Getting Through a Flare
While it took me approximately 13 years to accept my diagnosis and the life changes that accompanied it, I have found some good ways to cope during flare ups. Accepting that my life would be filled with unexpected periods consisting of excruciating pain and limited abilities stopped me from spending that time wallowing in self-pity. Once I acknowledged that there was nothing I could do to prevent a flare, I began thinking of ways to make them less miserable. Here are five things that keep my smile from turning upside down when a flare hits.
1. Netflix and Hulu marathons
I watch very little television when experiencing an average pain level. I use those days to work on projects, run errands, and catch up on housework. Since I am unable to do those things when flaring, I filled my Netflix and Hulu queues with many series. My current obsession is Coronation Street on Hulu. I prefer watching series over movies as they fill the hours that I am awake and allow me to get lost in the lives of the characters. I recommend shows and movies that have some comedic value over ones that are dark and depressing.
2. Spending time with those who understand what it means to have a flare
When flaring, conversations are not always possible. I either have to medicate heavier to reduce pain or the pain itself scrambles my brain. Either way I lack the energy needed to explain why I am speaking in fragments or verbalizing my thoughts. Limiting who spends time with me while flaring reduces my stress level and makes time spent with them more enjoyable.
3. Virtual window shopping sprees
I do not allow myself to actually shop during a flare. If I did I would have a house full of emotion fueled purchases. However, I do permit myself to go window shopping online. I fill wish lists on all of my favorite merchant sites. After a flare passes I go through my lists and either make purchases or remove items that aren’t really something I want or need.
4. Mind games
Games that can be played online and at my convenience stimulate my brain and provide entertainment. My favorite is Words with Friends. I can play between naps and there is always someone available no matter what time of the day or night. While I struggle with sentences and conversations, creating one word at a time is the perfect challenge.
5. Catch up with friends on social media
I like spending flares catching up with people that I don’t keep up with on a daily basis. I spend hours going through their pages liking and commenting on posts. While verbalizing my thoughts is difficult, there are moments that I am able to type them instead. The best part is that I don’t have to reply to comments until I am ready to do so.
Do you regularly track your psoriatic arthritis symptoms?