Hey everyone, welcome back to my little corner on Arthur’s Place. So, in my last post, I talked about the effect the NHS had on my life, after I was unfortunately diagnosed with severe RA. In this post, I thought that I would talk about how Arthur’s Place has really helped me to regain my confidence with regards to my life post-diagnosis. So, for the first couple of years after I was diagnosed, I was confused, angry and I thought that my diagnosis meant the end of my life. I was told by my consultant to try browsing the Internet to see if I could find some arthritis support groups to join. I was told that it might help me to realise that I was not the only young adult to be diagnosed with RA, and that this could also help me connect with other young adults who had also been diagnosed with RA.
I spoke to my consultant and told him that I was really struggling with things and that I didn’t really know what to do or who to talk to but I decided to take the advice that he had given me and I started browsing the net for arthritis support groups and websites. I didn’t realise how many online support groups and arthritis websites there were until I came across three or four of these amazing websites such as Arthritis Care, Arthritis Research UK and Arthur’s Place.
I joined Arthritis Care and The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society chat group, which really helped me, as I had finally found two websites dedicated to helping those suffering from the chronic illness day to day. Then I decided to cruise the net to see if I could find any support groups for young adults suffering with RA. I came across a website called Arthur’s Place. Arthur’s Place is a wonderful arthritis website that supports young adults aged 18-35 who are either suffering with various forms of arthritis, or who have recently been diagnosed with arthritis. I had finally found a website that was dedicated to providing information, guidance and support for young adults suffering from the chronic illness. Since then, the website run by two wonderful women, Andrea McBride and Sarah Edwards, has also set up a support group on Facebook, which allows young adults to come and be themselves for a while. This group also allows young adults to communicate with others who are also battling arthritis. It’s been a year since I joined this support group; and joining, and talking to other young adults also battling this illness, yet doing such amazing things with their lives, has really helped me regain my confidence in living with a chronic and long term illness such as RA. It has also helped me regain control of my life because despite the fact that I continue to battle RA, I am determined not to let the RA have control over me.
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(Any opinions expressed in Anoushka’s blog are not necessarily shared by Arthur’s Place. Nothing that you read in Anoushka’s blog constitutes medical advice.)