Understanding:  Sympathetically aware of other people’s feelings; tolerance, being sensitive of others needs, being kind, thoughtful, merciful and patient.  All of the things we need to help us through our struggles with and against Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease that can be titled right under the words “misunderstanding/misunderstood simply because people think it is a disease that falls under a category that is much simpler than it actually is.  A disease by all standards so misunderstood and not what people believe it to be, “simply arthritis”.

Have you heard a thousand times comments about your arthritis while thinking to yourself, I have tried a thousand times to explain I do not have your arthritis.  This is what keeps our fight going, trying time and time again to explain to others the tale of our debilitating auto immune disease.  Explaining that it is a disease that wreck our joints but it is so much more than that, it is a disease that is putting our lives at risk for potential devastating  and irreversible damage.  The difference they seem so unwilling to see and acknowledge maybe for fear of having to accept that we are truthful when we say we are sick and what we are going through is something that haunts us each and everyday of our lives with this enemy.  The invisible signs they feel they need to see in order to accept our truths may not be there but the effects of our disease is ravishing our bodies while they’re looking us in our eyes.  Trying to get them to understand we are suffering from a disease that is tearing us up from the inside out which may not at all times be seen but does not make it untrue, this is where trust is of the utmost importance.

Due of the lack of understanding you could honestly say sometimes we suffer in silence because of our continuous need to defend ourselves with this disease is more stressful  than it needs to be.  Our looks can be and are sometimes deceiving leaving the door open for the many non-believers who only wish to use our illness against us.  We may fail at getting others to truly understand what and how we suffer but our lives still go on and we still struggle with what this disease takes us through because for us, it does not stop whether we are believed or not.  We may smile but we carry around the burden not only from RA but the many effects that comes along with it and those are many.  One thing affects the other and it’s like the domino effect whether it’s from our medication to all of its side effects, to the pain that comes, to the lack of understanding, to isolation and it’s all because people just don’t understand what it’s like to have a disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis.  The battle for us is a bittersweet one.

For so many of us, we are lumped into a group that has been looked at as people who tend to always have something to say about our disease making us uncomfortable telling the truth about about how we feel. Why should we have to feel uncomfortable saying how much we hurt, how tired we are, how alone we feel or how so misunderstood we feel when it is all so true.  Because our appearance isn’t one of being broken and to a point of being crippled, we are seen as being fine or maybe just making more of what is wrong with us.   Why should we be put in a position where we feel we have to defend ourselves against something that is as real as a disease can get.  In our world there is no such thing as “Seeing Is Believing”.  Understand and Believe Rheumatoid Arthritis, though it can be invisible, it is real.   To us understanding should never be an issue for anyone with a chronic disease.  There in itself chronic should tell the story of the long term suffering we have in our lives.  Our disease isn’t a tricky one, it is an unpredictable one with many unforeseen issues and this is where blind understanding should come into play.  You don’t have to see it to understand it.

The key is understanding and with that everything else falls into place.  This is a disease that is hard to go through alone so when we suffer we need both physical and moral support and as I said before this is not a Me disease, it is a Family disease. It affects everyone in our lives.  Try understanding what Rheumatoid Arthritis is all about, it will help you and it will help us.


photo credit: glady/