Before I Could Live With Psoriatic Arthritis, I Had to Mourn the Life I Had Without It
Last updated: January 2020
I had no clue what to expect when I was first diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Outside of my rheumatologist telling me that it wasn’t curable, but that he could only treat symptoms, I was clueless about the changes that were about to occur.
Not just changes to my health and how I physically felt, but how PsA was going to change my life.
Although we are not facing a death sentence like those who are diagnosed with a terminal illness, we still experience a death. I received my diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis in 2003. At that time neither my primary care doctor nor rheumatologist warned me of the changes that were ahead of me.
A new life with psoriatic arthritis
While I agree that it may have been overwhelming to hear and comprehend at the moment, knowledge of possible changes could have helped me prepare better for the future. It would have also allowed me to say goodbye to the life I knew.
Personally, I needed to mourn my old life before I could learn to live and enjoy life with a chronic illness. I had to say goodbye to how I used to do things, how I used to plan for outings and modify what I did for a living. This doesn't even include any dreams that were dependent upon my not living with chronic pain.
Goodbye old life, hello new
Mourning my old life freed me to move on. It removed roadblocks of thinking that there is only one way to do something and allowed me to find alternative solutions.
Mourning made it possible for me to see that I didn’t have to give up everything that I did before or that I had dreamt of doing. All I had to do was to open my mind to different possibilities and opportunities.
Learning to love your new life
As someone who encourages people to let go and move on daily on my personal blog, I am embarrassed to admit that it took me 13 years to be able to do it myself. There wasn’t a big moment that made me realize that I couldn’t go on fighting my body, but there was a moment when I said I can’t go on like this.
With that said, understand that mourning your old life is not that different from mourning the death of a loved one. It takes time. Be patient and allow yourself to feel all the feels. Get angry! Be sad! Allow yourself to smile when thinking of how life used to be. Find peace in doing things differently than before.
Welcome to my life, psoriatic arthritis
While there are many things we can do to make living with psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and all other chronic illnesses easier, not one will be as effective or useful until we let go of our desire to do things the way we used to.
I recommend seeing a therapist during this time as it is great to have someone who is not a part of your life to be a sounding board. Those close to you don’t always understand the process until they themselves have to go through it.
Have you let go? If so, what was your turning point? If not, what is holding you back? What are you refusing to let go of or change?
Do you have any questions about PsA?