Can You Have RA And Still Be Adaptable?

This is something that I’ve been pondering for awhile.

Sometimes I feel like my life needs to be so rigid in order for me to stay as healthy as I possibly can.

When the weather, whether blizzard, torrential rain, or the slightest change in barometric pressure, stress, eating the wrong foods, not getting enough sleep, or any other little thing that tips the balance can cause a flare – which can result in total loss of function – it’s hard to imagine being adaptable.

By adaptable, I don’t necessarily mean going with the flow all the time.  I guess I mean more of a general ability to adapt yourself to situations as they arise.

One thing I will say is that RA has made me more spontaneous.  I do things, sometimes with little notice or planning.  But more than that, I try not to let little things bother me, like when a phone call gets postponed or a meeting gets canceled.

So prior to now, I wouldn’t really have considered myself to be adaptable, even though a refrain that I often hear in the back of my mind is to be adaptable. 

I guess in many ways, this being adaptable doesn’t have to do so much with me but with other people.  I have always been a people-pleaser.  I don’t want to cause extra work for people.

I am a vegetarian, and have been for over 10 years, and while I would never eat meat in order to be adaptable, I try not to make a big deal about it when I am having dinner at someone’s house or even when trying to pick a restaurant to go to with friends.

Now, of course, those who know me well enough know that I’m a vegetarian and it’s not an issue.  But for those who don’t, I am content with eating sides or whatever is around that’s vegetarian.

Living in New York City, you have to be adaptable, because there is no telling what can go wrong.  You can miss a bus, subway, or train, and your whole day can be screwed up.  It can also necessitate having to walk more than you anticipated, which can be difficult if you are really trying to budget the energy you expend before you get home, so you don’t bottom out before you make it to the comforts of your own couch or bed.

In Michigan, my life was fairly regimented.  I had about a 10-block radius that I frequented.  It was comfortable.  I was almost guaranteed that no matter where I was, I would be able to make it home, even on a really bad day, pain or disease activity-wise.

But life in New York is more complicated, and the reality is that for most of us, it’s a more realistic situation than my routinized life in Michigan was.

In some ways, I miss that life.  It was easy.  It was comfortable.  It made me less anxious than life in New York does, mainly because things can turn on a dime and I can go from feeling well to feeling, well, downright terrible.

My life in Michigan was also easier because I was living in my own space, and so it was totally designed to suit my needs.  I lived on my couch a lot of the time.  And that was fine.  But now I don’t have that.  So what do I do?  Well, I have to be adaptable.

And I guess that’s the important lesson here.  If life is too planned, too strict, it’s really hard to be adaptable.  Obviously, you shouldn’t do things that are not necessary that you know will cause you to flare.  But you shouldn’t shut life out, either, because it’s easier than trying to adapt to situations as they arise.

There’s a delicate balance between adaptation and restriction, and I’m not sure I’ve found the perfect balance yet, but I’m working on it every single day.

So how have you adapted your life to living with RA?

And how have you adapted RA into your life?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

Do you or someone you know have gout? (Select all the apply)