A woman is standing behind a podium wearing a heart-patterned shirt points to a list of quotes.

You Know You Have RA When...

There are many shared experiences of living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that connect people all across the community.

Whether those experiences are difficult to navigate, physically draining, or just plain comical, they are unique to us.

Feeling less alone

When I sat down to brainstorm my list, I realized my experiences may be much more surface level as my diagnosis is relatively new (although I have had chronic pain for a decade without a name).

Those who have had RA for much longer may have many points to add through the years of experience. Together, we can create a list of RA-specific understanding that helps you feel not so alone.

After reading the list, go ahead and add your points to the comment sections so we can all have a laugh, cry, and shake of our heads!

You know you have RA when...

  1. You’re aware not all illnesses are always visible.
  2. You know joint pain is not the only symptom of RA.
  3. You know how complicated health insurance can be.
  4. You and your grandparents always have something in common to complain about.
  5. You can tell by the tenderness of your joints if it will rain.
  6. You knew what hydroxychloroquine was prior to COVID-era news.
  7. You make audible noises when getting up from sitting and bending down to sit.
  8. You know that Tylenol is actually a pretty weak pain reliever.
  9. You know that a strong immune response is not always a good thing.
  10. You know fatigue is not the same as being sleepy.
  11. You know that it can take a while to get going in the morning.
  12. You know that working with RA isn’t always so simple.
  13. You’ve experience the pure and sudden onset rage of steroids.
  14. You know Salonpas, Aspercreme, and Benegay are not the unique names of friends.
  15. You know your joints crackle, snap and pop.
  16. You know a bath is more than just a relaxing activity, but also a form of pain relief.
  17. You require another adult to open a water bottle.
  18. Your kitchen drawers are filled with adaptive tools.
  19. The winter season is so much more ominous than before your diagnosis.
  20. You know what NSAIDS stands for.
  21. You know mental health with RA is a battle of its own.
  22. You know that chronic pain changes everything about you.
  23. You know that women are more likely to be diagnosed with RA.
  24. You know that daily fevers don’t always mean you are sick with a cold or flu.
  25. You don't realize how important hand strength is until you can't open an Amazon package.
  26. You know that seropositive is not actually something positive.
  27. You know that there’s never enough sweaters, blankets, coats, or socks to keep you warm.
  28. You know tiny toys are the enemy.
  29. You know that the pain scale is subjective and a moving target.
  30. You know children and RA don’t necessarily mix but are so worth it.
  31. You know what it feels like to “pay” for completing normal activities.

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