You're Allowed to Have RA Moments
I get tired of feeling sick and in pain, all the time. I have so many things going with my body all at once, and even one gets resolves, another comes up.
RA Can Be Defeating
Right now, my rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is managed, and despite that, I have recently found out I may have Reynaud’s syndrome. Reynaud’s is a condition where some areas of the body, usually the hands and feet, feel numb and cold, and cold weather is a big trigger of this condition.
The lack of control I have over my own body feels overwhelming and exhausting but mostly defeating. It makes me want to shout as loud as I can, “This is so unfair! Why me? What have done to deserve this kind of life?”
Sometimes, I am not angry. The sadness and weakness take over, and I want to cry, “I can’t do this anymore. This is too much, and I give up.”
Most people in my life don’t see the side of me that gets angry and sad. They see the side of me that is optimistic because that is usually how I am.
But the moments where RA is just too much – they happen. I am not superwoman, although I try to convince myself that I can do everything - all the time, and with little help.
It isn’t easy, and RA fatigue and pain are often unrelenting. Sometimes, there is too much to handle so, of course, there will be moments where everything gets seems so unfair and too much to take.
Pain Isn’t Just Physical
People tend to think that RA is a pain that is just physical. RA has been ranked one of the top debilitating and most painful conditions worldwide, and the emotional toll on a person can be quite significant.
Imagine being sick with the flu – the exhaustion, the aches and pains, and the inability to do what you need to do – like go to work, clean your home, and care for your children. How does life feel when you are struggling to get out of bed and unable to do everything you planned?
Exhausting and unyielding pain and fatigue every single day – that is life with RA. It is like being sick with the flu all the time, knowing you will never get better.
Of course, all of that takes a toll. And there will be moments when RA pain is too much, and you don’t want to have dreams, look forward the future, get out of bed, or simply just show up in your life.
Looking for Moments of Joy
Let me make it clear that most of us leaving with RA don’t go around being angry, bitter, and feeling defeated. Even with pain and illness, you manage to find moments of joy and happiness, and you are living as best of a life as you can.
But you also get to be grumpy, angry, sad or upset – not all the time, but sometimes. There is no reason to deny yourself these so very natural responses.
You are allowed to be upset– about being sick, about the unfairness of it all, and on the days where it feels like you have nothing left in you to keep going.
Being able to have those moments, and move past them is pretty impressive. Because you are still able to be happy and live life to the fullest even with the obstacles this God-awful disease has thrown your way.
Coming to terms with RA can help on the days where you feel crappy. And while it is vital, sometimes it is simply hard to accept what is out of your control.
I am going on ten years with RA, and I have plenty of moments where it is the hardest thing to do. Pain is my reality, my every day, and my normal, and while acceptance might reduce my burden, I refuse to give in.
I reevaluate my life, what is important, what makes me happy, and what and who I don’t want in my life, so often because of this disease that my life seems chaotic. The lack of control over the chaos is discouraging and defeating and makes you angry at the universe, at specific people, the Almighty or at no one or nothing specific.
No one is required to like having RA, and they certainly don’t have to agree with the effect it has on life. But perhaps, you can accept this is the way it is and going to continue to be.
And taking that position doesn’t mean you give up. It simply means you take what RA brings on your terms and with whatever time you need to deal with the setbacks.
It Won’t Always Be Easy
I rarely think my experience with RA is unusual although it is a lonely experience. Sometimes I feel like a martyr or someone who needs taking care of – things I don’t want to be - but the truth is, I know I am neither of those things.
I never want to be told what a poor thing I am or how it must be hard living with RA. But sometimes, I just I want to vent and be upset about the unfairness of it all.
Most days, I strive to be stronger and wiser. I just want to be me. Someone who lives with RA as best as I can and who works really hard to handle what comes my way.
But I don’t have the energy, or I fail miserably trying to do it all. I may even struggle with the simplest things – things I never struggled with before RA.
There’s a lot of frustration in living with RA pain, fatigue and all the other symptoms that make your life harder.
Somedays, I have to say, “I can’t do it,” and break down and cry because the pain and stress are all too much. But even in those darkest moments, I remind myself I cannot be strong without giving into weakness every once in a while.
Life with RA is exhausting, and it is perfectly reasonable to feel like you can’t always get through it all. You are allowed to have moments when RA is way too much, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Just do your best when it feels like it’s all too much. No one can fault you for trying.