Choices - real or perceived?

The notion of real or perceived choices has peaked my interest lately.  What do I mean by that?  Well, simply put I have come to a place where I wonder how many choices are real and how many are actually predetermined but seem like they are in our control? And most importantly, does it matter?  Are there consequences when we feel choices are not ours to make?

When it comes to the choices I make with regard to managing RA, I like to think I have lots of choices, most of my own free will.  But when I really examine them, I do sometimes feel like they have to a large extent, been predetermined.

For instance, choosing a rheumatologist.  They are scarce and often we are directed to the closest one, regardless of whether that works for us or not.  So the reality is, we may think we have a choice, but the fact is, we are told who our physician will likely be.  Now, we can choose to drive some greater distances to see a different doctor but for many people this is simply not an option.  Does it matter?  It does to me.

With that in mind, I wanted to sort out how many choices are truly mine and how many are not?  I think this is a question worth asking, because for me, getting those answers made me feel much more in control of my destiny.  I happily found out that most of them are, at least in part, my choice.  They may be heavily influence by circumstances beyond my control, but that does not mean I have no choice. On the contrary, I will advocate for what I think is best for me in any given situation.

If you look at treatment for instance, you may think at first glance, that the choices you have are by no means real.  That, in fact, they are being made for you by a physician.  Well, the fact is, if you do your homework, you can learn to advocate for your choices, ensure your voice is heard, and by so doing, become a more active and informed chooser.  There are many, many treatment choices out there today.  The key is to not turn over your choice to someone else, unless of course you want to, in which case, you are good to go.

I determined that oftentimes our choices may not be 100% our own but that is fine as long as we still have some real input into the options.  That makes a choice real and not perceived and that is what I was hoping for when I started this inquiry.

I just did not want to find out that because I have a chronic and challenging disease with so many aspects that feel set in stone at times, my choices were not mine, not real.

What I have discovered is that if we want to have more real choices with regard to managing RA, then we must take responsibility by becoming informed, educated and invested.  The more you know the more you can choose.  It really is that simple.

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