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5 Reasons Rheumatoid Arthritis Is a Daily Struggle

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Living with rheumatoid arthritis is a daily battle and here are five reasons why, although there are many more:

1. The pain.

It’s constant even when you’re having an alright day. The pain is still there reminding you that if you do too much you’ll pay for it sooner than later.

Personally for me, my most painful joints are my fingers, elbows, jaw and knees. Although, it’s all over my body. No matter how I sit, stand or lay, the pain doesn’t change, it usually only gets worse. The pain is not only absolutely exhausting, it’s infuriating because there is nothing that you can do about it.

2. Explaining myself every single day.

If you struggle with any invisible illnesses, you’ll likely understand this. Having an invisible illness means exactly what it says, it’s invisible. Others can’t see that anything is wrong. I look like a healthy person, which confuses most people.

Most days I have to explain to people why I can’t do certain things, why I have to cancel most of my plans or even why I’m unable to work – which can feel quite embarrassing. I spend most of my time explaining my situation to family, friends, colleagues, strangers and sometimes even doctors, and even once I’ve explained it most people, they will not understand how much I’m struggling. That, or I’ll be challenged because they don’t believe me.

3. The judgement.

This one joins up with number two, having to explain myself. Most people will be judged at least once in their life, but since I have a chronic illness, being judged becomes an everyday occurrence that I have to deal with because of an illness I have no control over. Having an invisible illness, I get judged because people don’t believe that I’m actually struggling. They can’t physically see it, therefore they don’t think the illness even exists.

4. The fatigue.

The fatigue is something that makes rheumatoid arthritis so hard to deal with. I wake up in the morning, get out of bed, get ready but then just as I’m about to set off, I realize that I’m already exhausted. All I then want to do is go back to bed, even though I know this is a type of tired sleep won’t fix. Most people will have a morning when they wake up and don’t want to get out of bed, chronically ill or not, but this type of tired is different. This type of tired attaches weights to my eyes and body, making it ridiculously difficult to keep my eyes open and difficult to get out of bed to complete basic day-to-day tasks.

5. The never ending guilt.

For me, guilt goes hand in hand with having a chronic illness. No matter how helpful and supportive the people around me are, whether that be my partner, family or maybe even a stranger, I still end up feeling bad for them having to look after me or help me do certain tasks. I feel guilt for complaining as it can make the people around me feel like they’re not doing enough. They can assure me again and again that they love me and that they support me, but I still feel guilty and  like I’m a burden. I also feel guilty for having to cancel plans, or for not making them in the first place.

I know that this isn’t the world’s happiest list ever, but it’s a list people need to know about. It’s important and honest. I think that many with rheumatoid arthritis or any other chronic illness will feel or experience some of the things on this list, and it’s important for everyone to know that they’re not alone.

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Thinkstock Image By: yuryRumovsky

Originally published: July 6, 2017
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