What to do if you are struggling to cope

There will be times when you find it difficult to manage but this will be the same for people whether or not they have a thyroid disorder. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and there will be help and support available for you.

Let someone know how you feel, perhaps a friend, family member, doctor, a teacher that you get on well with, or maybe the school nurse. You can also contact the BTF who will be able to suggest people who’ll be able to help. 

You can find that feelings of anxiety and low mood can creep up on you and it’s not always clear where they’re coming from. In such situations it can really help to create a mind map of what’s going on in your life.

A simple strategy is to get a piece of paper and write in the middle 'What’s bothering me?' Put some lines radiating away from this central statement and label each one with what you consider to be the key areas of your life, e.g. work, family, friends, house, money, health. Next, think about each key area and note down what things about it are bothering you. Rate each item out of 10 for how much it’s a problem (where 10 is maximum worry or distress).

Having got to this point it’s a good idea to take a break and do something different for a bit. Having had a cup of tea or coffee break, or gone for a short walk, read through what you’ve written on your mind map. You might find there are a lot of little hassles that you can drastically reduce by just changing some of the ways you’re doing things. Or you might find that there are large areas that are good, but some significant concerns in certain areas. If this is the case finding someone to talk to may help you come up with ideas to help you cope.

There are a few really simple things you can do to help with your mood management:

  • Make sure you talk to yourself nicely. You won’t help your stress levels if you routinely call yourselves names in your head when you make mistakes. You need to talk to yourself with the same love and respect you’d like to receive from your friends and family when you’re having a tough time
  • When we’re feeling stressed and anxious we, very sensibly, tend to stay within our comfort zones, but, this strategy does not serve us well over time. So, one of the ways to improve our coping is by broadening our knowledge and experience at times when we’re feeling well. Basically, this means trying new things on a regular basis; everything counts, from trying a new sandwich filling to walking a new route back from the bus stop, to bigger things like visiting a new place on holiday. Each new thing helps your comfort zone to grow. As a result you will find you have have more confidence in the world over time.
  • Make time to read or watch films – they are both excellent ways of finding out about how other people see the world, the things they struggle with and how they overcome those problems. Reading, in particular, has a number of benefits for our mental health and wellbeing across the whole of our life.
  • Make time to practice the ‘Rule of Three’, a very simple technique that helps to bring balance to your mind-set and mood state. It’s very simple to do. Each day before you go to bed make a list of three things where you experienced some kind of positive feeling (writing it down strengthens the memory). In the morning, reread the list from the previous day (which primes your brain to go and look for similar things). In the evening, add three more things to your list. Below we've set out an example 'Rule of Three' which you can download and print off to use. 

Taking your medication and having regular blood tests

School, college and university and work

Healthy living: diet, sport, exercise and social life

Transition from paediatric to adult care

If you have any suggestions or feedback about the information in our resources, or if you'd like to share your own experiences of living with a thyroid disorder, we'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch.