Woman with pain in her hip being judged by 2 people behind her

Don't Judge Me for My Good Days

Please don't judge me based on my good days. Looks can be deceiving for someone with a chronic illness.

What looks like a good day might actually be a good day. Or it might be a good few hours. Or it could be someone doing their best to function through the pain. You don't honestly know what someone is going through, especially when they have lived with the pain for a long time. You'd be surprised how much pain people can learn to smile through.

Why do my loved ones judge me?

I don't appreciate when others judge what my life with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is like based on how I look on a good day. And I don't mean people on the street when I say others: I mean family members, friends, and doctors.

What are they implying?

It's difficult to be questioned about why I feel good one day but not the next. Sometimes, I can hear the implication that I am being dramatic in their voices. The reality is that PsA is a wildly unpredictable disease, so there's no way to know what the future holds. While I know some things, such as stress, injuries, or bad weather, will influence the pain, it's not guaranteed. And while remission is possible, it doesn't always last. I didn't choose to feel this way.

Who has actually seen me at my lowest points?

While the judgment hurts, I have to let it roll off my shoulders. The way I see it, nobody has the right to judge, especially considering that people are rarely around to witness the bad times.

If you weren't delivering well-needed coffee and fresh clothes to my mum, who spent days in the hospital with me during my most severe childhood flare, then you can't judge. And if you weren't there homeschooling me during the weeks when I couldn't move my neck or hold up my head, you also can't judge. And you also weren't even there to witness the smaller events, like at 3 am this morning when I woke up thinking I had somehow broken my hip. Or when a 5-minute walk home took nearly a half-hour because I had so much pain and no energy.

What are good days and how do I spend them?

While I'm genuinely grateful for all my good days, that doesn't change the fact that I've struggled before and will likely have some bad days ahead. And my good days are just that- good. They're not perfect or pain-free: They're tolerable, with just enough energy to make it through most of the day.

When I have good days, I want to live in the moment. The last thing I want to do is waste my energy explaining why just because I'm okay today doesn't mean I'm all better or never had pain to start. Unfortunately, even on a good day, I'm still trying to listen to my body and not push beyond my limits. Overdoing it can cause flares, changing an excellent day into a bad one.

What do I need my loved ones to do?

Very few know what I'm going through. But as long as people are not unkind, I don't need people to understand. I'm very fortunate to have the support of the few closest to me, and that's all I need. Because at the end of the day, it's not about needing sympathy or to 'prove' anything; it's about treating each other with kindness and understanding.

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