A man sitting alone on a bench with a pained and uncomfortable positioning of his body.


You all know I am grateful for the life I have, despite and because of the rheumatoid disease. It’s been a blessing and a curse in many ways, and I cannot say fully whether I wish I could go back in time and try to avoid the disease altogether.

I was diagnosed when I was 20 years old, so I remember life before rheumatoid arthritis very clearly. It was a great life where I was physically fit and healthy. It’s hard not to revisit that time and mourn the person I was.

We all have struggles

However, I won’t be talking about "what ifs" in this article. I will be talking about jealousy. I am usually a strong advocate for living and enjoying my life and not comparing it to anyone else’s. We all have struggles; we all have things we wish we could change. And you know what? Honestly, sometimes I look at other people and think I’d rather deal with my RA.

Sometimes, though, I can’t help but be jealous of able-bodied people and people in “perfect” health.

I get jealous sometimes

I’m jealous that they just hop out of bed, grab a breakfast bar, and go. I am jealous that they don’t have to struggle with stiffness, agonize over what to wear because they may or may not have the dexterity to put certain clothing, and not have to sit for thirty minutes between eating and taking a ton of medications.

I am jealous that they can walk everywhere. I am jealous that they don’t have to think about the consequences of that walk, how it will affect them that night or even the next day. I am jealous that they feel no pain when they move and they have no restrictions on how much they can do.

I am jealous they have no limits.

I am jealous that they don’t need to consider their health. They can happily and without worry hang out in big crowds, go camping, sit in small confined spaces (like bars, theaters, or restaurants). I am jealous they don’t have to worry about getting sick or making others sick.

I am jealous that, right now, my friends are traveling and hanging out while I, like a troll under a bridge, stay huddled in my house with my spray alcohol, poised to tackle any bacteria that comes my way.

I am jealous that people have extra money to spend on the things they love. They can buy that new bag or go out to eat instead of squirreling away any extra funds for co-payments, testing, insurance, or a major medical bill.

I am jealous of people who can type and write and draw. I am jealous of people who do not need to take frequent breaks because their joints seize up or to avoid a flare later on. I am jealous they can do things for long periods of time without consequences (again).

I try not to dwell on this

I try not to dwell on these topics for long because it can be a very negative place to stay. Yes, there are things I can no longer do; I do have considerations that most other people do not have, but it is what it is. I cannot change it. Sometimes, though, just sometimes, it’s okay to be jealous of the things I can’t have!

Do you find yourself green with envy sometimes, too?

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