Well here we go. To be honest I already deleted and rewrote the beginning of this post about 50 times, and every time I have this notion that it’s just not good enough. There is this one thing missing that I wanted to start with but I can’t honestly say what exactly that “thing” is.
Because well, how do you say something like this? Saying it really isn’t that hard, I do it regularly. But it seems a lot easier that writing it. Because when I say it, I see the responses to it immediately.
Facial expressions and body language say much more than words spoken in response, and with that I also know how people honestly feel about it. And believe me, those responses can be very different, as what people say and what they show can be very far apart. Without them noticing it.
I have become pretty good at reading the real responses of people throughout the years. I have had both positive and very negative responses, but I can deal with it and I have no issues telling people what I’m about to write down.
So I think it’s time to get the big word out. To write it down and to explain why I have decided to speak up.
I have arthritis. BAM! There it is. You might think that’s not a very big deal, and maybe you’re right. It isn’t such a big deal. Usually anyway. I was diagnosed with it in my early teens and in general I can cope it with very well and it doesn’t bother me too much. I have a job and as you can read here I try to travel as much as possible and to just live and enjoy life.
You learn to deal with it, as many doctors simply tell you you should, because there is nothing that can be done about it.
But sometimes there are moments when it’s a big deal. Like when I have a flare. Because at those moments I can’t do anything, or not much. Not just because of the arthritis, but also because of the medication I have to take at those times. For me there are no other medications than (heavy) painkillers, which have some “wonderful” side effects, especially because I have a sensitive reaction to these meds. It’s a choice from two bad things though, I can either choose to have a lot of pain and not be able to do anything, or I can choose to have the side effects and not be able to do anything with less pain.
I didn’t start this post to elaborate on the life of an arthritis patient (and I don’t see myself as a patient either). But there are a few other reasons I decided to write about it. First because I think it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Why not tell it like it is and maybe do something with it. Which brings me to my next reason.
When I first heard I have arthritis I felt like I had something only (very) old people get and there wasn’t much I could make of my life now I was diagnosed. So I can totally understand that there are other (young) people out there who feel this way after hearing they have a form of arthritis. Who think their life just fell apart, they can now never do anything fun anymore and are confined to their sofa or their beds for the rest of their lives.
I can tell you, nothing could be further from the truth! Yes it requires adjusting and accepting and sometimes that can take a while. You’ll have to find out yourself what you can do differently and how to accept things, or even accepting that you can’t do it all anymore (maybe even with the help of a “how to deal with..” course). But a diagnoses like this really doesn’t mean you can’t do anything anymore, or that your great, fun life is over.
So another reason for me to write about it is to help others. Maybe just for support, a reminder that you’re not alone. That there are many more people who have this and there still are enough wonderful things you can do!
Of course there are (online) communities where you can talk to other people with the same diagnosis. But my experience with those aren’t always positive. I don’t want to toss aside all communities but over the years I have found that very often a lot of people there got stuck -as I like to call it- in feeling sorry for themselves. Only negative thoughts can come from it and that is useless for everyone.
That’s why I decided to write more about it from now on. To let you see what IS possible. I realise there are many types of arthritis and even people with the same type of arthritis can experience it in a very different way. Despite that I hope I can maybe make a positive difference with my blog, because sometimes it can be an ocean of negative vibes and taboos out there.
I absolutely DIDN’t write this to have people feeling sorry for me. As there is no need to feel sorry for me. Sure it’s not fun to have. It does constrict me in certain ways at times. I have had to learn to accept it and see the endless possibilities I do still have. But that’s not only something people with arthritis have to do, that goes for many/all disabilities.
You might wonder why I decided to write about it NOW. Well because I realised that if I wanted to write about my travels, my journey through life and mindstyle it would be a good thing to have a bit of a backdrop as to why I see the way I see things or do the things I do. The more I think about it the more it makes sense to talk about it.
Maybe there are readers here who also have arthritis, or know someone who does. And I would love to show those people that life can be fun, even with a chronic illness.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask them. I will answer them if I can. I prefer it if I can help people with the answer to a question about this over having people make up an answer that creates a (wrong) image. So don’t hold back if you want to know something!