11 Things Not To Say To Someone With Psoriatic Arthritis
"You are too young to be in so much pain..." Sound familiar?
Not long after receiving a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, friends, family, and even complete strangers begin offering their opinions. Some want to heal you or are trying to sell products. Others think they are funny when in reality their comments reveal judgment or ignorance.
The impact of insensitive comments
I’m always talking about the insensitive remarks people make towards having a chronic illness. Whether it’s being told that we are too young to have such a disease, that we don’t look as sick as we claim to be, or that it’s all in our heads.
I have heard more than my fair share of unwanted comments since my diagnosis in 2003. Here are eleven of them and why people need to stop saying them.
My grandma has arthritis too!
PsA is not the same! There are over 100 forms of arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis alone has 5 types. There is no comparison, each form comes with its own struggles and hardships.
Just push through the pain!
Some pain from psoriatic arthritis is made worse when pushed through. Only we can judge which pains our body will allow us to push through without further punishment.
Tired? Just take a nap!
We are not tired, we are fatigued! There is a world of difference. Fatigue cannot be “fixed” by taking a nap or getting 8 hours of sleep at night.
You don’t look sick!
Looks are deceiving. Trust me, your eyes would explode if you could actually see our pain.
You should try (insert unsolicited advice)
Unless I ask for your advice, please spare me from another essential oil or CBD sales pitch.
My sister has that and she doesn’t need a wheelchair.
I never thought I would need one until I did! PsA symptoms and their severity differ between patients. Others have multiple chronic illnesses or other health issues that further complicate their healthcare and abilities.
I wish I could stay home all of the time!
No, you don't! Time at home flaring is not fun! We are not on vacation. Instead, we lie in bed fretting about everything we are unable to do at that moment and wonder if we will ever catch up. By the way, the answer is no, we will never catch up!
Pray harder or trust that God will heal you!
Someone’s relationship with God should never be used to blame them for their illness. Nor should it be used as a way of measuring the severity of pain and symptoms.
It could be worse!
Really? I didn’t know that?! Telling someone that it could be worse doesn’t help. In fact, it is often received as an indication of you not taking their illness seriously.
You’re too young to be in so much pain!
PsA doesn’t have an age requirement. Unlike Disneyland, I don’t have to be a certain age to experience this attraction!
Don’t let psoriatic arthritis rule your life!
Here’s the deal, PsA is a part of me. It’s not a pet that I can leave at home when I go out. Living without considering my pain and symptoms will only create more problems, whereas I suffer less when I plan my life with them in mind.
Please, don't take this personally.
I would like to add a little note to any friends and family reading this. This is not directed at any one of you specifically. Trust me, you were not the first to say one or more of these comments and you won’t be the last. But I do ask that you think about what you say in regards to my illness because it is and will forever be a part of my life.
Which comment have you heard the most?
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?