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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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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