Living Two Lives

Living Two Lives

The pain of psoriatic arthritis and my other chronic conditions make me feel like I am leading two lives. How I function on an average pain day differs greatly from how I function during a flare. What I am able to do all depends upon which life I am living at the moment.

"Average pain" life

When experiencing what I consider to be an average pain day, I able to spend most of my time out of bed. I am either able to spend the day in my recliner or enjoy an outing. I may need my wheelchair or walker for outings or be able to handle a short errand without a mobility aid. These are the days in which I am able to help my family with household chores, engage in conversation, and work on projects. Brushing my hair and getting dressed is something that I am able to and want to do.

"Flare pain" life

There was a time when I felt like time stopped each time I was hit with a flare. It was as if someone hit the pause button and I had to wait for the play button to be pushed again in order to return to the land of the living. Now I view my flares as a different life. I may have to remain in bed. I rarely leave the house during a flare. Forget helping out around the house, there are times when just heating up a meal is more than I can handle. During a flare, I struggle holding conversations. Pain scrambles my brain and makes verbalizing or typing out my thoughts next to impossible. Over time I have learned to accept these days for what they are. These are the days that I allow myself to marathon watch my favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix. I may not have the mental energy to write, but I am still productive as I make sure to write down any ideas that come to me so I will have them to go back to when I am ready.

Explaining my two lives to my friends and family has made it easier for them to understand why I appear to drop off the face of the earth now and then. The most important change that accepting my two lives has made in my life is that I have learned to enjoy my downtime without feeling guilty.

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