Psoriatic Arthritis Has Me Living in a Fog
Last updated: August 2022
I never know what to say when people ask what having psoriatic arthritis (PsA) feels like. Some of my first thoughts that come to mind are experiencing the never-ending flu and a never-ending day after a workout combined.
I want to find a way to touch on everything- the pain, the fatigue, the brain fog and stress, and the isolation. But no description ever feels "enough."
Psoriatic arthritis is a thick, engulfing fog.
While there are a million ways to describe what PsA feels like, I realized I didn't have a good way to convey how living with the condition makes me feel. What's it like to navigate life with this disease? I realized that could easily be described: psoriatic arthritis has manifested in my life as a thick, engulfing fog.
Living with PsA is like struggling to navigate the city on a foggy day.
Hiding in plain sight
Even though I'm fighting to navigate it, others don't see my efforts and don't realize I'm struggling. My invisible illness can trick them into thinking I'm doing just fine, which is isolating.
There are times when I prefer it this way. At work, I don't want to let on and appear unreliable. On holidays, I don't want to spoil anyone's time. But there are times when I wish others could see what I'm going through. If they could, they'd know how hard I'm fighting to keep moving forward.
And, I'd hope that maybe others would offer a little more support when I need it.
I feel like I'm in a haze
The fog also represents the slew of odd symptoms I experience aside from pain and stiffness, such as brain fog and fatigue. All of these together can put you in a haze. Sometimes, my brain feels fried.
It's not easy to focus when you feel like you can barely keep your eyes open or are overwhelmed by pain.
Surprises around every corner
Also, like fog, PsA doesn't allow you to plan too far ahead. You think the path is clear, but a few steps later, you almost run into a post! PsA can derail even the best-laid plans because you never know what's around the corner.
You never know how you'll feel when you wake up in the morning. But you also never know how your body will react to something during the day. One small activity could aggravate your joints, or an entire day on your feet might have little effect on you.
But, sometimes the sun comes out...
... and the fog starts to lift. After a flare passes, I often see the fog ease little by little. It may not be gone completely; every day, there's a varying degree. Some days will be better than others: it might be a light haze some days, and on others, you can't see more than a few feet in front of you.
There are still a million and one ways to describe the pain of arthritis: burning, stabbing, aching, being pulled apart, etc. Not to mention all the other symptoms that come with it. But at least I have one way to describe its impact on my life. And I hope it helps others see more clearly what I'm dealing with.
This or That
Do you feel you receive enough information about PsA from your doctor(s)?
Do you ever feel burned out from psoriatic arthritis management?
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