The Number of Things I Can Do Without Pain

Explaining what it is like to live with psoriatic arthritis to friends and family has never been easy. I have spent hours sharing all of my symptoms and how they cause a chain reaction with the rest of my body. Sometimes I focused only on the pains that were currently at their worst or just simply stated that I was always in pain. Unfortunately, none of these tactics worked. Ninety-nine percent of the people I spoke with were certain there was something that I could do that didn’t cause my body to experience physical pain or they assumed that I experienced pleasure from the same things they did. And they were wrong! The number of things I can do without pain is ZERO!

Experiencing pain with every movement

I experience pain with every movement my body makes. I haven’t been able to sit or stand without experiencing some level of physical pain for 17 years. It doesn’t matter how soft or plush a chair is or what type of shoes I wear. A simple task like brushing my hair hurts my hands and head. Every step I take and some days even every breath I take causes pain. Sleeping is also painful as my muscles either spasm or stiffen. Standing in the grocery checkout line increases my pain. While certain exercises or stretches may reduce my pain level for the moment, I am punished with a more intense level of pain afterwards. While always welcome, even the gentlest of hugs causes pain. In fact, all physical contact causes pain including sex. Holding my children or simply changing their diapers was painful. There is absolutely nothing I can do without pain.

I am not sharing this for pity. My purpose for sharing this is to help others like me find ways to explain to their friends and family what it is like to live with a painful chronic disease. Explaining how the activities that bring them pleasure often feels like torture to us helps them understand our daily battle.

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