Building confidence to deal with RA
Much like any other undertaking in life, managing RA takes perseverance and confidence, neither of which come easy. Just as in any other area of your life, from work, to hobbies, to relationships, gaining confidence can happen but it does take work!
Knowing RA means being able to manage it better
When it comes to managing RA or any other chronic disease for that matter, the first step is getting to know it in all its glory. Just as you need to train for a new job or sport, you need to “train” to manage your RA. That means researching, studying, and living day to day with the realities of RA. Your physician and medical team are critical aspects of building your confidence. They can supply you with some of the basics and be a priceless resource as you build your confidence in handling RA. The more you know the better you will do. PERIOD. Ignorance is your worst enemy. Burying your head in the sand and/or leaving all of the decisions to others, will not serve you well. When you are eventually pushed to make a decision, and you will be, you must have confidence that what you are choosing is right for you, whether it be a treatment choice, a life choice, etc. That confidence only comes when you make the effort and take the time to truly understand the disease.
Taking responsibility for your RA choices
Confidence also breeds taking responsibility for your choices. It is far too easy in our world, to leave decisions to others. That is especially tempting when we have so much to deal with from pain, to day to day functioning to treatment choices, just to name a few. How lovely would it be to have someone who can always tell you what to do, how to do it and when? Well, that is not a good strategy and will not go well for those of us managing a chronic disease. Because the fact is, the only person who truly understands the day to day demands of RA and its chaotic nature is each one of us, individually. Once you have personal confidence, you will feel calmer and/or more certain that you have made the right decision for your circumstances. That is a key to successfully managing RA. As is often pointed out, everyone manifests RA uniquely. That means that we must learn to rely on our own best instincts, a reflection of personal confidence.
Of course, using the resources that are available to us and learning how and when to access them is all part of the process of gaining confidence. I am by no means suggesting that we isolate ourselves and only take our own counsel. Once you feel confident, you are much more likely to engage in well informed discussions with the various professionals you interact rather than letting them take complete control. That sense of having control is one of the many benefits of confidence.
Being able to confidently review the various aspects of your unique circumstances with your entire care circle will translate into the best outcomes for you.
Confidence is a process but one worth pursuing, and I can “confidentially” tell you it is well worth it!
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?