Hi, I am new to the forum but I’m really grateful to have found it. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis close to a year ago, but the pain and symptoms were present long before my formal diagnosis. I am a 26 year old female and it is difficult to accept some of the lifestyle changes and decisions that accompany a diagnosis like RA. I am glad to have caught it early, however, the unpredictability and variability of an autoimmune disease sometimes feels like an enormous mountain in front of me. I often find myself going through various stages of acceptance and denial, hopefulness and hopelessness, & pain and relief. I am very interested to hear other peoples’ stories and I hope that I will be able to share and contribute something meaningful to others. Over the past year I have thrown myself into my career and my graduate degree with such intensity – and I feel proud of my accomplishments, however, I know that the amount of responsibility I have taken on adds to my stress levels, adds to my flares, and impacts my quality of life. I haven’t yet found the balance or the type of lifestyle that will be most beneficial to me but I am on the constant search. Wishing all the best to all of you.