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Explaining RA to others

How do you explain RA symptoms to others?

  1. I feel that it's hard for people to understand and what we have to live with... I have COPD with RA... along with heart problems so basically stay in bed all day with oxygen...

  2. Hi DCB and thank you for sharing with us. You're right - it's very difficult for others to understand if they don't have RA and endure its symptoms daily. I'm sorry to hear about both of your diagnoses. Have you checked out our sister-site yet? There is a great community and wealth of information over there for you to check out. Perhaps you can find some support and comfort there as well. We're thinking of you today! Wishing you a gentle day. - Alesandra ( Team)

    1. I am so happy to have found you people that understand RA... I was diagnosed with COPD 15 years ago... and was just diagnosed this year with RA... so I am constantly reading about things to help minimize my pain. I am now seeing a physical therapist who comes to my home three times a week to get me out of bed... and I'm taking medication for my depression.. actually I take so much medication I'm starting to get huge bags under my eyes... I take a lot of supplements too.
      I am so happy to have found you people because I was in a lot of fear and reading other people's information really helps...

  3. It's hard, so hard, to explain RA to others. People hear "arthritis" and immediately they think of a story to equate it to their own arthritis or how their grandmother could always tell when it's going to rain. Most times I just smile and listen when that happens; give an occasional nod of understanding, then move on to the next subject.

    It's difficult, however, when it comes to explaining it to an employer...especially a new employer. I found, in my experience, smiling and saying my body is trying to kill me generally makes them stop and listen. I mean, how often do you hear that!? I try to be forthcoming with knowledge - after all, if they don't understand the disease they'll never understand what a flare is let alone why a flare can put you down for days.

    I was diagnosed as a child, 13 to be exact. I spent most of my childhood being shuffled from one doctor to the next trying to figure out why I was constantly sick, tired and complaining that I hurt. Fast forward 33 years and it's still hard, even in my forties, for people to understand how I could have RA because I'm "so young" and it never gets any easier explaining the disease.

    We're the broken warriors 😀

    1. I'm newly diagnosed with RA and finding it hard to explain to people what's happening to my body. Today is a bad day having to phone into work to say I can't make it in. Joined this forum looking for support and read your post. This really made me chuckle how you would smile and say my body is trying to kill me! Think I might try that. Thanks

    2. Thank you for that. It soothes me to hear that others are struggling with the same thing. I am sorry that you had to go through this since you are 13! I am 42 and I guess that is also still too "young" for people to understand. So you tell your employers about it? I am without a job and haven't been able to get a job despite so many applications. Whenever I say I have it, it leads to me not getting a job. How do you do it? You send the application first and then you say it in the interview? Thanx.

  4. In my case, I don’t try to give too much information about it. In the times I’ve been asked I tend to use the autoimmune disease term, which is usually more understood by people where I live, for some reason. In the few times I’ve used the term RA, sometimes people shake their head and then change the subject, and sometimes they look at me confused. A few times though I’ve had someone interested enough to actually listen to my story and try to get a better understanding of what RA is. But generally, when I start going into a lot of detail I get the “ but you’re so young” or “you don’t look sick” or “yeah I have that in my knee too”. Don’t get me wrong though, when I’m in a flare I don’t try and hide my symptoms,I just let people know that I don’t feel well and so yes I need more rest, I need to take care of me. So mostly I’m just thankful that the most important people in my life care enough to try and understand, and as much as I want everyone to be educated about it, I take the rest of the comments with a grain of salt. Everyone’s battle is different, but we are all warriors at the end of the day. Hang in there y’all!

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