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Woman looking at a photo of herself before she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis

Pain Changes People

Photographs are the one single thing next to scents that trigger emotions and memories for me. This morning I retrieved a box marked “precious photos” that has moved with me and been in storage for a long time. A treasure trove to say the least. For the next few hours, I took myself and my daughter on a trip down memory lane. I laughed, I told stories and I realized that all of these photos are from before I got sick. So much was different then, and I do not think that until today I have really absorbed and realized exactly how much has changed for me since my diagnoses. I would be lying if I said this did not bring me a measure of sadness.

Psoriatic arthritis pain changed me

The woman in those photos is younger, with not a grey hair in sight, she had a lust for life that could rival some of the happiest and enthusiastic people I have met in my lifetime. Nothing weighed her down; I realized with a slight sadness today, that I miss her. There is no way to pinpoint one specific thing that happened, no one single day or event that stands out and makes me feel “that was the day it changed for me.” My personal opinion, (which is not always a popular one) is that it was the accumulation of many small things along the way. The things that I took for granted or did not notice at the time. If someone had said something to me at the time, I would have dismissed it and claimed it was part of growing. Being partially stubborn by nature, okay probably a bit more than partially, I would vehemently deny anything more than growth.

How I’ve changed over the years

Over the years so much has changed since my diagnoses. If I sit and look back, I can tell that I have aged. Not just in years, I have aged in person and I am not sure that it is a good thing. The years of battling constant pain and emotional turmoil that walks hand in hand has almost brought me to my knees. There is a saying that says pain changes people, I can vouch for this. The level of pain that most of us deal with on a day to day, minute to minute basis is nothing short of, too much to handle. We do handle it though, some of us with less grace than others, but we all show up. Every day we go at it again and we give it our best.

Looking ahead

It is time for a change. Time to start paying attention to more than just my illness, it is time to find that spark again, that everyday lust for life despite the pain. I still have moments of pure joy, and I am not suffering from unmanageable depression. It would be wonderful if the frequency of these moments can be increased, if only by a little. I am no fool and am well aware that I will not be that woman to the T again. Time to remind myself that I am not already 34, but that I am only 34 and there is so much living to still be done.

I need to do more than just exist, I need to live.

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

Comments

  • AuntJana
    2 months ago

    Great article. So true.

    I feel as if I am only part of me now. That shopping, walking, cleaning, traveling, partying person is gone.

    Hell, showering is difficult and not refreshing anymore……

    Family really doesn’t understand……maybe a bit but how do you explain how painful and difficult getting up from a chair or bed can be because you spent an hour or more in that position…..something so simple can be so hard to accomplish.
    Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed—tried it, done it, took it—leave me alone. It doesn’t work…..nothing does.
    Yet, here I go again —I am about to try a new biologic…..not supposed to give up, right?

  • ClairG moderator author
    1 week ago

    @auntjana – Ah my heart! Do not give up, try them all and keep fighting. What I do know , now anyways , is that it is okay to take a break too. It is draining and deeply exhausting to battle this on all fronts all the time. Rest from it all when you need to and come back to give it another go. Sending you heaps of love. – Clair.

  • Misskitty02
    2 weeks ago

    I’m 62 and just diagnosed and starting treatment for my PSA has been hell I’ve been fighting this for over a year I’ve had Crohn’s disease since 1980 I thought that was bad now this chronic pain is nothing compared to this. God bless you you’ll get through this day positive

  • DebeeC
    6 months ago

    My come to Jesus moment is when I view my Facebook picture from 9 yrs ago! A smiling beaming woman of 57yrs of age!
    I can’t complain about greying hair but more a look of anguish and facial qualities that appear distorted!
    Your article precisely validates what I felt this last 3 months, but felt odd thinking it! In fact the difference in my last drivers license and now is disturbing!
    Thank You for giving words to my secret fears!

  • ClairG moderator author
    6 months ago

    @debeec – Sometimes it can be so hard to find the words to describe what we feel. It warms my heart that you can relate to this, albeit I am sorry that you have to be able to. 9 years is a long time, and often it is only us that see the difference. Thank you for being here and for your kind words. Sending you a gentle hug from afar. – Clair

  • CelesteIsMe
    6 months ago

    Oh Clair… it’s not often I read something on this amazing website that brings me to full-on tears while trying hard to get through another workday… Today was that day.

    I feel your pain… literally. I am changed. Today I cry because I can never go back. Thank you so much for your truth. Tears are good sometimes.

  • ClairG moderator author
    6 months ago

    @celesteisme – I truly believe that tears are our way of dealing with big emotions. Often when I sit and write , the tears roll. These are big things that we are dealing with so often. Love yourself for who you are right. You are amazing. -Clair.

  • BMK1
    6 months ago

    Beautifully written. Your words touched my heart, as I too have done a similar thing with both my daughters. I feel your sadness. Sometimes I think I am going through the bereavement process and grieving the lost of that person I once was. I like you get up every new day to forge and fight on. Some days I manage better than others. On the better days I can fake a smile, on the horrendous days when the pain is coarsening through me, I am literally a dragon. But putting this aside, what’s remarkable is that I get up each day and keep moving in.

  • ClairG moderator author
    6 months ago

    @bmk1 – Thank you for your kind words. It is truly remarkable that we find the strength every single day.Well done on your for being the mom you are! Grieving the loss of who we once were is normal and a natural process. Dragons are beautiful too. Have a wonderful day. – Clair

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