Importance of Normal Conversations
One of the things that I was reminded of lately is how important normal conversations are for coping with rheumatoid arthritis. During my recent medication change, I had a lot of pain and stiffness. It was a really hard time and hard for me to think about anything else other than my RA. Normal conversations (or preserving some normalcy) have helped me get through some of these tough times.
Not dwelling on RA during the darkness
When you’re in the worst pit of RA hell, what you really need is to not think about it all the time! The dwelling on the awfulness just seems to make it worse.
Although I was not excited about working when I felt so terrible, my job was a good distraction because I like it and it keeps me busy. I didn’t tell people at work much about my difficulties because I wanted to continue being able to have normal conversations about anything other than my RA. I didn’t want how awful I was feeling to become the focus, especially when we have work to do.
An RA flare doesn’t go with socializing
Socializing was more difficult and rare because of my lack of energy and not feeling up to going out. But it was good therapy when I was able. Just to be able to laugh or talk about other things was a good distraction from my RA struggles.
I really value my husband, Richard, for being able to help me with keeping things as normal as possible. He asks me how I am doing, but we don’t dwell on it. We talk about our days, the antics of the cat, current events, TV shows, books, and many other things. While my RA doldrums were always there, it wasn’t the only thing in our lives.
The importance of non-RA conversations
Don’t get me wrong—I think it’s valuable and important to talk about our RA experiences, especially with our loved ones. This is how we work through challenges and get much-needed support.
But there’s a huge and important place for normal conversations as well. I don’t want to feel like just an RA patient. I want to be a person! I need to be able to talk about other things.
Sometimes it is the frivolous topics that are the best for distracting myself from RA, like TV shows and movies. Or silly celebrity gossip. It’s the stuff that I don’t need to stress or worry about, that doesn’t impact me personally that feels most fruitful for entertaining chats.
With normal conversations, I can put a little distance between myself and my RA. I can have a breather from the worries about when my medications will start working, if I’m doing enough exercise, if I’m getting enough rest, and so on. I’m not pretending it’s not there, but the RA can fade into the background for a few minutes and let other aspects of life take center stage.
Sometimes, with RA, a little bit of normalcy feels so foreign or far away. But if we can snag a little normal conversation then it feels slightly closer, slightly more possible to achieve. I think sometimes others may be surprised at how little I may talk about my RA, but in having normal conversations I’m just taking a break and letting life happen.