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Finding Your Music

When you live with RA, life can be, well, let’s call it challenging.  Every day you encounter simple things of no consequence to others that become the bane of your existence.  For example, pill bottle safety tops, obviously invented by SATAN.  As you can see this results in a buildup of stress and you need to find a way to relieve it.  You have to find your music.

Finding your music

Finding your music – this isn’t just a whimsical metaphor.  I really mean find your music.  For me, music is THE thing.  I look forward to writing and driving more than anything else because that’s when I get to crank the music up and no one bothers me.  Music for me is like a delicious bowl of pudding and I just want to shove as much of it into my ears as I possibly can – and by that I mean I play it loud.  I have spent a considerable sum of money on audio gear so I can hear all the instruments – from the bass guitar to the bongos to that one toot on the kazoo that you didn’t even realize was there.  It’s my thing, and I love it more than anything else and it’s mine.  I don’t barf it all over social media or brag about how ultra cool I am because I listen to bands that you’ve never heard of, I just do it because I love it and want to cram those notes into my brain as fast and as hard as I can.  Sometimes I even sing, but thankfully I can carry a bit of a tune so my neighbors don’t call animal control.  It can be anything – country, pop, funk, showtunes, trance, reggae, rock, metal, easy listening, classic rock, ska, big band, rockabilly, vocal standards – seriously, I listen to it all and love it all.  I tried once to count all the artists on my playlists, vinyl, and hard drives and after around 1500 I lost count.  Or maybe I just lost interest in knowing.  If I had to pick only one form of entertainment for the rest of my life, it would be music without a moment of hesitation.  When I walk down the street and have my earbuds in, whatever music is playing creates a soundtrack for the real life I’m watching, and I imagine the credits scrolling underneath like some 1980s sitcom.  Music gives me an instant confidence boost and self-esteem shot in the arm.  The point I’m trying to make, in case you missed it, is I love music.  It’s the thing that I go to when I need to tune out the world and get that mojo going again.

Recharge your batteries

I know, it was a bit long winded, but I think you get the point.  Without all of that above the thirty plus years of living with my RA would have been unbearable.  I can’t tell you how many times I have just put on my good earphones, closed my eyes, and sat for hours on days when I’m overwhelmed by pain or stiffness or just feeling like I can’t possibly ever amount to anything with this stupid illness.  It recharges my batteries.  You need to find the thing that recharges yours.  Maybe it’s music also, maybe it’s gardening, or maybe it’s playing the harpsichord while wearing a ballet tutu and eating a watermelon.  Granted that last one is a little complicated to pull together on short notice, but if it’s what you turn to then it’s what you turn to.  Rheumatoid Arthritis and other autoimmune illnesses burn through our patience and stamina double time, and every break we take has to be thoroughly invigorating or we risk not being able to carry on with our day.  Some days it’s unavoidable, but other days a bit of recharging and alone time with whatever your thing is can get you through.

Do what you love to do

I know that it’s difficult to find time with kids and work and school and life. Me – I absolutely hate having to sleep, do you know what I could do with all that extra time?  I’d rule the world.  Or at least finish the three half-novels I have sitting on my hard drive.  When you have an illness that runs on fatigue and exhausts tiredness you must find time for yourself or else you run out of gas before the finish line and when people count on you that’s not an option.  Even if it’s just you, losing all your get-up-and-go before you are finished doing something always makes you feel like your illness will be interfering with your life forever.  It’s frustrating and drains hope – that’s why you have to find your music, your thing that you love to do just because you love to do it.  Not because you have to do it or because it’s something everyone else is doing, but because you really love doing it.

Not the usual post, huh?  I know, but I felt like it was important to convey what “your thing” should feel like.  What if you don’t have anything like my music?  Well, it’s never too late to start.  Take up needlepoint, start a blog, learn about cooking, play hopscotch in a kilt – whatever you think you might like, do it.  Even if you don’t find a thing, finding your thing can be your thing.  Get it?  Talk soon.

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

  • Kristileeb7
    6 months ago

    Music soothes the soul!

  • Daniel Malito moderator author
    6 months ago

    @kristileeb7 Aint that the truth! Especially good sould like all of ours. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

  • stormlight
    6 months ago

    Finally, someone else gets it! I’m a Quora member, and one of the top responders with regards to RA. What you’ve written, I tell people all the time when they come to me looking for ways to cope: do what you love, make plenty of “you time”, and make use of the power of music! (I do however advise them to avoid techno or thrash metal because, given the pace of these kinds of music, and the effect they have on the body, I doubt they’d be helpful).

    If you want to know anything about healing crystals for RA, please speak out: I’ve been using crystals for over 30 years, so I know what is most likely to help.

  • Daniel Malito moderator author
    6 months ago

    @stormlight I do tell people also about the healing poiwer of music, but most people are just like “we don’t have time like you!” I tell them it’s worth it to make time just to sit and listen to music with or without your family, no distractions! Thanks for reading, keep on listening! DPM

  • B.Hughes
    6 months ago

    Daniel this is so me. Music has always been my thing but since I’ve been diagnosed it’s become even more important. I’m an 80’s girl and Country . I love to get in my car and just drive and listen to whatever I’m feeling that day.When I’m feeling cruddy it helps me. I just like the Me time.Thanks for sharing your love of music too.

  • Daniel Malito moderator author
    6 months ago

    @b-hughes Oh man, driving and listening ona nice day with the windows open is like one of my most favorite things to do. I wish we could share it with the whole world! Thanks for reading, keep on listening! DPM

  • katel
    6 months ago

    This. is. me. Music is my life, since I got my first record at the age of 10. I love it all, and what I listen to depends on my mood and how I am feeling. Listening to a certain song can instantly bring me back to a time and place I want to remember, and feel all the feelings that came with it. I raised my children on a great variety of music genres and took them to countless concerts. These are the memories that get me through the tough days, and my music will always soothe my soul. Thanks for sharing and putting into words exactly how I feel!

  • Daniel Malito moderator author
    6 months ago

    @katel I get it, some days all I want to do is to shut myself in my room and crank it up. Somehow it just makes me feel like everything isn’t so bad. It’s awesome you were able to share it with your kids, I hope they turn out exactly like you! Thanks for reading, keep on listening! DPM

  • RHPass
    6 months ago

    My caregivers all have instructions to play certain playlists i’ve Made in different situations! With the right music it’s almost like I forget I’ve RA over 20 yrs.

  • Daniel Malito moderator author
    6 months ago

    @rhpass That’s totally true! I never know which playlist is going to strike me just right on what day – be it tunes I can sing or tunes I can just listen to – but I always find something! Thanks for reading! Keep on listenin’ DPM

  • terryf
    6 months ago

    Completely get this! In the long list of things RA affects, music is one thing it can’t take away from you. Thank you for putting it into words so well – I’m off to shuffle one of my Spotify playlists! xx

  • Daniel Malito moderator author
    6 months ago

    @terryf Agreed! I have Spotify, although I’mn checking out Tidal as well since sound quality is supposed to be better. Jury is still out and Spotify is just so damn easy to use! 🙂 Thanks for reading, keep on listenin’ DPM

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