That Pivotal Moment with RA
When I was first diagnosed with RA, I recall my thoughts largely being centered on what aspects of my life would now be altered in a negative way and what had been taken from me. For quite some time my thoughts centered on the losses and the dismal future that lay ahead.
Letting my emotions take control of my life
I think the shock of the diagnosis coupled with the reality of managing a chronic disease all came together to create this negativity. I know now that these emotions are all part of the journey of RA. In fact, I think it is not only normal to feel this way but likely necessary to move forward. I believe we need to process such major changes in our lives. It seems to me it would actually be odd to just roll along and not feel any type of emotional loss.
The turning point in my RA journey
Eventually, I was able to begin to see a future that would weave RA into my life but would not dominate the fabric of my life. In the beginning, taking it day to day was crucial. I simply got up each day and tried to find some positivity. The beauty of the day, some accomplishment at work, a joyful moment with my family. Anything to recenter my thoughts and pull me away from focusing only on the negative. It may have been the most pivotal moment in my RA journey, and 25+ years later, I still believe that.
Slowly changing my perspective
Interestingly I don’t think it happened suddenly or easily but rather evolved. Of particular note is the fact that it was not a smooth or always forward-moving process. I would describe it more like 2 steps forward, 1 step back – maybe even 2 steps back some days, but that is OK. Life is not smooth or easy or without challenges even though I tried to make it that way. I did my best to keep things copesetic all my life so to have this hideous disease befall me was overwhelming. It took concentrated effort and lots of support to get past the shock and reality of managing RA.
It's important to remember that we can have a satisfying and joyful life. What we need to do once the shock and awe pass, is take whatever time we need to consider and plan, all while keeping positivity as our guiding concept.
Keeping a positive mindset with RA
I also realized that managing RA is not just an idea but has concrete steps. Once implemented, those steps are a huge part of being able to move forward. It feels good to have a plan to deal with RA and to enact that plan. If we ever hope to refocus on progress, we need to take the necessary emotional steps to get there. There is no deadline. There is no specific timeline. I think with the right mindset, it will happen naturally. Just as we strategize at various times throughout our lives when it comes to key decisions, we need to do that with RA. When you are thinking ahead to your career goals, you develop a plan, consider how to get there, and finally, implement those steps. The same is true with RA.
Recognizing the pivotal moment in your RA journey will be a true and positive revelation.