Male figure sitting in chair with brain falling out of head through a hole in his face

The Weariness of RA

I think that for many of us who suffer for years with RA, the overall weariness of it all can certainly escalate as time goes on. I am not referring to the physical fatigue of the disease. What I am talking about is the complete mental exhaustion of managing a chronic disease like RA.

The mental burden of managing RA

I am finding that I have days now when I simply do not want to even consider anything associated with RA. Not the medications I need to take, not the management I need to employ, not the vigilance of the symptoms, etc. I think I have always had days like this. Lately, they seem to be happening more and more often. I wonder if it is just some kind of disease fatigue. I suspect many of you feel this as well.

There is never a break from RA

It seems it may very well be that the years and years of having to manage RA are wearing us out. Like anything intense that takes your undivided attention, we need a break! I know in the work world, when I was knee-deep in a crisis or a particularly demanding project, it wore on me. I was so happy when the crisis passed or the project was completed. I could take a break, breathe a sigh of relief. With RA, there is no passing of the crisis or completion of the disease. It will always be with us. Add to that, years and years of management and that accounts for this sense of weariness.

How to take care of yourself

Try to let go of worrying thoughts

So, as I always like to do, let’s consider some strategies to counter the weariness.One way to handle this is to simply let it happen. By that I mean, when you feel this sense of overall weariness, embrace it. Let go of the RA management for a time. Not the essential parts like taking your medication, etc. But the other aspects that so occupy our thoughts day in and day out. Put it away for a time. Enjoy a respite for a bit.

Find a positive distraction

Go away for a short trip if you can, have a day of pampering, do something new and exciting. Distractions that are positive and give us relief are always a good strategy for dealing with weariness. Go to a movie or play, try a new restaurant.

Discover a new hobby or activity

Try a new exercise like Tai Chi, really do some research into finding a new hobby or volunteer activity that takes your mind off your RA and all that goes with it.

Talk to your health care team

Talk to your Care Team about this. They may have some suggestions for your specific situation. If you find that the weariness deepens into depression, talking with your physician is essential. 

Take care of your mental health

Managing our mental well-being is equally as important as our physical health. It needs the same attention and consideration. Too often we focus our energies on the physical side or RA, to the detriment of our mental health and the role it plays in coping with a chronic disease.

The management of RA can create a sense of weariness that is not easy to manage but if you can acknowledge it and share it with your Care Team it can be managed just like any other aspect of our RA.

Nan

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