Is It Okay to Accept the Limitations That Come With Psoriatic Arthritis?

We live in a “just do it” world. Everywhere we look, we are reminded that if we are strong, if we try, and if we work hard, we can do anything. Television commercials and social media are filled with empowering messages, boldly claiming that we can do anything, be anything, live our best life.

But what if you have a chronic illness? Can you really do anything? Be anything? I wonder sometimes if believing in this notion does more harm to us than good.

Can we really do anything?

With all my heart, I wish I could say yes. I wish I could say that I truly believe, deep in my heart and contrary to personal experience, that we really could do anything, despite our psoriatic arthritis. Turn on any commercial advertising medication to treat our pain and inflammation and that is the life they are selling. Happy people, smiling back at you, living full and complete lives, never held back by their daily psoriatic arthritis pain and fatigue. It sure is the dream, isn’t it?

Are we setting ourselves up for failure?

But is that the truth? Has psoriatic arthritis ever limited what you can do? Sure, it is a great notion - do anything, be anything, but is it reality? Furthermore, how does that reality change what we dream of for our future? If we buy into this idea, are we simply setting ourselves up for failure when reality hits?

Reality is an unpleasant beast

I know the reality is that remission is extremely unlikely for me. The reality is that the future of life with psoriatic arthritis is unclear. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a rainbows and unicorns world. We live in a world of ice packs and NSAIDs.

In a society that tells us that anything is possible, accepting the limitation that PsA puts on our lives can be a hard pill to swallow.

Finding peace and freedom

Make peace with our limitations. Acceptance can help with healing. Don’t shy away from the challenges that come with psoriatic arthritis. Be creative and come up with solutions to do the best with what you have. Perhaps in this acceptance, being okay with our limitations, is where we find peace.

Instead of dwelling on all the ways this disease limits me, I choose to focus on the ways it frees me.

It frees me to be more empathetic.

It frees me to slow down.

It frees me to never take for granted the value of supportive friends and family.

It frees me to focus on what I can do, without the guilt and shame of feeling like I can’t live up to the “Just Do It” world we live in. Accepting that our reality is in some ways limited doesn’t mean that we are free to give up on our dreams and wallow in self-pity.

It means that perhaps we just have to approach them from a different angle. Accept that they may not turn out how we always pictured they would. But that’s okay. There is certainly freedom in acceptance.

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