Alright. I’ve had like two do overs this week with this blog’o'mine.
First, I wrote a fun post about Christmas and instead of publishing it, I somehow left it in draft. And now I don’t like it. So, much like Kanye, Imma let you finish…but first Imma pour a glass of wine, a glass of eggnog, grab a big handful of candy cane Hershey kisses and do some rewrites. Kidding about the eggnog, when you finally get to see my holiday post, you will learn that I don’t drink substances that resemble snot.
Second, I was all geared up to write about how I’m taking back cooking. I’ve been spending a lot of time hunting down cheap yet locally sourced foods and making good smelling, fantastic tasting, immune system building dishes that I’ve really taken a lot of pride in both eating and allowing myself the time to enjoy the process. So what happened here?
Well. Let’s just say that there’s a well known foodie blogger whose blog I frequent and quite serendipitously, our paths crossed recently. She is not any sort of disease blogger so don’t point fingers. And, knowing I shouldn’t type this but also knowing I didn’t identify myself through my blog or as a reader, let’s just say that said meeting made an impression.
So now I don’t want to write about that either.
So tonight I am going back to a basic. I was discussing this earlier today and I think it is quite apropos for where I am right now.
I have absolutely no control over the RA diagnosis but I have complete control over my reaction.
I feel like I’ve done a good job at channeling my reaction into work with the ACR, AF, and I LOVE my work with IAAM. I also love blogging and getting to know my readers. But what I’ve realized…and I’m sure my last post is reflecting this too…is that I’ve thrown myself into ACTION to control my reaction and somewhat lost sight of me.
In a conversation with a close friend recently, I shared some feelings of confusion with her and her response, after a pause, was ‘You realize what you’re resisting is being happy, right?’
I’d never thought about it but part of the reaction we can and need tocontrol is allowing ourselves to be happy.
I do understand how we lose sight. You wrap your brain around a diagnosis, medications, family and friend reactions. Once you get those settled and decide you want to ‘make a difference,’ your disease becomes about that. In addition, I almost feel guilty admitting to being happy while living with RA.
I think as we learn our new identities as autoimmune arthritis patients, we are in some ways expected to take on the stereotype of the long suffering martyr patient. I wonder if we, as patients who don’t look sick, feel even more threatened by misunderstanding if we look and act and live our lives as HAPPY people? You say you hurt and you say you’re on this serious medicine but you’re smiling and I think you mean it?
Hence the guilt.
I think that’s terribly unfair. RA gets enough of me. Money, time, money, health, money, pain, and did I mention money?
I realize that being happy doesn’t happen overnight but as of now, I’m taking back the control to allow myself that if I so desire. And I do!
What do you think? Do you feel like me and feel guilt when you should be happy? Or am I just especially tangled for an RA patient?
Don’t answer that second part.