Managing Expectations and Societal Pressures with Psoriatic Arthritis
Last updated: April 2022
We live in a “go big or go home” world. Television and social media constantly serve up images of a lifestyle of “you can have it all!”
I scroll through my feed and see other moms, healthy moms, running their kids to a million and one different activities and events. There are pictures of friends, healthy friends, going out on the town and dancing the night away.
The expectation to be the perfect mom
I can’t help but feel like I should be out there, being that super-mom and fun-loving friend. Even the ads for medications targeted for people like me tell me that I can and I should be able to do it all despite my psoriatic arthritis.
I should be able to throw the perfect birthday parties for my kids.
I should be able to meet up for a meal with friends.
I should be able to keep up with my house.
They show people parenting and having fun because that is what we should be doing. Let’s face it, as much as we try to accept the hand that life has dealt us, we all know that there are certain expectations that are made about what we should be able to do.
The pressure to have it all together
After all, everyone else seems to be able to do it, even with their own personal challenges. Society tells me that I can have it all and do it all, even if I have a chronic illness. I don’t need to “miss out” on everything that life has to offer.
Why do I find it so difficult to accept that maybe I’m not super-mom?
I can’t always be the best friend everyone needs.
Sometimes, my house is a super-mess.
That is the expectation that everyone has of me. That if I was just strong enough, I could be “normal.” So then, why do I feel like I spend so much time and energy fighting against the expectations that society places on me to be everything, all the time, to everyone?
Expectations and societal pressures with psoriatic arthritis
Perhaps it is because people forget. They put my psoriatic arthritis into the same category as my blue eyes or my brown hair. They consider it one of my attributes but forget that psoriatic arthritis touches everything in my life.
It’s more than just a piece of me. It impacts everything in my life that goes beyond simple physical attributes. People forget that. Their expectations of my ability to do things are much higher than my actual ability.
We smile and do our best to carry on
So what does all this serve to do? Where do all these expectations land us? We end up with a big, steaming, heaping helping of guilt, that’s what. Guilt that we struggle to live up to everything that we are supposed to be able to do and somehow fail.
Expectations and social pressures drive anxiety and depression almost as much as the joint pain and fatigue do. So we just lock it away. We smile and do our best to carry on, despite the expectations and societal pressures placed upon us.
Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?