Accepting The Life I Have Now, Even If It Is Not The One I Want
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu
My life with psoriatic arthritis has been one of waiting. Many years were spent waiting until I felt like I did before my diagnosis. I have spent days, weeks, and months waiting for flares to end. And there have been times when I put off doing things I wanted all because I didn’t want to do them with a mobility aid.
Do you know what happens when you spend all of your time waiting? Nothing. But before I could accept my life for what it was in the moment, I had to practice accepting what was.
PsA is here to stay
While there were many things I needed to accept, the most important thing was accepting that psoriatic arthritis was going to be a part of my life until the day I die. There’s no getting around it. There is no cure.
Even though I have said, typed, and thought the words incurable and chronic illness a million times, it really didn’t sink in until last year. It was listening to friends and family while they waited out lockdowns to force me into acknowledging the bad habit I fallen back into.
They were making plans for what they wanted to do after the restrictions were lifted, while I was thinking about what I could do if I didn’t need my wheelchair or rollator. The difference was they didn’t set restrictions on what they wanted to do. I, on the other hand, wasn’t able to envision doing anything without experiencing an improvement in my physical status.
Living in the moment
It was realizing that my future plans all hinged on improvements to my health. But what if I never improved? That is when I began to see my life in a different light.
Life is never going to fit my idea of perfection. There will always be something wrong. Living with psoriatic arthritis requires accepting that there are going to be good and bad days. Some days may require the use of crutches, a rollator, or a wheelchair, while others nothing at all.
Like many other psoriatic disease patients, I have multiple chronic illnesses and health issues that stem from them all. I am not joking when I say no two days are the same. One rogue symptom or an injury can set off a chain reaction that ripples through each chronic illness.
Resistance is futile
I didn’t ask for psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, or even the surgical errors that have led to the damage that continues to torture my body. They happened, there is nothing I can do about it. I can’t turn back the hands of time and even if I could, there isn’t anything I could have done to prevent these things from happening.
Time spent wishing or wondering how different life would be if only I didn’t have this or that illness/condition, brings sorrow. But when I allow myself to enjoy the quietness of resting during a flare or grin ear to ear while zooming down the street on my new power wheelchair because my knees are flaring, I find joy in each day.
Resisting the life I have won’t make it better. Life will never be how I want it to be, but I can choose to ride the waves and see where it takes me. In case you are wondering, this isn’t a one-time realization. It is one that sneaks up on me every so many years, typically after suffering a major health setback. So until the next time I slip, I will live each day the best I can.
Do you regularly track your psoriatic arthritis symptoms?