Please Stop Comparing Your Chapter 1 to Someone’s Chapter 50
Drawing comparisons is something we do as a human species. It's a default behavior that people can use to protect themselves - whether helpful or hurtful. The act of comparing is simply a factual part of life. We've all done different it in an array of different circumstances.
As a child, I would often compare myself to other children regarding their clothes or the type of house they lived in. As an adult, I am guilty of comparing myself to other adults in some of the same ways. For those with life with psoriatic arthritis, comparison can add to the emotional toll of this chronic condition.
Every psoriatic arthritis story is unique
When you are newly diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, that is the preliminary start of your journey with this painful and impactful condition. Chapter 1, if you will. This chapter can be filled with things that led up to being diagnosed, how long it took to get to the diagnosis, and how you feel finding out what you know now.
Many of our diagnosis stories are usually similar. For most of us, it meant a difficult experience after a difficult experience with no answer for our pain. Pretty safe bet that most of us felt overwhelmed and had a sense of loss after being diagnosed. Not knowing what the future could look like is a scary place to be.
Here is where the cautionary part comes in. What someone is dealing with right now while living with psoriatic arthritis does not necessarily mean you will too. I am currently on the 7th chapter of my own psoriatic arthritis journey. It comes with daily pain. Some days are better than others, and some days are worse.
Symptoms and choices vary by chapter - including progression.
In my own chapter 1, the pain was only located in my back. Now in chapter 7, it is my back, hips, knees, and feet. It is ever-changing. I think about a friend I have that also has psoriatic arthritis. For him, the joints in his fingers are damaged and curved. His journey is farther along and a representation of a much different timeline.
I could compare my fingers to his and worry every day that, eventually, my fingers would look the same. However, because I choose to be proactive and treat my condition, the chances of it happening are slimmer than it was in his case.
The same holds true for everyone living with psoriatic arthritis. Unless you talk to someone and find out about their journey, you do not know where they are or in what chapter they are writing.
The moral of this story is: we need to take care of ourselves.
It's okay to compare. It's a natural response that your body uses to make yourself feel safe, protected, and feel improved. While those feelings are natural, they don't always need to be followed through. When you start thinking that their journey will be your journey, you paint yourself into a corner that might not happen for you.
Only time will tell how your story will align with someone else's. That someone can give you advice on what they have done or what they are currently doing so that you can use it as a guide to help you. However, the trick is not to think that is exactly how your psoriatic arthritis will go.
Please stop comparing your chapter 1 to their chapter 50. Draw on similarities but don't let chapter 50 be your worst nightmare. If you can refrain from doing so, then you can live your journey taking it as it comes, one day at a time. This is my wish for everyone.
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