My View of Arthritis Changed After My PsA Diagnosis. Here's How.
Last updated: July 2023
Arthritis took on a whole new meaning once I received my psoriatic arthritis (PsA) diagnosis. To be completely honest, I never gave it much thought. Like the rest of the world, I knew arthritis caused joint pain and that's about it. I had no idea the extent of this arthritis could affect someone's life.
Arthritis, to me, was something older people had to deal with. Of course, you and I both know that its this common misconception (among many others) contributes to the painful stigma that also comes with managing this condition.
A new diagnosis, a new perspective.
My diagnosis not only provided a name for my pain, but a new understanding of the nature of this disease and other autoimmune diseases, the lifestyle changes that come with it and the importance of connecting with others who share the same experience.
I'm proud, honored and happy to share 3 ways my views on arthritis have changed since I was diagnosed twenty years ago.
The immune system controls everything.
When I received my psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, I knew nothing about autoimmune conditions - and just how they affected the body. I began to understand what my body was going through, how it was responding and trying to protect me (and failing) and why it reacted certain ways.
Learning about the immune system and how it affects the body has also given me insight into how my symptoms are connected to my overall health. This has shifted my understanding of arthritis from a common and perhaps mild condition to a more complex and severe disease.
A whole new lifestyle
Not too long after my diagnosis, I quickly learned that people living with psoriatic arthritis - and any form of arthritis for that matter, needs to make significant changes to their lifestyle and habits in an effort to better manage their symptoms and protect their joints.
These types of changes opened my eyes to influence of diet, exercise routine, work activities, stress levels, sleep schedules — the list goes on! Another lesson I learned was that adjusting to these changes can be difficult, not just physically but emotionally too!
It doesn't have to be so lonely
Managing a chronic condition individually can feel quite isolating and lonely. One thing that has been incredibly helpful for me is connecting with others who have autoimmune arthritis. Finding this online community has provided me with an incredible source of comfort during trying times when dealing with autoimmune arthritis symptoms.
Connecting with others who share this experience provides emotional support, practical advice, and a sense of camaraderie that is invaluable for those with a chronic illness like PsA.
My own lessons learned
Since being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, my views on this complex disease have changed significantly. I get that people of any age can have arthritis! Not only do I better understand how it affects the body, I'm now aware that making specific lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms better for some than others.
I am aware that there are many ways to treat PsA and that not every treatment is perfect for every body. I no longer view mobility aids as things that belong in nursing homes and hospitals, but that are actual tools that improve the lives of those with arthritis pain.
It never fails. Whenever I feel alone in my pain or misunderstood, I've found comfort in a support group. If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as psoriatic arthritis, consider joining an online support group like the one here at psoriatic-arthritis.com – you won’t regret it!
This or That
Compared to other seasons, how is managing PsA in the summer?
Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?