Defining "Chronic": My Perspective

Last updated: June 2018

We throw around the word “chronic” quite a lot when discussing our condition, but it really can feel like we are the only ones who understand its true definition. When defining chronic in relation to psoriatic arthritis, even the most comprehensive definition can still be lacking in its ability to encompass what chronic truly means. Moreover, how it can change your life forever.

Defining chronic, what it is and what it isn’t

I used to live my life content in the knowledge that if I was sick, I could simply go to the doctor, get medicine, and start to feel better within a few days. I was blissfully unaware of the rest of the people in the world who did not have that luxury. Until the time came for my diagnosis. But even then, and maybe even a little still, what “chronic” really means never seemed sink in.

Chronic is forever

Forever is a really long time. Chronic means that I may have some good days and some bad days, but it will always be with me. It will always have to be dealt with, and it will always require time, energy, and effort. Chronic is endless.

Chronic can’t be fixed

While following a special diet may help improve symptoms, it will not fix my condition. There is nothing that I can eat that will magically repair the damage that has already been done. Eliminating certain things from my diet may help inflammation but it will not fix what has been forever changed.

Chronic won’t go away

No amount of exercise, rest, or vitamin supplements will change the chronic nature of my psoriatic arthritis. I can’t be patient and wait for it to run its course. Hours of yoga won’t cleanse my body. Days of rest won’t heal me. Millions of dollars of natural remedies won’t leave me with a clean bill of health.  

Chronic can’t be cured

To date, there has yet to be a medicine made that will actually cure my psoriatic arthritis. Medications can calm inflammation. Infusions can control disease progression. But the old days of taking a prescription for a few days and being magically cured are long gone.

Chronic can be very hard to understand

We’ve all heard well meaning family and friends state with heartfelt enthusiasm, “Get better soon!” Ummm. Yeah. Did you happen to miss the part about psoriatic arthritis being ‘a chronic condition?’ It is probably just be something people say when they don’t know what else to say, but sometimes it is like nails on a chalkboard to my ears.

"Get better soon!"

There is no “getting better.” There is no “getting over it.” And even “feeling better” is all relative. I might have moments when I don’t feel like actual garbage. There might even be times when I can manage to drag myself out into the real world and appear for all to be completely normal. But no, I won’t get better. This, my friends, defines chronic.

What about you? What's your definition?

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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.

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