My Advice For Those New to and Adapting to a Life with PsA

A diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) might change your life. I can still clearly recall my range of feelings after learning of my diagnosis. It was a journey filled with anger and pain.

What did I learn to accept?

The first step in my journey was acceptance. It's important to realize that PsA is only a small portion of who we are. Grieving the life you formerly had is acceptable, but try not to let it control you.

I learned to accept my diagnosis as a new chapter in my life rather than the end. Of course, I had to make lifestyle changes and have a positive outlook. It took 25 years to get the right diagnosis, so I had to find the right medical staff.

How can you advocate for yourself?

Don't be scared to speak up for yourself and ask questions. This disease affects us differently, what works for one person may not for another. Be an active participant in your healthcare as an advocate for yourself. Speak out about your worries, ask questions, and, if necessary, get second opinions. Your strongest ally is you.

You will be better equipped to make decisions about your health if you are aware of the problem and its causes. You need not undertake this trip alone. Utilize the internet or join a support group. It's normal to think that the symptoms will go away eventually, but getting treatment sooner can stop the illness from worsening. Don't let pride or fear prevent you from getting the care you need.

Where can you find support?

You are not alone; there are support groups and internet communities that can help you in navigating this journey. You will need help. With PsA, you always get a new symptom that pops out of nowhere.

It's okay to have bad days and to request assistance when needed. Try and have friends and family members around you to provide support. Sometimes we need help.

How have I remained active?

We also need to strike a balance between exercise and rest. I tried including physical therapy, but it was too painful for me. I did add in mild exercise to help. Maintaining joint motion is crucial. Speak with a therapist to create a strategy tailored to your needs. When your body wants a break, please pay attention to it.

How have I managed the emotional toll of psoriatic arthritis?

Although PsA might be mentally taxing, keeping a good mindset is important. You can keep a positive outlook when you know you're doing your best.

I ignored the emotional toll that PsA had on me for years.  Keep in mind that it's totally acceptable to seek assistance and deal with emotional and physical difficulties. I suggest that you get to know yourself, knowledge is powerful. Make self-care your number one priority and keep up a healthy diet. Think about what you can do rather than just what you can't do. Accept the difficult days and praise the good ones. Since PsA is a dynamic condition, what works for you today might not be effective tomorrow.

Be up for change and be willing to adjust your way of life. There are so many new medications coming down the pipeline these days. Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management. Like every journey, it has its share of hardships and rewarding times.

Remember, we are all in this together.

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