Managing Anger with Rheumatoid Arthritis


Anger at Medical Professionals

This is a big one and pretty typical of people with chronic illnesses. Most of us, at some point or another, are seen and treated by a particularly unsympathetic doctor or nurse.

They might tell you that you don’t have the disease you know you have, attempt to change your medication without really consulting your charts, or try to convince you that whatever new symptom you’re experiencing is all in your head.

This is really difficult for many of us because doctors are supposed to be there to help. When you feel sick people encourage you to visit your doctor, but often the idea of making that trip fills you not with hope, but a sense of dread.

If you’re able to, talk to other people with RA and find a doctor who has been particularly sensitive to their needs. Finding a doctor, however, is a bit like finding a good therapist. You’re not going to gel well with everyone, but it is important to find the perfect fit. You need to gel with the team of professionals that treat you to ensure that you are getting the best quality care. This can really reduce your anger and stress.

Ways to Cope

Experiencing anger with rheumatoid arthritis is totally normal, but it’s extremely important to learn to cope with that anger and not let it get the best of you.

Seeing a therapist on a regular basis is a great idea, but not something that is within everyone’s reach. Instead, try and seek out an RA support group in your area where you can go and meet others with RA. This will not only make any feelings of isolation lessen, but it will allow you to vent your anger to people who actually know what you’re going through.

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Together, you can come up with ways to improve your lives and everyday functionality. Being angry alone can make things a lot worse, but joining a support group means that you are never alone and there is always someone to reach out to when things get too difficult.

If you live in an isolated area and attending a support group is not possible, there are many support groups online. A quick search of Facebook will already give you access to tons of groups chock-full of people ready to lean on one another through the toughest times in their RA journey.

Although seeing a therapist and joining a support group are some of the best ways to cope with your anger, there are other ways you can reduce it as well:

  • Find activities to participate in. Participate in your favorite hobby, or find a new one if you’re unable to do what you used to do. You may find that you have a talent for photography or crocheting. Focusing on something creative for a while always helps take your mind off of things.
  • Exercise. Although it may be difficult with RA, it is especially beneficial for the mind and body. Take an anti-inflammatory about an hour before you begin and get your body moving. You’ll feel better in no time, guaranteed.
  • Get out of the house. Many people are housebound due to RA or depression coupled with RA. Try and get out if you can. This can be something as small as walking around the block, or taking yourself out to dinner and a movie. Getting out can most definitely reduce your sense of isolation and pain.
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by Eric Patterson and Mariah Leach on April 21, 2017
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