At my endocrinology appointment today I learned some incredibly valuable information. Nothing that I wasn’t already somewhat aware of was revealed, but the way that these symptoms tie into so many other things I’m dealing with right now is where the true epiphany was formed. Come to find out my TSH levels for my hypothyroid are very (high) low, and due to my need to take iron supplements, she feels my medicine is being compromised and I’m not actually absorbing any of it. So, we’re doing things differently for the sake of my hormone levels, and we’re gonna meet again in January.
She did end up asking me to take a paper to my counselor on Tuesday at my next appointment so that she would be aware of how low my TSH levels were. We talked a lot about how low TSH levels can put someone into an episode of depression and that I would need to be very careful going forward with my awareness of my mood and all that until we can get my levels back on track.
The whole thing made me really sit down and think about all the times I was exhibiting coping behaviors from dealing with lackluster energy and a more downtrodden mood due to something I wasn’t aware was going on. Then I started thinking about the time’s someone would say something to me about what I was doing, and I’d either have no answer or be made to feel bad that my answer wasn’t technically acceptable. I decided I’d come up with a set of care commandments for the people in my life, or someone else’s, who aren’t sure how to act or what to say/don’t say when someone is going through something a little harder to deal with.
THE 10 CARE COMMANDMENTS
- Shame, shame, I know your name – Nothing good comes from shaming someone. Be it from something a person is aware of, or something a person is fully not aware of, there is never any reason to make a statement like, “It’s probably because you sleep so much,” or, “If you’d go workout (insert any activity) at least you’d be doing something.” Shaming a person for feeling a way they can’t control not only makes them less likely to do whatever they’re being shamed about but motivates them not to communicate with said person again.
- Judgy McJudgkins is a jerk – The mentality to judge someone due to their current condition isn’t just an asshole move, it shows the person that instead of offering words of comfort, you’d rather just judge them and walk away. So, feel free to keep your, “You don’t really HAVE to do that/say that/eat that/sleep there, etc…” comments to yourself. Try to be more positive and constructive.
- Self-care is the best care – Therefore, if someone turns down your suggestion to do a thing, or a go a place, don’t be offended. Perhaps they just don’t have it in them on that day, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t eventually. It’s crucial to understand that the feeling of being overwhelmed can be so debilitating that even self-care may take a back seat.
- Guilty is as guilty does – Someone who is already dealing with feelings of intense guilt by the fact they know they require extra care does NOT need to hear your guilt trip. Imagine in their mind they’re already a nuisance, and then they have to somehow cope with feelings of guilt for not being able to handle a situation or topic. Try to speak more kind, be a bit more compassionate, tell them you know they’re having a hard time but you’re concerned about something. Playing the guilt trip will do nothing but spurn feelings of resentment, and that is definitely not an emotion you want creeping into any relationship.
- Maslow was right and so are you – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (feel free to use the google) defines certain needs as necessary for human growth. Self-actualization, self-esteem, Love, safety, and physiology comprise the pyramid. Before all that, Maslow makes sure to point out there are fundamental needs that every human has to have just to be in a position to meet their hierarchy of needs. Those things are food, water, clothing, and housing. You know, basic stuff. So, if you are in a position where you are attempting to meet your basic needs, like eating food, or drinking fluids, and someone tries to question you about it: Tell them to shut their face. The reason I say this is because the person criticizing you has no way of knowing IF you’ve eaten at all that day, or if you already feel guilty about needing to buy food. Food is a basic need, and you need it. End of story.
- Tempus fugit and forget it – Time alone is crucial for anyone who has a hard time getting out of their own head. If you’re already taking all the steps to help your mind find it’s calming center, then the person who cares for you should know that time alone isn’t a reflection of someone’s relationship with them. Literally, it comes down to letting the mind calm down. The only way to compartmentalize thoughts and allow ourselves to build the building blocks for a more structured brain is to use our imagination.
- Invenio veritas, but don’t keep it to yourself – Honesty is a good policy. Notice I didn’t say is the best policy. Being truthful about how you feel is always the best approach, but if you are unable to be truthful without also being an asshole, then I’d probably tone it down. While I will always encourage an honest conversation if you know the person you are attempting to have a hard life lesson talk with isn’t in the best frame of mind I may put it off or try an alternative approach. Be mindful of what you’ve talked about previously.
- Oh dear, everything is so confusing – Keep it simple. Don’t try to make big life decisions or choices while someone is seeking help with mental health or an uncontrollable illness. I realize there will be situations that are out of control and need to be handled but do so gently and with compassion. Don’t expect someone dealing with so much already going on in their head and body to be able to meet you half-way. Expect it to be more twenty-five percent.
- I love you, now go away – Don’t take things personal during a time of struggle. When things are all wonky can we really take anything to heart that is said to us? It wouldn’t be fair to you or the person you’re caring for to let words strike deep at a time when someone is struggling just to find the right words to explain what’s going on their mind. Approach any exchange of words with the knowledge that what is said may be a reaction to a deep-seated feeling that was activated through an unexpected trigger. Talk it out, let them explain themselves, be willing to listen, and don’t get discouraged.
- Surprise, it’s not about you – It’s easy to internalize anything. Any word uttered during a conversation, any hand movement that goes against the norm, anything that comes out of left field could easily be taken wrong. Make sure to keep in mind that more than likely an off-handed comment isn’t actually about you, it’s about how the person is feeling regarding themselves. Why? Because when you’re battling with your own feelings, and aren’t sure where you even stand with yourself, you tend to lash out and immediately regret it. That’s not to say that you should just ignore it, but just try to remind yourself that the struggle is hard for them at the moment and you’re the person they’ve chosen to spend the most time with. It’s a beautiful, yet a terrifying, thing.
These are the commandments that have occurred to me as of late. Since I’m dealing with my own issues, and now dealing with health issues, I need to make sure that the people in my life see these commandments and understand that there’s good ways to help and offer healing, and then there’s bad ways. I can only hope that with continuing to be transparent and offering an open line of communication I can avoid any future problems and we’re all on the same page 🙂