Good days are hard to come by. When I have good days I tend to do everything I can to catch up on all things I had to drop because of my disease. Like many of you, I never know when this will happen and when my body will hit that dreaded brick wall.
Here. Comes. The. FLARE.
My flares are unpredictable and can last for a long time. I’m never completely pain free but I seem to have gotten used to being achy every day. This is unlike the awful feeling of a major flare, which feels like I’ve been hit by a train.
I have days where I’m perfectly content laying on the couch with my dogs catching up on some good TV. There are also days where I’m at the gym and I look around and I think to myself: “I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired”. I don’t have a lot of friends to lift me up nor would I complain to the new people I’ve met at the gym. I put on a smile and laugh about it until my laughs turn to tears.
Here are some of the things I have started to try to cope with my “set back” days:
- Like I said, I don’t have much of a traditional social life. I talk to more people on social media than I do in “real life”. I make sure to try and connect with those who I’ve met through CreakyJoints or other arthritis networking sites.
- I spend time sitting down and expressing my feelings on paper and sharing them with others who are suffering. Something about being completely honest about my life, is refreshing to me. I do take time to have a good old fashioned cry. Sometimes it just feels good to cry and get it all out. There is nothing wrong with having emotions. We are human and to hold our emotions inside, isn’t good for us.
- I take one day on each weekend to turn off the alarm and sleep in, until my dogs decide to get me up to feed them. I usually get up at 6:00 a.m. with the dogs and then I allow myself to take a nap for an hour, before starting my day (I’m like the Tin Man in the mornings). It has been quite nice to sleep until 7:30 a.m. on Sundays. I take the day to do whatever comes my way. No plans or routine.
- I take time out at night to stretch. This is something I’ve really neglected in the past. It’s so good for your body, especially when one has RA or any type of arthritis, to stretch. Being stiff all the time is so uncomfortable so I’ve taken an hour at night just to stretch (though my dogs like to join me and it’s quite painful) and then I take a nice hot shower afterwards.
- When things get really bad, I schedule a massage. I don’t have a lot of money but it’s so important for me to get a massage whenever I can. Yes, this is also painful but I make sure my massage therapist knows how sensitive I am and understands my disease.
Though this journey of mine is a lonely one, I have to thank CreakyJoints for their support. Between all the information they have and all of their members and advocates, one can never feel totally alone. I usually find myself on their Twitter or Facebook page, reading or reaching out to new people getting to know them. We all need to stick together.
Be good to yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things to try and ease the flare of this illness. We are here for you. Reach out. Ask questions. Love yourself. Rest and relax.