, especially in younger men, this can lead to more impacts on livelihood and the ability to maintain relationships due to the simultaneous strain of both the Thyroid condition itself and any of its consequences. These ramifications take their toll on all aspects and processes of the body from insomnia to brittle nails and hair.
Like many men who have Thyroid Illnesses, I have found ways to cope through mindfulness activities that emphasise a sense of calm in the dark and tense. Something that is so quintessentially English, is the belief that one should ‘get on with it’. This can be negative as someone who has experienced this mentality being transposed onto myself and my condition. However, this way of thinking has also been extremely beneficial to my ability to work and see through the illness and naturally, the anxiety and other mental health impacts that exist with it.
Despite these challenges we continue to persevere and find common ground amongst each other as we come to terms with our Thyroid illnesses and how we can cope and grow despite their far-reaching impacts. If you have a Thyroid condition, be gentle with yourself today and if you know someone who is struggling, reach out and make them feel less alone.
This blog is by members of Thyroid Trust Friends Network who have signed up to our Ground Rules and blogging guidelines. Please get in touch if you'd like to write something for possible publication on our site.