Extended flare-ups and setbacks can really suck, especially if they come after you’ve had a really good period, where things have been okay. I guess things haven’t been that great for me for the last few months, but recently, I’ve been thinking about things and I realise that whenever someone has asked me how I’m doing, I automatically smile and say that I’m fine. It’s like a reflex, but if I’m being honest, I have never wanted anyone to see me as being weak and vulnerable, and in need of help.
But, after having recently battled an extended flare-up as a result of my severe degenerative arthritis of my lower spine, I have come to the realisation that it’s actually okay to not be okay sometimes.
It’s actually normal to admit at times that having to deal and live with a long-term and chronic invisible illness such as RA can become overwhelming.
All this time, I’ve always just put on a brave face and shrugged anyone off, when they have enquired in conversation, how I’ve been coping with things and how things have been going for me. This includes when I have been sat in front of my consultant rheumatologist for my annual reviews.
I do this because I don’t want to be pitied and patronised, and have never wanted anyone’s sympathy. I am still a normal person, despite my illness. As the awesome lyrics from one of my favourite songs, from a recent movie goes: ‘I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me. Look out ’cause here I come. And I’m marching on to the beat I drum. I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me.’
Well, I have decided that from now on, if I am struggling, I am just going to be honest, as there is no shame in admitting when things are getting a little overwhelming at times. So, I guess that’s my little bit of advice for you all. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help, if you feel that you need it.
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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.)