Rheumatoid arthritis is one of those diseases that doesn’t let you forget that it’s there.
You wake up in the morning and the stiffness in your joints says, Hello, I’m here! Depending on how your treatment is working, there might be a lot of pain too wake you up in the middle of the night pain. And the fatigue oh, yes, that constant companion that can make you feel like you’re dragging from moment to moment, or causes you to crash right in the middle of your day, wherever you are, whatever you are doing.
Yes, all of the symptoms of RA can wear us down sometimes, to the point where we just want to scream, I may not look sick, but I sure as heck feel like it! And when those around us just don’t get it, then that can make us feel even worse.
With any chronic illness, it is easy to become depressed. We want to be well, but we aren’t. We want our disease to be curable, but it isn’t. But even with all of this in mind, it IS possible to make our lives better by keeping a positive perspective.
Enlist a Support Group
You don’t need a huge support group to feel encouraged. You just need one or two people you can talk to honestly and openly about your condition. Your Pack Health Advisor is a great place to start. There are online support networks as well. Just make sure whoever you talk to is willing to do more than commiserate about the problems you’re facing. Find someone who will help you find solutions as well.
Keep Moving Forward
One of the keys to beating depression is to gain a sense of achievement, even if it’s just for small accomplishments. Your Pack Health Advisor can help you set tiny goals to keep you moving forward, which will help you feel good about yourself and hopeful about your situation.
Walk It Out
Exercise is proven to combat depression, even if you have to take it in small doses. I have found that going for a walk or doing a gentle yoga video for people with arthritis can be a great stress relief, and it’s good for your body too! It’s okay to think small, like these yoga poses or this simple routine for stress relief. I also have a post about how I personally got unstuck through exercise you can read here.
Find a Little Gratitude
When you’re feeling down, it is easy to focus on the negative. But we all have things we can be grateful for, even if it’s just clean water to drink or fresh air to breathe. Write down three things each day that you’re thankful for, and it won’t be long before you are looking on the bright side again.
Not yet a member of Pack Health?
If you’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you’re eligible to become a member and get your own personal Health Advisor. Sign up today to get your first 12 weeks of membership fully covered by grant funding, no credit card information required.