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Coping with Psoriatic Arthritis

I wish I had better advice than I currently do for coping with psoriatic arthritis. When it comes down to it, I feel like coping for me can come in two main varieties.

Staying positive or drowning in self-doubt.

On most days, there is no in-between. Two distinctly different forms of “coping” but actually coping nonetheless.

What does coping with psoriatic arthritis look like?

We all process things differently. That I do believe is the honest truth. I think some of us are just more positive by nature. Those of us that are positive by nature have an easier way of seeing the world, and all the events in it, with a brighter lens.

Others tend to find it is a little more difficult to allow themselves to see the world in the same positive way. There is nothing wrong with either way, simply that we are all made differently.

What is there to be positive about with psoriatic arthritis?

Some would argue that there is nothing in this world positive about psoriatic arthritis. And if we lived in a black and white world, you’d probably be right. However, because I am, by nature, a positive person, I can fairly easily sit down and list the “good” things that have come out of my life as a result of having PsA.

While other people I know would slap me silly at the mere mention of anything even remotely “good” coming out of my psoriatic arthritis. It all depends on the lens through which we view the world and thus, how well we cope with our psoriatic arthritis.

I would argue that because I tend to be a positive person that it makes me easier to cope with my disease. While at the same time, others might argue that I’m just being naive or sticking my head in the sand over the state of my disease.

If I give in to the darkness of psoriatic arthritis

But the reality is that if I succumbed to every bad feeling I have. If I give in to the darkness, the deep and the despair, then I’m afraid that I may never come out again. And there will be nothing left of me. Nothing at all.

I view the world in a positive way because the alternative is just too much for me to bear. The full weight of my disease would swallow me whole. If I spend too long looking at life through that dark lens, everything in my life would feel ten times heavier than it really is.

In coping, there is a balance

So how can both ways be considered coping? After all, doesn’t coping mean that we only focus on the good while we ignore everything else? Some would argue that that isn’t really coping at all.

However, at the same time, it doesn’t mean that we should only drown ourselves in the bad. Rather, in my experience, true and honest coping involves a healthy balance of the two.

Just like with everything else with psoriatic arthritis, there is an ebb and flow to how we cope with our disease. Too much of either, and we put our ability to cope at risk. Psoriatic arthritis is certainly difficult to live with but knowing that we aren’t alone helps. It makes the dark times feel a little more bearable, allowing us to be a ray of light for others’ darker days in turn.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • LisaMN
    2 weeks ago

    I have been accused of being negative, but I’m not really, I’m a realist. PsA isn’t the end of the world but it’s also not going away, it will be with us for life, it will demand attention, all day, every day. Statistics show the odds of a cure in my lifetime are nil, so I put away that hope and focus on what can be done. I need to know ALL the good, bad and ugly for me to be fully informed, know what I’m dealing with and how to proceed. That is what helps me to cope and not give up. I know at least one person that can’t hear negatives, doesn’t want to know a possible worst case scenario because she has never learned to cope, only deny reality. She had no idea the husband she lived with was going to die of his 2nd round of cancer. She said focusing strictly on the positive would make him better. We all knew he was going to die and she was caught completely off guard. He couldn’t even say things he needed to say in his last days because she didn’t want to hear that kind of talk. Her unrealistic positivity denied them both those last precious moments.

    I don’t have a fatalistic personality by any stretch, but I also don’t pretty up things that are ugly or scary to cover up what they really are. Tact and gentleness definitely have their place, but so do the facts in all their raw form. Not gruesomely worse than it is, not better, just the realistic facts.

    Personalized, they will be different for each person, but when you share with me what you’re going through I gain insight and by extension coping skills I lacked. By sharing the reality of this disease is more helpful than dressing it up as little more than a few aches & a bit of fatigue. Sharing the highs, the wins and tips on how we find different ways of managing it, as well as responses to different meds arms us and gives hope and comfort.

    I have always felt it a useless remark when someone says “It could be worse.” Anything can be worse. If I have a broken leg, is my leg less broken and injured because the person in the next room has 2 broken legs? Is he all better because someone pointed out another person has 2 broken legs and a broken arm? It makes me nuts when I hear useless remarks like that. If they have nothing of use to offer it’s okay to say nothing at all.

    The reality is that this life has an enormous amount of pain, sorrow and misery throughout the world. That’s not negative, it’s a fact. In balancing that, there is also a fantastic amount of beauty, love, kindness, hope and much more. Personally I need to know both so I can handle the negative and not be deluded by just the positive.

  • joknee
    2 months ago

    I was diagnosed with Psoriatic arthritis 56 years ago at age 23. I can certainly identify with both sides of the equation of optimism and pessimism as it relates to living life. For me it comes down to making the best of it and life. I don’t fight with it. It just is what it is. Many folks have much worse to deal with on a daily basis.

  • Leanne Donaldson author
    1 month ago

    You offer some great advice @joknee– living with PsA for 56 years must have been very difficult at times during your journey. Finding that balance of pessimism and optimism with life with PsA isn’t easy for sure. I admire your acceptance of simply what it is. Do you have any advice for the growing number of “newbies” out there? How are you getting on these days? -Leanne, Author

  • joknee
    1 month ago

    There isn’t a one size fits all, as you well know. I’m looking at a change in medication right now. My Rheumatologist suggested she could try Cosentyx(don’t have a clue how to spell it yet) or I could drop the Otezla and go back to Methetrexate. I’m leaning toward the Methetrexate because it has always worked well for me in spite of possibility of toxicity. My granddaughter is a pharm D and suggested I might want to use the meth. due to long term use and research over quite a few years instead is a biologic. So you see, I don’t totally ignore the PsA. I stay abreast of research and ask questions. Acceptance is important. I don’t “fight” the illness anymore which is what I mean when I say it is what it is. I do use CBD lotion which is helpful. For anyone newly diagnosed, I do feel your pain because it’s mine, too.

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