Psoriatic Arthritis and a Little Faith
Last updated: January 2021
I can’t tell you the countless times that I’ve laid alarmingly awake at 3AM, in pain, and unable to sleep. Sometimes the pain is in my knees, sometimes my back, feet, hands, or hips. It is most often at these early (or late?) hours that I wrestle with the additional emotional effects of psoriatic arthritis.
More recently, I began to wonder, does faith, of any type, help manage the daily symptoms of psoriatic arthritis?
Finding faith in the morning
It is usually at these times, these dark hours when my mind is clouded with pain and fatigue, that I have come to rely on an arsenal of old habits that include memorized prayers and routines to get me through until the morning comes.
My husband sleeps soundly next to me (albeit snoring quite loudly) as my mind marches on in endless circles. I start with the Hail Mary and continue on praying through the imaginary rosary in my mind. Falling back on my memorized prayers provides a much-needed distraction from the pain even as I question my own faith in God, that this kind of life is “allowable” to Him.
It is during these hours that I begin to question: Why me? What have I done to deserve this? How can I make this stop and just have my life back the way it was?
The hardest thoughts to work through
Being a practicing Catholic my whole life, I have an overdeveloped sense of good old Catholic guilt. So naturally, my guilty thoughts began swimming. Consuming my brain of course: I’ve done something wrong. All of this pain must be my penance from some past wrongdoing. Clearly, this is all my fault. If God really cared, He would spare me this.
These thoughts are some of the hardest to deal with and always seem to be the ones that plague me in those wee hours of the morning. In my heart, I know that that isn’t how it works. That isn’t how God works. He doesn’t keep some ongoing balance sheet of credits and debits, checks for or against. He doesn’t list and categorize all of our rights and wrongs.
Making the choice to live following that philosophy just adds another burden to body and spirit already heavily taxed by the daily burden of living with psoriatic arthritis.
Things just are what they are
Just as a shepherd doesn’t leave his flock when the wolves attack, neither are we left to fend for ourselves when life gets difficult. He isn’t the cause of our suffering any more than we are. Sometimes in life, things just are what they are.
Sharing these thoughts with you, my psoriatic arthritis community isn’t easy. These are the thoughts and questions that I struggle with along with the daily pains of psoriatic arthritis. Nor do they have clear answers. But I guess that is what faith is all about.
Faith inexplicably got me through
I can say, with 100% certainty, that during the times when I felt the worst, when I really thought no one understood the challenges of life with psoriatic arthritis, and I was convinced I was all alone, were the times when having just a little faith inexplicably got me through.
And I’m pretty sure that many of you will disagree with me and I’m okay with that. Perhaps you might think I’m being ridiculous, dramatic, or even naive because of what I believe. That’s fine. I’m okay with that too. But overall, it seems to work for me.
Have you ever leaned on a little faith to get you through your darkest moments?
Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?