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Mental Health and RA

I want to start a discussion about mental health and RA. It is so important for us to be mentally healthy. I would like to know how some of the people in this community work to keep their mental health in check. RA can drain you not only physically but emotionally and mentally. How do you cope? Has anyone tried therapy? Medication? Meditation?

  1. Find your passion in life and focus on it. The more engaged you are, the more you'll be distracted by the pain. [That's not to say it's a substitute for medication......let's just call it "adjunct treatment."]

    1. I do three things to maintain my mental health. first I do regular talk therapy. It is actually a key component for me. I also take medication to assist in me battling depression. he third part is exercise, i use walking and bicycle riding to maintain good mental health.

      What steps do you take?

      rick - moderator

      1. I follow the same guidelines as you (talk therapy + medication + exercise) although the movement hasn't been as good since COVID started as I'd like. Something to work on this summer! Warmly, Amanda (Moderator)

    2. Hi ! Thanks for your response. I was recently diagnosed and the amount of prednisone I was taking was causing major mood swings and the mental aspect and acceptance of having RA was really depressing. I was put on a low dose of an anti depressant during that time. It helped tremendously but it came with side effects. I have my first talk therapy session tomorrow and am excited to see how that goes. I also journal. (when my fingers permit me to write) and I love to paint as well. Its a good distraction. I used to be an avid runner before my diagnosis and it was a punch to the gut to find out I cannot run anymore. I recently bought a peloton to try to fill the void of not being able to run but flares make it hard to do much these days. I am still trying to figure out the right medication. I do walk my dogs when I can and take them to the park on nice days. I was going to ask about therapy and it seems to have worked for you so I am really optimistic about it!

      1. I have to add that walking.....regular, consistent movement of any one of the best things you can do. For me, it's walking my dog. It's all about the distance, not the speed.

        Until he retired a year or so ago, I was fortunate to have one of the greatest rheumatologists in the US. There will never be another Dr. William Shiel [founder of]. One day I walked into his office and I was stressed with everyone's problems. He sat me down and told me to forget all that. When I was in his office it was all about ME. Wow. Who would have thought my small problems were important to someone. With that he suggested a psychotherapist.

        Talk therapy - great stuff. So I booked an appointment. She was instrumental in making me realize that it's all about living MY life and not worrying about living up to the expectations of others. My problems, small as they may be to those of others, are real problems and deserve consideration, too. It's ok for me to say NO. It's ok for me NOT to have to explain over and over again to someone why I can't participate in an activity. And that it's ok to go into the coat closet and do a little primal therapy. I'm all the better for her.

        So get out and walk and get those endorphins moving!

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