I just realized something about myself I didn’t recognize before last night. When I was first diagnosed with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) almost 5 years ago, I read anything I could get my hands on about the disease, anti-inflammatory diets, medications used to treat RA and alternative therapies. I could not read stories or articles about actual patients writing about their experiences with the disease…until last night.
Last night I read several articles written by the same person sharing their account of living with rheumatoid arthritis. I could relate to almost everything they had to say about the challenges, emotions, and frustrations of having a chronic condition, while attempting to carry on day to day as normally as possible. I was in the moment as I read about how debilitating the disease was for them. I felt great empathy, I wanted to meet that person and learn even more about their story.
Last night I took another step forward in my personal RA journey. Until then, I couldn’t bear the pain of reading about another person’s RA journey, it was just too much. I have said all along that learning to live with, and manage, rheumatoid arthritis is a process.
I have thought several times about joining or creating a support group. It is an overwhelming thought. Probably, in part, because it would require energy I can’t always depend on. But, I mostly think it would be overwhelming to hear how others are suffering so much. As I told my pharmacist the last time I picked up my medication, “I prefer the other side of the pharmacy counter”!
Just like we all grieve differently, we all process our RA journey differently. Last night I figured out I used to have enough to deal with my own pain and issues, I couldn’t bear any more. But, not anymore! I look at this revelation as moving ahead in my own process.
I now see how blogging was such a good fit for me. I have compassion and empathy for others, I want to share what I’ve learned works for me, but I could only handle so much pain at a time. Thanks for allowing me to share what’s on my mind. I want to connect with others, the blog is a great way to do that, and now I know I’m getting stronger to share with my fellow journeymen more fully, up close and personal! Take very good care! XOXO Cathy
photo: Mary Kennedy for Arthritis Wisdom