I was a reasonably successful musician, my band played with Faith No More and did well in national band battles and had a bit of a cult following way back in 1993.
Being an idiotic young man I admired Mike Patton’s eccentric crazy style in life and on stage and tried to emulate it, which unfortunately backfired and I ended up being hospitalized for psychosis and being a stubborn youth I lacked the insight to realize society demands a certain class of behavior.
I was in the mental health system for a reasonable period, but ended up beating them in court and have been free of it since.
The reason I mention this is that the rate of RA is significantly higher among people who have been treated with anti-psychotics.
My sister was also on anti-psychotics, literally 10 times the dose I was ever on and sadly she committed suicide 6 months ago.
I suppose I’m leading with this info just because hopefully a few people may find their situation isn’t quite as bad as they thought.
I developed RA about 8 years ago, it has been very aggressive and so far Rheumatology hasn’t been able to control it very well –
I’ve been on long term prednisone for years, about 10-15mgs daily and it has destroyed my appearance, skin infections, scaring, muscle wasting etc.
I always wear a beanie to hide as much of my forehead as possible as it looks quite shocking, white patches and deep scars.
Due to these factors I have basically become a hermit, making music when I can at home and obsessively working on my PC.
I was a fairly spiritual person but over the years have become quite cynical about most things, being alone with the TV and internet I think can paint a pretty bleak picture of the world, and facing red neck discrimination from strangers because you are a cripple and have had a mental illness coupled with spending years alone makes people seem quite crass and false.
Patience is something I spent a lot of time thinking about, it’s benefits and practice. I say practice because I have learned patience is a skill that takes practice, but if you understand it’s benefits to your emotions it is a powerful virtue.
Acceptance is the other and in my opinion the most powerful tool for dealing with problems like RA and grief in life.
I realized that nearly all of my emotional distress was caused by the ‘Why me?’ ‘It’s not fair’ ‘If only this & that happened’…
I came up with what I think is a clever answer to life’s problems.
Accept the present. (Present meaning now or in the sense of a gift)
I believe resistance causes stress, and this applies physically and emotionally.
So if you understand that wanting things to be different -past, present or future – makes you unhappy then you may understand what I am saying.
Accept the present and learn the power and practice of patience.
Then firstly, you will stop upsetting yourself wishing things were different and secondly when you’re having a bad time with your RA you can have the insight to remember you will laugh, be happy and have good days again.
I also think it’s important to remember when you are happy to remember things will get worse, so that when they do it’s not so crushing and unexpected, just as people say, “Don’t worry, things will get better” the opposite is also helpful.
Patience and acceptance are real things you can practice which help you deal with the hard times that come with RA, and honestly, understanding this saved my life.
Of all the galaxies, stars asteroids, space dust in the universe, of all the matter you ‘randomly’ could have been, your human, the big bang exploded into billions of galaxies 15 billion years ago and just happened to explode you into being human – Now.
15 billion years with an infinite future and you just happen to be alive now in the present.
Hardcore atheists will say if you roll a million sixes in a row on a dice it’s just as likely as any other outcome, and it is, but in the REAL WORLD if you rolled a million sixes in a row and said ‘That was just as likely as any other set of rolls’ and didn’t consider the dice was loaded or something was influencing the outcome you would be an insane idiot.
I say this as dealing with death is a big part of disease and a lot of intellectuals, studied in philosophy are experts in the art of the argument, and it can be quite unfair when an atheist breaks the faith of someone who doesn’t have much of an education because of their debating skills rather than the facts.
Any competent philosopher will tell you you can’t be sure of anything, so in my opinion there is always hope.
RA sucks but how you deal with it is everything.
Hope this helps someone at least.
(BTW – My profile star design has 7 points and 8 corners in the middle representing atomic number 78 – Platinum – It’s not a 5 pointed star and has nothing to do with witchcraft or Satanism)