Life changes for many reasons, it’s how those changes are handled that determines the outcome. For each of us Rheumatoid Arthritis has brought tremendous change into our lives and with it our ongoing battle to know just what to do to make those changes easier. With Rheumatoid Arthritis our lives as we knew it is gone, changed forever. With those changes have come loss physically and mentally with us and those we love. Are you blaming yourself?
Do you carry the burden of blame and guilt for what you are unable to do in your life now that you’re faced with all of the inabilities that comes with being a sufferer of RA! Are you looking at yourself as only part of who you were because gone are many of the things that once made you and those in your life happy. Because you cannot be the way you were, are you beating yourself up for what once came easy but now maybe difficult or impossible. You find as family and friends lose patience and understanding with your circumstances, you look inward for blame. Blame that is unfair to you and not your fault but nevertheless weighing you down.
I know as we work hard to accept our inabilities ourselves, we reflect on our lives and remember when our limitations were few, if any at all and life as we knew it was normal. We remember how easy it was to do almost anything without thought but now thoughts and memories are all we have. We are now facing the truth of not being able to do some of the things in our lives that are important to us and are a part of our everyday existence. Accepting things like: we can no longer cook the way we once could, simple as opening a can has become impossible, combing our hair is a chore, wringing a cloth won’t happen, doing many household chores get tossed by the wayside but most difficult, not being able to do the wonderful and joyful things with those closest to us. We’ve had to let go of the days of playing and running with our children, mall walking with our friends, playing basketball with the guys and sometimes just enjoying intimate times. We’re blaming ourselves for these losses because we are the ones who can no longer do them. Yet the reality and truth is, it is not our fault and we are not to BLAME but tell that to our breaking hearts and emotional minds.
We are wishing with all of our hearts that things could be the way they were and we are heartbroken because our lives have been interrupted more than many know. Being plagued with disabilities is very hard on us because we are suffering because of all that we’ve had to let go. The effects of this disease is devastating and far-reaching. You see through our guilt we pretend many times we’re okay hoping that our brave faces will give our love ones some relief from our frustrations. Pretending that we are okay in hopes of others not seeing that deep down we feel we are failures and failing most when we are needed. Blame and guilt takes its toll on us because we are left feeling like we’ve failed but what we want more than anything is to be told it’s okay that we can’t do the things we once could and it’s okay because they know we miss our old lives just as much as they do. We need understanding in order to be able to lessen the blame and guilt we put on ourselves.
Having a chronic disease is very hard and it requires understanding and patience even with ourselves. For us even when those in our lives do understand, we still feel all that is lost is our fault. We feel if only I didn’t have this disease those we love wouldn’t have to go through this struggle with us but the truth is “It Is A Family Struggle”. We are forced to look head-on at our life as it is now and forced to look back at what once was and accept this is how it will be. Our pain runs deep for the loss of our old selves and our old life and more than anything that life is missed. We wish silently that we could have it back and sometimes even out loud in frustration and pain. Though we blame ourselves and bury ourselves in guilt, we know deep inside we are not the blame for having this dreadful disease but that does not relieve us of the overpowering guilt we put upon ourselves.
We do feel guilty because we are loving people who cares what happens to those that this disease has touched in our lives. Because we don’t want their lives to stop because of us, we bear the blame causing ourselves hurt, pain and anguish but what we really need is for others to understand: control of this disease is not with us and we are affected more than they can ever imagine and know. A thought to keep in mind, blame brings on guilt, guilt brings on stress, stress brings on flares, flares brings on pain and fatigue and from there it’s downhill for us. So understand, for everything “We Would If We Could”.
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