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      I lost my job and almost lost my family before I was diagnosed. I thought I was going crazy. I was extremely suicidal. Nothing anyone said or did helped because I didn’t know what was going on in my head. Being that your wife has been diagnosed, and is hopfully being treated, you are both on your way to recovery. Just be there for her if and when she needs you. Try to understand that Grave’s Disease takes over your mind and your thoughts. Be patient, very patient. My husband and I are more in love now than ever. This is due in part because he stayed by my side for better or worse, in sickness and in health. I’m sure he would tell you that it wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it! Best wishes, Tracy

        Post count: 1569

        Hi Jeff,

        Good advice from Tracy ~ it’s true, our reactions are chemical, not emotional, before we are fully healed. I’m sure your wife is just as frustrated as you are. Try to just support her, help her with anything you can, and leave her space when she needs it. Help her have some time to herself ~ some time FOR herself ~ you’ll find that pays big dividends for both of you. I don’t want to be clumsy about this, but try to avoid making suggestions. I don’t know your precise relationship dynamics, but I do know that typically, people who care about others would like to help, and Graves’ patients are not actually very receptive to such suggestions. :roll: It’s a minefield, and until we are healthy, we might even think that some of our feelings have substance ~ it’s kind of like everything is amplified. I can tell when my levels climb toward hyperthyroid because what I call "the voices" start ~ not like third party voices talking in my head, but each little thing someone does triggers an "examination" in my head (why did they do that? why didn’t they just do what I asked? don’t they care about me? don’t I count?), and things that I could otherwise shrug off start to penetrate and really bug me.

        I think it’s unreasonable to think that there will be no difficulties between you during this time, but if both of you can keep some perspective, I think you can get through it. Come back often, and send your wife to ask any questions she may have, we’ve all been there! <img decoding=” title=”Very Happy” />

          Post count: 3

          My wife was diagnoised with Graves at this time last year due to double vision she was having at the time. Her left eye got progressively worse through the winter making for a very long winter. We are very fortunate to live in Minnesota and were referred to an eye specialist at the Mayo clinic. She had surgury on her left eye in June and is recovering very well. From what I have learned about Graves it comes on due to stress. Having three teenagers, jobs and life in general there is plenty of stress. Our marriage has been stressed to it’s breaking point largely due to my not understanding what she is going through and therefore not validating her feelings. Things are getting better slowly but surely. Basically, I am on the outside looking in trying to help her rebuild her person. Unfortunately our communication is poor to say the least. There is not much of anything that she wants or needs to hear from me. So, what should I be doing to help her? Should I just stay quiet and mind my own business? We tried counseling breafly last spring but there was way too many things going on. We will be starting on with a new counselor in three weeks so hopefully that will help. Any advise will be greatly appreaciate.

            Post count: 284

            Jeff – Graves is hard on relationships. I have a stressful, somewhat socially isolated job – which could have played in to my Graves in the first place. This summer and fall, when I was going through diagnosis and treatment, I reached out to my boss for some badly needed TLC. Her response was to get very angry with me for being ill. I am not sure where that came from other than we work on different campuses and rarely see one another. Maybe I came across as lazy, using health as an excuse. Maybe she is more formal in her workplace relationships and saw my wanting TLC as too personal. Maybe "thyroid" is taken too lightly – and even nurses don’t always know how bad we feel for months on end. (Today she called it "a little thyroid thing" to someone we were eating with.) I don’t know – but I do know the relationship was badly hurt and I am re-examining my long term job goals. Why? Because as the Gallup folks have found, people are most engaged if they have a "best friend" at work.

