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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.

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.

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