Managing Relationships With Psoriatic Arthritis
Last updated: August 2022
I have lived with psoriatic disease for 59 years and have learned a few things along the way. As with any journey, I was faced with difficult and debilitating challenges.
Individuals who live with this condition, including myself, we approach life differently and it took us a while after diagnosis to realize it. Though we may have a name for our pain, navigating life post-diagnosis comes with its own challenging reality.
Feeling like a disappointment isn't helpful for anybody
A normal life isn't possible for us. At least what our friends, family, and even society consider normal. Our reality is much different. We are faced with a new normal of unexpected flares, avoiding triggers, and unknown pain levels.
Psoriatic arthritis shaped my life, my priorities, and the way I communicate. It is just not about the outside world either. The dissatisfaction I had for myself, too, needed to be addressed. The beginning was very rough. I put distance between my family, friends, and even my partner.
I felt like a disappointment and lost my confidence in myself. I was angry with a bad attitude. I even remember a short time when I tried to ignore my husband, and it put a strain on our relationship. I was isolated. I felt lonely. I had given up on everything. There was a lack of interest in what everyone else was doing. All signs of depression.
Finding a new hope with psoriatic arthritis
I found a doctor that understood my physical and emotional situation. I found a ray of hope. It's a journey, right? There were days when I did not want to accept this part of my life. The unhappiness consumed me. My appearance, the swollen joints, the pain in my body. It took its toll.
My doctor referred me for counseling. I think it actually gave me a head start on my new beginning with psoriatic disease. After 2 to 3 sessions, I was now able to understand myself and this disease in a new light.
With awareness came acceptance, not overnight, but yeah, it made me flexible in making space for this new phase of managing this illness.
Invest in your relationships
What I learned from my sessions is what lies within me now. The only way forward is to talk about it. Find a safe space to open up to the people you trust. I had to come to grips with the inner battles I was fighting. These people want to play a role in your life, chronic illness and all.
The most important thing that I learned on this journey is to be open about my struggles. If I have a flare, I will let my family and friends know that I will either be unavailable for a gathering or that I need extra help or support from them. No guilt is needed.
Communication is the key. Let your loved ones know how you feel now. Remember, you are not alone.
This or That
Do you know what type(s) of psoriatic arthritis you have?
Do you have any questions about PsA?