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Power and RA

RA is a powerful disease; it takes a lot out of you and asks a lot in return. I would contend that just as RA is a powerful disease, someone with RA must be more powerful in order to deal with the extra pain, fears, and uncertainties that accompany life with an auto-immune disorder. The key question becomes (and the one I’d like to dissect and unpack today) is: where does that power come from?

How do we find the power to manage rheumatoid arthritis?

Assert your truth about rheumatoid arthritis

The power to tackle RA originates from yourself and your body. This might seem contradictory to the lived experience of someone with RA, who is in pain and does not feel like they have much control over their body. The key, then, becomes asserting yourself.

By asserting your truth and your condition, you give RA a name and identify how it has impacted your life. This includes learning to say “no” to extra activities that would exacerbate your pain, journaling and writing about RA and how it is progressing, and actively taking concrete steps toward managing your condition. Assuredly, this is easier said than done.

Admit that rheumatoid arthritis impacts you

Closely tied with asserting your condition is the notion that power also comes from not letting RA defeat you. How does that explicitly play out? The first step is to accept that RA is a part of your life. This does not mean that you have to accept everything about RA; rather, admitting that RA affects you puts you in the strongest position you can be in to begin counteracting this disease. It forces perspective in your life and makes you think of the ways in which you can make your life yours again.

Be honest with your doctor about rheumatoid arthritis

The power you hold over your body is also tied to what medications you take, as well. You’re already likely working with a rheumatologist who will guide you along this journey and be there to support you; but, it can be hard to be honest and transparent with your doctor.

In my experience up until recently, I desperately wanted to be better and because of that, I began downplaying how I was doing with my condition in order to trick myself into feeling better. In retrospect, this was not the correct course of action, as I experienced a pretty severe flare recently that I could have stopped beforehand. I guess, in all honesty, I still don’t want to admit that I have RA, I continued letting RA hold some sway and power over me. But after this most recent flare, I’ve decided that that will no longer be the case.

We can live a productive life with rheumatoid arthritis

Power over this disease begins and ends with the self. This might sound quite quixotic but what I mean is: this life is hard; RA makes it harder; but that doesn’t mean you cannot live a productive life, a life that allows you to experience all the richness that this life contains and offers.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • MeganJClark
    2 weeks ago

    This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot too. Why am even more bad ass even though I’m now officially disabled? The answer is being true to yourself – the more difficult that is, the more you have to do it, the more you have to fight for it, the better you get at it.

  • Kelly Dabel moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Great perspective MeganJClark! Thanks for commenting and sharing. Best, Kelly, Rheumatoidarthritis.net Team Member

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    2 weeks ago

    MeganJClark,

    Self help is a muscle we have to exercise to be good at it. For me, I know that when I had to give up work, I got more rest, less dread, and as a result better health. I think the worst had happened and after that, what more could anyone do of real consequences that woudl harm me?

  • Mary Sophia Hawks moderator
    2 weeks ago

    David, thanks for writing. You are correct, our attitude makes a huge difference. For myself, I find that I am only able to adjust my attitude because of my faith.
    Mary Sophia

  • 2mra
    2 weeks ago

    I accepted my diagnoses shortly after all of my diseases. What choice did i have? That helped.

    When I was young to about age 38, the few and short times that I was in remission, I helped my hubby lift heavy items. I didn’t want him to think less of me and I was stronger (from my generics and Mom’s upbringing) during those times. I also wasn’t one to say no, if I could help. That all helped.

    Then he accompanied me to one of my Rheumy appointments. Since then, he understood the state I was in. Hmmm, wish I had thought of that sooner.
    That helped.

    I’ve not been one to write journals. It would not help me feel better.

    “this life is hard; RA makes it harder; but that doesn’t mean you cannot live a productive life, a life that allows you to experience all the richness that this life contains and offers”.

    Seriously? I painfully managed to raise our kids, for the most part, and looked after my hubby and still do. Yes, I’ve had many good experiences. That statement above has never happened to me and never will. Sorry to be blunt.

    I do wish you David and others the best though.

    Hopefully, your New Year is happy and that your meds work more often than not.

  • Mary Sophia Hawks moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Zmra,
    You have trod a difficult path. I recently wrote an article regarding the fact that we cannot and should not compare ourselves to others. Our paths are unique. We only need to compare our bad and good days to our own bad and good days. Brava to you for raising your children! Accomplishing that is monumental when you have RA. “Richness in life” to me only means that I can enjoy my good days, and battle through my bad days. I hope that you find comfort.
    Mary Sophia Hawks, Rheumatoidarthritis.net Team

  • 2mra
    5 days ago

    Thank you Mary!

    Yes, raising our kids was my biggest accomplishment. We celebrated Christmas with them and our Grandchildren again this year which was very nice. It would have been nicer, if the pain was gone for even that day. Then, I could have at least lifted the one year old. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to have the experience of watching our kids and Grandkids grow up.

    I tend to compare my health to others that I see which is stupid. I do appreciate the day here and there when I feel better though.

    The Best to You!

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    3 weeks ago

    I believe that admitting RA’s impact and being honest with your doctor are the two traits that are the most positive for people with RA.

    If you do those two things, you can be productive for certain. But without them, well its a coin toss at best.

    rick – moderator.

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