Have I become my disease! Have I let what it has done to me affect the people and things in my life that are important to me the way it has affected me! That is tough because having Rheumatoid Arthritis is bound to change who you are and how you are. It changes how you cope, think and respond to everything in your life, making you a symptom of a life that is filled with symptoms from a disease that is known as Rheumatoid Arthritis. A disease that has not been accepted for the damaging disease that it is. One that has us dealing with a myriad of affects that affect every aspect of our lives.
RA causes many things to happen to our bodies and our minds. It changes how we are on the inside and outside, therefore it changes us psychologically. It causes pain, maybe deformities and bone erosion that hurts us to our core. We’re having flare-ups that can last for a long time and we’re struggling with overbearing fatigue. Does that sound like something that we might be doing because of this disease: causing pain (though not intentional), flaring up when we’re frustrated and sometimes getting tired of ourselves and others because we feel we’re failing ourselves and those in our lives and even becoming overbearing at times. Those in our lives may not understand the enormity of all that we’re going through which can cause our relationships to erode and possibly fade over time causing more emotional pain. The ripple effects are more than we could have ever imagined.
There is no cure for our disease so we’re forced to take medication and do a host of other things in order to cope. It can be managed with medication for some of us, still the damage has been done. So here we are trying desperately to manage something that’s incurable while the symptoms that affects us physically and emotionally cause our symptoms to sometime overflow into our lives. As we deal with this chronic disease we feel we are becoming chronic in a life that seems to be a revolving cycle. Becoming emotional, then getting better and the cycle continues.
Chronic pain, chronic fatigue and loss of appetite leaves us struggling to work, play and even cook for our families. Feeling like a failure is like having a medication that has once again failed us. This brings on chronic depression, stress and bitterness that leaves us wanting to be alone or we just end up being alone which means those in our lives are missing us. As hard as we try, there are times when Rheumatoid Arthritis wins against our fiercest fight. We are left with a battle for our lives both mentally and physically struggling to find balance. Yet the balance often sways back and forth as we’ve come to learn in this life with RA. There is hardly a settling moment when we can say to ourselves “I am feeling just fine and everything is okay”. Life being normal has now lost its normalcy and we now have to learn a whole new life of “what normal is now”.
This disease has affected us so much and changed us in so many ways and there are times we feel we are losing ourselves to it. Are we becoming our disease, No we are not becoming our disease even though it brings out the worst in us. We are symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Our bodies, minds and spirits are affected by this vicious disease and it is something that we must deal with on a daily basis for our entire lives. We will go through many emotions and deal with many ups and downs but as this disease is here with us for always, so will our resolve to keep going no matter how tough things get.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease that destroys. It destroys our bodies, minds, jobs, abilities, spirits and it can destroy our families if we allow it too. We must not let it make us become like it, a person with terrible symptoms. Never give up.