Do you remember what it felt like before you woke up everyday knowing you had to deal with chronic pain?
Before you were diagnosed with arthritis, you probably got out of bed everyday feeling great. You were confident about what your body can do. You were proud about how nimble your knitting fingers were. You enjoyed playing golf. You looked forward to morning runs. You dreaded daily chores but rolled your sleeves up anyway, knowing they had to get done.
And then you got diagnosed with arthritis—and you’re now faced with a different reality.
Suddenly, all the things that you enjoyed doing and probably took for granted became nearly impossible to do. Now, you have to deal with physical limitations and pain while trying your hardest to still live a normal life.
Ultimately, this shift in terms of body image and lifestyle can take its toll on your emotions and psyche. Few people understand that arthritis can in fact be debilitating. Sure, sufferers today have options in terms of medication, treatment, and aids, but at the end of the day, the possibility of disfigurement, experiencing pain daily and side effects due to medication is an inevitable reality that you have to deal with.
If your condition triggers anxiety or distress, trust us—it’s common among arthritis sufferers. We strongly encourage you to reach out for help. Speak to a trusted confidante, talk to family and friends and let them know what you’re going through. Better yet, start a dialogue with your doctor.
That said, we think it’s also important to put your condition in perspective and remind yourself of the following:
You are not defined by your illness. You may now have limitations, but that’s not reason enough to forget that there’s more to you than your condition.
There are ways for you to manage your condition. It may take extra effort, and a little more hard work, but it is possible to enjoy what you love with some tweaks and adjustments.
You should not over-generalize. If there is something that you find you are now unable to do because of your arthritis, it doesn’t mean that you’re a complete failure.
You have to be realistic about your goals.
You can’t dwell on your condition too much. The reality is, you now have to live with this condition, it doesn’t mean that it has to control you in every aspect of your life. Keep yourself informed but be sure to explore new things and keep doing what you love. Read, watch a movie, take up new hobbies, maybe even do volunteer work.
The emotions that you feel with respect to the changes and limitations of your body are valid. You’re essentially grieving the loss of a lot of things. It’s normal.
You’re not alone in this. You have family and friends who are more than willing to help you through this difficult time. Don’t shut them out on the assumption that they won’t understand what you’re going through.
And if you have questions or comments about arthritis that you want to talk about or share, feel free to DM us or leave us a message below.