Rheumatoid Arthritis, it’s no secret it causes us pain, pain and more pain, not just physical pain but the emotional pain that sometimes the eyes of others just don’t see. The emotional pain of losing ourselves to this disease can be almost as great as the physical pain we suffer at the hands of this disease. These are the burdens we bear day in and day out.
How do we come to terms with the losses we face from Rheumatoid Arthritis whether big or small. Learning to cope with our new way of living is not easy because that means accepting that life as we knew it is gone forever, though deep in our hearts we already know this is our truth. Yet we never want to think that we cannot get back some part of how we once were so we keep hoping and praying that our medication will work to fix our pain or make it more tolerable but where is that guarantee. Our hope at being able to do just a little of what we use to do is never far from our minds and hearts. It is true that we work so hard through pain and fatigue to have the most normal life that we can in spite of a disease that is so debilitating.
Losing ourselves is like looking back at someone special from our past and remembering the good times we had and how carefree life was back then and also remembering we never had to hesitate before making plans but now life with RA has come in and made those pleasant times just memories and our carefree life a great hope that we cling too. We now have to face our many limitations and deal with the guilt that comes with accepting the things we can no longer do. Gone are those carefree days which have now been replaced with days of hoping and wishing we could leave behind the pain that has now become our normal. We struggle simply to hold ourselves together. The emotional pain of losing ourselves runs deep as we struggle to make sense of life with this disease that so many cannot understand or make sense off themselves. How we want and wish that one day in our lives we could wake up, shake off the pain and fatigue and do just some of the things that have now become difficult for us if not impossible. We long for relief from the guilt as well as the physical effects this disease lies on us as it’s slowly changing who we are and changing us into someone we so often cry about simply because the change is harsh.
We watch ourselves change knowing that little by little a lot of what was once easy for us is being replaced by frustration because Rheumatoid Arthritis is stealing our strength along with our abilities leaving us as its mercy. Accepting these changes is filled with difficulty for us but more for those in our lives because in reality they to do not get the magnitude of RA and its effects. We must be fair, there are some who does and for that we are grateful. It is not easy watching the people we love watch us as we struggle knowing that it is out of our control what is happening to us. Even though there may not always be the physical changes that can be seen, it is without a doubt we are changing. We hurt deeply inside literally, emotionally and throughout our daily lives as we try to adjust to the new life we have to live. We don’t want to be stuck in this pain ridden limbo of wondering what will we lose next to this disease. The point is, these losses may not be major in the eyes of many but to us they are great. Something as simple as not being able to comb your hair or open a jar because your hands hurt so bad is what we face. Having RA gives us a new outlook on what doing less can really mean. Yet our desire is to have a full life filled with making ourselves happy and those in our lives but as it stand that can be tough sometimes.
Losing ourselves to Rheumatoid Arthritis is such a sad and devastating thing that we fight each and every day. There are no set rules when it comes to how each one of us is affected by having this disease because it damages each one of us in ways that are different but the same. It leaves us feeling guilty for what we can’t do, sad for what we haven’t done and feeling hopeless for what we will never be able to do. As we struggle with the guilt, the isolation, the physical and emotional pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis, we look back at our lives and remember how we were but now we have to try hard to accept how our life is now and work hard to make the best out of a difficult situation. We have lost a part of ourselves to this disease but we as sufferers are not losers. We fight harder than people know or imagine because we are fighting even while we are walking, standing, sitting or laying in bed because this disease is always at work.
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