Daily Struggles with Psoriatic Arthritis
Obviously, getting out of bed is probably the biggest struggle every single day. That is a given. But I am constantly surprised at how, even with medicine, there seem to be a million things I try to do daily that are much more difficult when you have psoriatic arthritis. These daily struggles can seem like little things, and maybe they are. But throughout the day they can pile on and leave me feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and beaten down by PsA.
It’s the little things really
- Car seat buttons– No joke, these things are seriously difficult. I have to use the finger of thumb that is in the least amount of pain that day to push with all my might, just to lock or unlock my poor youngest child from her car seat. There are even days when I avoid going anywhere simply because of how hard I have to fight the car seat.
- Fabric softener buttons– Do you know what I’m talking about here? Let me explain…We are a family of 5, so we go through some serious laundry in a week. Therefore, we buy the giant container of fabric softener from the big box store. Well, on the nozzle, there is a red button that dispenses the fabric softener into the cup. With PsA, it takes like the strength of a thousand men to simply press the red button. However, if you press too hard the bottle flips and fabric softener flies everywhere. Trust me, I’ve done it more times than I really care to admit. The struggle is real.
- Water bottles– These have been such a problem for me that my darling hubby actually goes through and “pre-opens” all the water bottles for me so that I can actually drink water if he isn’t home. The number of strangers I’ve asked to open my bottle for me would probably shock you. All I want is a drink people, geez.
- Hair and makeup– Back in the land of the “pre-PsA me” I loved spending an hour doing my hair and makeup. I would test out the latest in winged eyeliner and perfectly highlighted cheekbones. Most days now I’m lucky if I make it through a whole shower and getting dressed without being exhausted. I have the simplest hairstyle possible and haven’t worn eyeliner in months. My hands just don’t have the dexterity or endurance anymore.
- Tying shoes– I’ve been pretty content with slip-ons, and I’m okay with that. I’ve even gotten away with velcro shoes for my kiddos for as long as humanly possible. But now they are starting to notice. They want the cool shoes with laces. I know I should only allow them if they can tie them themselves. But I feel like they already make so many allowances for when “Mommy isn’t feeling well” that the least I can do is allow them a hip pair of sneakers. But honestly, this is another one of those things that I really wouldn’t have thought twice about a year ago, but is seriously a daily struggle for me now.
- Getting off the couch like a normal human or really, the whole combination of standing up and taking a few steps from any seated position. Most of the time I look like a strange mix of Egore and Frankenstein. I try not to sit for more than 5 minutes at any given time to avoid this. This most glamorous gait is acceptable at say, the doctor’s office, but at the hair salon or a restaurant and people will look at you like you’ve straight up lost your mind.
- Doing my daughters’ hair– Like any little girl in the 3 to 6 year old range, my girls love Frozen and pretty much want to be Ana and Elsa every single day. If you know Frozen at all (if not, you’ve clearly been living under a rock for the past 5 years) you know that Ana and Elsa have the MOST FABULOUS braided hair ever. Seriously. Amazing stuff right there. So naturally, my little girls must have the exact same hairstyle. Not only does this take serious dexterity, but it is also a serious time commitment. About halfway through, my hands are throbbing and fumbling with the tiny strands of hair. My good old “Mom guilt” sets in and I just know that I must be a failure as a mom if I can’t finish these simple braids.
So how do we get through it?
How do we survive the daily struggles that can pile up so heavily on our shoulders? I wish I had a fabulous answer to this question. But I honestly don’t know. I have developed coping mechanisms that get me out of the moment, at least. I laugh. I take a giant, deep breath. I scream. I try and remind myself that it is simply a moment, like any other, where life isn’t going exactly as I have planned it. Fabric softener peppering my hair, my daughter’s poor, crazy braids-these moments are extremely frustrating, but if I didn’t find some humor and make light of the situation I’d probably cry my eyes out. What do you do to get through those daily struggles? How do you keep from being overwhelmed by daily life with PsA?