            Remember that each of us has different strengths. And different strengths can make us different kinds of friends – some are mentors, some are companions, some are builders, some are collaborators, etc. Spouses are one type of friend (role depends on personality). Everyone needs a balance of different types of friends for support. Often, when we are stressed or isolated, we might expect one friend or spouse to play the role of many types of friends – and this strains the relationship. In my case, I thought my boss was one type of friend and she is another. I need to look elsewhere for the kind of TLC in the workplace I had expected. Perhaps your wife is expecting too much from you – or you from her. In reality, building a support system means being sure everyone is playing a role they do well and that we have a "team" of friends, if you will. My heart goes out to you – I know how this can stress relationships. I wish you and your wife resilience as you attempt to re-weave your relationship.

              Post count: 32

              Hi Jeff,

              I think others have dealt with how you might be able to help your wife better than I can, but I’d like to add a little something about counseling. Just like physicians, counselors come in all shapes and sizes. Some you’ll like, and some you won’t. It’s important to find one that will work for you and your wife. If you don’t like the one you’ll see in three weeks – find another one!! And finally – don’t expect a quick fix. It takes time to rebuild a relationship, especially when one spouse is sick. Counseling is hard work and requires a lot of listening and honesty but it can work wonders if you’re willing to make a commitment to it.

              Best of luck to you both,

                Post count: 398


                There is a lot going onl Ditto to what was said about counselors cominig in all different sizes! There is a support group leaderin Maine. His specialty area is couples. He has been there and done that. I can send you Bulletin #38 -"An open letter to [other] husbands". If Charlls Zafonte’s e-mail is not on the Home Page, contact me. Also, spend some time in the archives. There are lots of posts there. Some will trouble you, but most will support you and your wife. My e-mail "".

                  Post count: 1

                  I’m newly diagnosed with Graves. I have all the typical symptoms normally listed, except for the mood altering symptoms. I have pms regularly, so I am experienced at knowing and recognizing when irrability is coming or current and I try to be open with my family to help them understand that its me and not them. Its almost impossible to control, but possible to smooth over and ask forgiveness. I say that about PMS because I feel that I would be affected horribly with the emotional symptoms if I weren’t taking these vitamins. My husband and I started taking these vitamins 6 months into a second marriage. We were both struggling emotionally. We take St. John’s Wart, 2 a day, Flax Seed capsules, 1 a day and a multivit. You can take up to 6 St. John’s Wart a day, but we benefitted after only 2 a day. I know these simple steps may not work for everyone, but they have really helped us.

                    Post count: 29

                    You’ve gotten a lot of really good advice. The part of your letter that prompted my response was the statement about having teenagers. I actually thought my 16 year old son was giving me a heart attack when I first went to the Dr about my symptoms. After being hooked up to an EKG machine and having many tests done that was ruled out.
                    But for the few days it took for test results to come back, it was very tense at home. My husband blamed my son, and so forth…
                    When the GD diagnosis was made, we were all happy that my heart was okay….but what exactly is Graves???? My oldest son at college read up on it; my husband and I surfed the internet and talked to my Dr. My youngest son listened to what we and his brother told him. For a time my family treated me like I was fragile and could break any minute. At first I liked that, but they tended to overlook ALL emotions and patronize me. Even when I was serious they would tell me to calm down and take it easy, etc… That was frustrating.
                    Then we went through a period where, I think they all were getting tired of babying me. Which was fine – I didn’t feel I was handicapped and had told them on several occasions to stop treating me like a baby. But then I had to remind them that I really was emotionally fragile sometimes. Now, almost 2 years later, we have settled into a comfortable way of dealing with it. We don’t talk about it all the time, but if we’re out shopping together, they automatically carry my bags, or find a bench to rest on every now and then, etc….without speaking or making a big deal of it. They know I cry very easily now, when I didn’t before. It doesn’t alarm them anymore – they just hug me and give me a tissue. They also approach me differently with problems. My husband has really stepped up to the plate and taken responsibility for solving all the problems, filling me in when necessary and telling me it’s taken care of.
                    I guess what I’m saying, Jeff, is – if you love your wife, be there for her and understand these changes in her body are not her choice, and it’s nothing personal against you. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing she really really needs you, probably more than ever before, whether she says so or not.
                    Hang in there.

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