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If You Can’t Do It Standing Up, Try It Sitting Down (Stuck In A Rut)

I’ve talked before about getting stuck in clothes in the fitting room of a store because RA has impacted my elbow extension and my ability to pull things off over my head on my own.

I recently had a job interview, and I wore one of my favorite business-y shirts; the one that I feel the most confident in, which, ironically, I can’t get out of by myself.  I considered wearing a different shirt knowing that my boyfriend wouldn’t be home to help me until many hours after the interview.  But I felt good in that shirt, so I decided to wear it anyway.

I got home and made every effort to get out of the shirt, but nothing really worked.  I could have either ripped the thing in half or cut it off myself, but it really is one of my favorite shirts, so neither of those seemed like ideal options.

The odd thing is that I remember buying the shirt alone, and unlike other fitting room misadventures that I’ve had, I don’t remember not being able to get out of this particular shirt myself.  But whatever the case, I can’t get out of it on my own now.

I started having a moment of panic; that I would have to go to bed in the shirt, and when my boyfriend got home, he would have to wake me up and get me out of it.

For me, that felt like a new low…

It’s demoralizing.  It frustrates me to no end that I am not able to complete the simple task of getting undressed by myself.

At 29 years old, I shouldn’t need help with this.  It makes me feel simultaneously like I’m 80 years old, and regressing back to being an infant.

Ultimately, I got the idea that I should try and get the shirt off by taking it off while sitting down.  I had no confidence that this would actually work, but it did.  I was able to get the shirt off when I sat down.  I didn’t have to worry about my boyfriend coming home and finding me asleep in bed, still dressed.

However, there are many times where it feels easier to just let him help me rather than get myself in a tizzy.

It’s not easy to admit that you need help, especially when it comes to tasks that should, in theory, be easily accomplished.

I’m glad that I am able to take something like this in stride, but it’s still painful to deal with.  It brings up feelings of inadequacy and self-worth.  It makes me feel like I can’t take care of myself.

On the other hand, this experience has taught me that if at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.

Those of us with RA know that we have to learn to be adaptable, and that we have to find creative ways to do the things we used to be able to, but can no longer do.

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.


  • Anita
    4 years ago

    It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? I think that’s one of the hardest things for me to deal with when it come to RA. I’m a fairly independent sort — stubborn, as my dad used to say 🙂 Having to depend on others for things drives me bonkers sometimes.

    I recently had a disk replacement in my neck (c4-c5) and have had the added hassle of numbness and weakness in the extremities as things slowly heal. I’ve been dependent on my brother, who lives with me, to handle cooking and other household tasks, as well as all the shopping, since I can’t climb the stairs to leave my house without major assistance. I have, at least, been fortunate enough to have a job that’s entirely emote, so I can work from home.

    When it comes to clothes, I’ve been living in sweats and t-shirts, since buttons, zippers, etc… are extremely difficult to manage when you can’t feel your fingers. Add in the shoulder that’s been flaring and a blown thumb tendon and some days I just want to scream. It’s really been a struggle for me to accept needing so much help, so I can totally see where you’re coming from.

  • Leslie Rott moderator author
    4 years ago

    Anita, I am sorry to hear what you have been going through, but it is nice to know that I’m not alone in filling frustrated about the loss of certain activities that used to seem meaningless.

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