“I think she might be Schizophrenic?” a concerned friend demanded. My jaw dropped as I continued to listen to their explanation why they thought this. “She has such big mood swings and she has such rapid weight loss and then she gains it all back again”. “She has strange thoughts and she seems borderline crazy!”. He continued on and I was quick to argue in her defence.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can be easily mistaken for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression.
Some people are so quick to judge and place a label on a person’s behaviour and health. I too was once told to my face that ‘I am sure you’re schizophrenic’. A quick visit to the doctor slammed that notion. This was many years before I was even diagnosed with an over active Thyroid. Why do people try to put you in a box with a label, medicate you and think they have done their job? Does it make them feel better, do they feel they have helped you in some way?
Instead of giving someone a label maybe people should try suggesting to them to visit the doctor, to have a blood test, have them go and speak to a counsellor or psychologist. Why not try helping them out, offering support and care. Sometimes all they need is a friend to listen to their worries and sufferings. It is too easy to just slap a label on people who may seem a little different and leave them to drown in their own troubles. I love the term “a problem shared is a problem halved”.
I tried to explain to my concerned friend that all the things they had expressed to me could easily be a dis-functional thyroid. My friend was surprised when I explained the many symptoms of a problematic Thyroid, and that sometimes it can take years for it to be diagnosed. So many people have been misdiagnosed, labelled, even thrown in the psych ward all because of their thyroid.
It amazes me to think that people are so quick to judge, label and medicate those they care about just because it seems easier and they no longer have to deal with it. They don’t stop to take into consideration everything, a couple of symptoms on the surface could be hiding the real problem.
What if the shoe was on the other foot and someone was labelling them, I don’t think they would like that so much. I think they would be quick to defend themselves. No one likes to be told they have a health issue. Everyone just wants to feel like they are normal and fit into society.
It could be so simple. getting a friend diagnosed may be the biggest hurdle, but once they are diagnosed with a thyroid dysfunction the journey to wellness can begin. Helping out with either natural remedies, or the correct medication, it could change a persons life. Suddenly the fog will clear and everything will start to make sense. You may start to wonder how on earth could we have misdiagnosed or labelled him/her? It is a mistake made by many even the most highly respected of our society, doctors!
Here is a previous post I have written on doctors: If Only a Visit to the Doctor was as Easy as Miss Polly and her Dolly. They can often be our worst enemy rather than the answer to our problems. But if and when you find the right doctor suddenly there can be a light at the end of what seems a long dark tunnel.
I think there is no worse feeling than when your friends, relatives or confidantes tell you they think you have a mental issue, like schizophrenia. I will never forget that feeling or that day when I heard those words uttered at me. I felt so alone, dismayed, disheartened, confused, unloved, disbelief, unsure of myself and started questioning almost everything I had done or said. Trying to firstly understand what it was about me that had someone convinced I was schizophrenic and clutching onto anything about me that I was sure was normal.
So if you ever see a friend who you think may have a mental issue, or seems to act erratically, seems depressed or has anxiety maybe suggest to them to have a quick blood test just to check and see if their thyroid is functioning ok. Do this before jumping to conclusions and placing a label on them.
Labels Can Hurt.
Here is a list of Thyroid Doctors in Australia that I have put together: Thyroid Doctors and Endocrinologists