Facing My Fears

Nobody should live in fear. Sadly most of us who suffer from painful conditions like psoriatic arthritis do just that. One thing I used to fear the most was a spike in pain. While not every pain spike is avoidable, there are many physical activities that incite a spike that are often preventable. In my case, using a wheelchair reduces how often I experience an increase of pain in my feet, hips, spine, and more. However, there was a time when I allowed my fear of people questioning why I needed to use it keep me from going out. I knew that without it I would most likely experience a horrendous pain level for several weeks after the outing and instead of using my wheelchair I let my fear imprison me in my own home.

Fear vs living life fully

In 2013, I began facing my fear head on. I learned to not let what others think stop me from doing what I wanted to do. For me, that was going to Disneyland. It had been five years since I last visited and I missed it terribly. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to walk the park like I had in the past. This meant I had to accept using a wheelchair and endure stares and comments from people who didn’t understand what it was like to live with an invisible disability. Fast forward to today, and I am no longer fearful of what people think. In fact, many of the Disneyland cast members and I refer to myself as Cinderella and my wheelchair as my royal carriage.

When we first returned to Disneyland I feared the pain that would follow from riding most of the attractions. I feared being bedridden for weeks on end after each visit. Not wanting to spend the weeks after each visit crying, I allowed this fear to keep me from riding many of my favorite attractions. Two years after I began medicating with marijuana (MMJ) and a year after becoming a Disneyland Annual Passholder, I began to face this fear. I began by adding one attraction at a time and seeing just how it would affect my body. Figuring out which forms of MMJ would alleviate those pains helped cut down my recovery time. Sometimes my body needs a day or two to recover and other times I am able to play for several days in a row. Occasionally my body requires more downtime, but that is usually only when I pinch my sciatic nerve. Nowadays the only rides I avoid are those that cause my nervous system to freak out or bring about a nasty case of motion sickness.

Most importantly I have learned to accept that I will experience some level of a pain spike no matter what I do. By preparing for that spike and accepting that fun comes with a price, I have escaped from my prison and spend more time making magical memories with my family.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

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

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.