I used to believe that I was an easy-going person. To my surprise, chronic pain from psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia proved me wrong! As it turns out, I am a major control freak!
Cleaning? You’re doing it wrong!
A few years after my diagnosis, it became very clear to my husband that I was struggling. At first, he noticed my increase in pain and fatigue after major events or holidays. Later, he witnessed what had always been simple household tasks that were now contributing to my suffering. Being the awesome guy he is, he began taking over the chores that were the hardest on my body.
I was offended at first. Mainly because I thought I was doing a good job of hiding how poorly I was doing. Then I realized that I was pretty lucky because so many people in my position do not have a spouse who would not only pick up on their struggle but also be so willing to help out. The problem was he was doing everything wrong! Okay, maybe his way wasn’t the wrong way, but it sure the heck wasn’t my way!
Out of control!
Psoriatic arthritis did more than inflicting pain upon my body, it stole every little thing that defined me as a person. I defined being a wife and mother by being able to care for my family.
Doing laundry, cleaning the house, washing dishes, cooking meals, and the ability to drive to the grocery store may not seem like a fair definition of being a wife and mother. I sure didn’t think much of those things, until they became a big deal to do.
Let it go!
To be honest, I never really enjoyed doing those chores. I am no Snow White! Yet, I found myself feeling useless when my family began taking over what had always been my “job”. Instead of being grateful, I tried to remain in control by criticizing and getting angry over the jobs my family had performed. “This cup is on the wrong shelf, you missed a dust bunny, that’s not how you fold clothes.”
If I wanted energy and strength to enjoy life beyond household chores, I had to let go and let them do it their way. That didn’t mean that I didn’t care if the job was performed correctly, but that I stopped nitpicking little things that really didn’t matter. Did it matter what shelf the cupboard glasses were put in? Did it really matter if my teenager didn’t fold his shirts just so? No!
This control freak's thankful
What did matter, was that they were willing to help. Psoriatic arthritis did more than physically cripple my body. It tried to create a divide among my family, by making me believe that I had no use or purpose beyond daily household tasks.
I am beyond thankful to have realized this before totally alienating my husband and children. Many of us with chronic illnesses complain that no one wants to be around us. To be honest, I wouldn’t have wanted to be around someone who did nothing but complain.
Instead of using my inner control freak to criticize my family, I use it to improve my overall health and to find ways to make living with an incurable illness easier.
Are you a fellow control freak?
Do you have any questions about psoriatic arthritis?
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