(Edited to reflect the life that my husband and I are currently experiencing.)
For me, hypothyroidism has been a cruel illness to live with, especially with all its horrible symptoms. Hypothyroidism can be hard on a marriage.
However, if you add divorce and/or maybe job loss to that, it makes it even worse – I have met a lot of people in that situation.
From the Husband’s Point-of-View:
And there is no doubt that hypothyroidism can be hard on a marriage. As a husband, you will probably hear about this illness a lot because it affects all aspects of your life and that of your wife.
Besides, you might already be a little tired of listening to her complaints, not to mention that it might not always be interesting talking about the disease.
But don’t give up just yet, as there is hope if and when she gets the right treatment.
Let me describe some of my experiences in living with a thyroid patient.
She was sick for years before she was diagnosed. She was the “hypochondriac of her family”, at least that’s what she was told.
As years went by, more and more symptoms became known. Not only did she gain weight, she was also sleeping a lot.
But at the time, I didn’t know that she was actually ill – I just thought it was all part and parcel of getting older.
But she, herself, was convinced that something was wrong with her. Finally, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and was told that she needed medicine for the rest of her life, that she would feel well again, and that her symptoms would eventually disappear. Sadly they did not.
I didn’t really realize she was sick – I was busy.
Sure, I knew she was diagnosed and prescribed a pill -sick. But I also knew that since she was on medication, she should be alright, and so I stayed busy.
I was too busy and caught up with trying to manage both my job and almost all the housework at home like doing the dishes, preparing dinner, doing the laundry, cleaning, – all at the same time. I was too busy to really be conscious of my wife’s illness.
😴 She was sleeping all day
Of course, when I had the time I sometimes wondered why my wife was always sleeping when she came home from work. Sometimes she would sleep until the next day when she had to go to work again.
I wondered why she suddenly seemed to have problems with her employer**– she used to be a highly valued employee who was entrusted with a lot of responsibility. She used to argue with her Boss when he tried to interfere with her work – and more often than not she’d get her way. But suddenly, all her spirit was gone.
🤔 She forgot everything
I used to wonder why she kept forgetting everything – all the time: purse, credit card, cell phone, shopping list, where she was, and where she was going.
She gained weight, even though she was always following a serious diet. I couldn’t understand why.
However, I did not really think much of it. Maybe it was only natural. It didn’t matter to me. I was warned about Menopause. For all I knew, this could be Menopause.
😷 She was seeing doctors all the time.
In all this, she saw her doctor quite often and later some endocrinologist – I honestly don’t remember the details. She would often complain to me about her weight gain and about her troubles with getting back in shape. She could hardly walk, even up short stairs, without taking a break to breathe.
I listened but I didn’t really quite understand. And of course, sometimes I got a little tired of talking about the disease. I just hoped the doctors would help her. However, they kept leaving the physical office or profession altogether, thus a lot of time was spent on “new” lab work, or another referral. And life went on – daily life that is.
🤗 I got my wife back! Or so I assumed.
One day she told me she had found a new doctor (again!), and that she wanted to give it another try. He apparently gave her another kind of medicine – I didn’t really understand, at the time, the difference. I was busy.
🤓. Finally I understood
It was when I also came to realize how terrible she had been treated by her doctors, and how little, (people including me and many a doctor), had understood hypothyroidism.
🐘. I became her memory
- *But she still needs help and support. Hypothyroidism is chronic and if she forgets her medication, even for only a few days, the symptoms would be back. She has to take her pills three times a day.
- *In the beginning she hated when I looked inside her pill-box and told her if she had forgotten to take some of the pills. But she learned to accept it – because if she forgets her pills – the symptoms come back and she becomes forgetful and therefore forgets to take even more pills.
- *So I have become her memory. Every morning I ask her if she took her first pills and check that she remembers all the pills on the day before. As long as she takes her medication, we hope it gets absorbed and I get my wife back.
What can you do?
How can you help your hypothyroid wife (or husband, relative)?
****That really depends on whether s/he is well treated or still struggling just to get diagnosed or find the right dose or treatment. We are still struggling with different doses and triggers (food, allergies, spices, scents, texture and cravings) that knock her out. 🤷🏼♀️
Brande is still struggling with the symptoms and/or finding the right treatment, there are many things that have be recommended to me:
- *Most importantly: remember that you love each other. Remember how you first fell in love. Help each other to recall those precious moments. You will need those to get through the difficult times ahead.
- *Accept and understand her situation. It might be helpful to read about other patients’ experiences. You will realize that other patients are in the same situation and that there is hope for a normal life again.
- *Don’t expect too much from her in daily life. You probably have to take up most of the practical work in and around the house.
- *Don’t let her see the doctor alone. A person suffering from hypothyroidism will often find it difficult to explain her symptoms.
- *Be there to support her and if necessary be her advocate. Help her get the proper treatment. And if need be, help her find another doctor.
- *Remember, there is always hope. Given the right treatment, chances are your wife may recover and be herself again.
- *Maybe she needs help with the medication. Doses sometimes have to be regulated and adjusted.
- Be aware of your wife’s condition – has she changed?
You will probably be the first to notice.
- Is she getting tired and forgetful again?
- Maybe she needs a raise in dose – talk to the doctor.
- Or is she restless and anxious? Maybe the dose is too high – talk to the doctor.
🌏. Life can become normal again.
When your wife is well treated, she probably will not need that much support anymore on account of her illness, except for making sure that she does take her medication which you might need to remind her.
Also, she might need your help to explain her illness to other people. Hypothyroidism is a trivialized illness and very few know anything about the consequences and extent of the disease.
😐. Accept that hypothyroidism will be part of your lives.
😳. For the full article and hyperlink to other helpful sources please refer to: