The Most Important Piece of Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis Life
Managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2005 and rheumatoid arthritis in 2013. I sought knowledge and education and found a great rheumatologist. I am now on my 8th medication. I really balked at adaptive supplies for the first couple of years, but now I accept them readily.
I was thrilled when I found Rheumatoidarthritis.net! Finally, people who understand me. People who really know the RA life I live. This is my community. I have a couple of friends who love me as I truly am.
It was not until early July 2020 when I realized what the most important part of managing RA life is for me.
Experiencing an episode of mild depression
A little background. I am a registered nurse and work for a church. The specialty is called Faith Community Nursing and I have multiple responsibilities. Prior to COVID-19, we had held monthly senior lunch and learns.
Since the COVID-19 lockdown began, I have been working from home. In April, I hosted our first senior Zoom meeting. We have not yet been able to have speakers on board, so I have been responsible for topics. I also have been charting COVID-19 data in table format and line graphs.
Current events and personal concerns
Our first meeting was simply a meet-and-greet and check-in. The second meeting was education and a question-and-answer for COVID-19. Our third meeting was on racism and how to move forward.
As I struggled to choose a topic for our fourth meeting, I was really dealing with some mild depression. All I was focused on was being home, COVID-19, deaths in the church, racism, politics, and so on. All this on top of managing my rheumatoid arthritis and upcoming cataract surgeries.
Remembering humor during tough moments
The lightbulb went off as I read one of Daniel Malito’s articles here on Rheumatoidarthritis.net. I had simply forgotten the importance of humor! That night, I sat down and pulled up my favorite comedian on Netflix. Even though I have seen these before, they still make me laugh.
In the midst of the horrible unknown that we currently live in, it may seem sacrilegious to some of you to laugh. And yet, there is no better time to remember our humor. Humor balances the bad and gives your body endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals. The best part? When you feel balanced, you can better manage the stuff that rheumatoid arthritis and the world throw at you.
Humor doesn't fix everything
Am I saying that laughter fixes everything? Although I am a positive person at heart, I know that it does not fix everything. What laughter does is increase oxygen and blood flow to your body and produces endorphins. It makes you feel more energized and yet at peace. And that makes all this stuff more manageable.
Incorporating laughter and humor
Incorporating laughter and humor into your daily routine takes planning. I have friends on Facebook who share jokes. I read all of Daniel’s articles and Rick’s comments. They always make me laugh! I watch TV shows and comedians at least 3-4 times a week. With those small changes, I feel better.
The senior Zoom meeting this July was on true or false questions. I had a blast researching these, and the meeting was so fun! Just seeing smiles on faces and hearing the laughter of my dear senior friends was a blessing to me. Everyone left with a smile and a little less stress.
Right now, what RA tips would most be helpful for you?