Being a woman with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I can tell you it is very difficult to say the least. There is so much more for us to deal with than one can image. Let me tell you a little bit about a woman’s struggle with this disease.
As women, we are already above average in getting this disease, imagine what pressure that can put on you. Our hormones are often out our control even when we don’t want them to be but that is the anatomy of being who we are. The hormones that makes us who we are is a part of what puts us more at risk for RA. Along with this comes our guilt of wanting to deal with the pain and suffering of this disease but opting to keep it all to ourselves instead. Often this causes bouts of depression and anxiety which takes its toll. When this happens, there is this overwhelming sense of aloneness because no one understands exactly what you’re going through. You’re fighting RA while being on an emotional roller coaster seeking balance to cope.
It is said women are three time more likely to get RA than men, imagine that. This alone makes us stand out. It is suggested that females have stronger immune system responses than males however a heightened immune responses may also mean females immune systems are more likely to attack healthy tissues, putting them at risk of developing autoimmune conditions such as RA. We are 75% of the patients with this disease. We may have stronger immune systems but it does not make us a lone warrior but adds to our plight. How do women cope!!
Being a mom, wife or a single woman with RA you find that your life doesn’t stop when you are in pain. Women find they have to be strong for themselves and those in her family. She still has to carry on with taking care of so much of everything. There is the neverending pace of making everything right for everyone while hoping to fit yourself in at some point. You find that you are tired, worn out and racked with pain but you don’t stop because that is the nature of the woman.
The psychological aspect is hard because we often give up our self care to keep going for the sake of others. The toll Rheumatoid Arthritis takes on the body weighs heavy on the mind. Guilt is one of our worst enemies because we don’t want to feel like a failure even though our bodies may be failing us in the process. At the end of each day and in the quiet of each night, we maybe suffering in silence from the overload we’ve put in all day. Our work it seems with the pain is never done.
When we find time for ourselves, we sit with the realization of what this disease does to us, what it takes from us and how it dictates our lives. But as women we find strength when there is none and we give in only when we truly have to, yet we still struggle on. This is how it is being a woman with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a true Warrior in the midst of the Odds.