When Psoriatic Arthritis Pain Makes Me Irritable
I've seen irritability and crankiness listed on quite a few lists of possible juvenile arthritis symptoms, but never on a list for psoriatic arthritis.
While the reason it appears on the JA lists is to cue parents into how their child may cope with the pain, I think it's unwise to completely gloss over the fact that pain can cause adults to be irritable.
Losing patience due to soaring pain levels
Feeling irritable while coping with pain isn't a sign of weakness or bad character. Ongoing pain can cause a saint to lose their patience. When you're not feeling well while trying to go somewhere or do something, you'll probably feel extra stressed or even desperate to finish so you can rest.
I can say for sure that I am not exempt from feeling cranky or losing my patience due to soaring pain levels.
Pain can cause stres and tension.
Usually, I'm very talkative around the people I'm comfortable with. But when I get pain-gry, I react by being very stoic. I am reticent and on a mission to complete whatever the task is or manage to go along for others' sake. My body language can become very closed off because I'm stiff and holding my limbs close to my body for comfort.
Even though I'm not saying or acting mean, people can sometimes read my body language and find lots of cues that say I'm annoyed or unhappy. They even may assume I'm annoyed with them when the only thing I'm annoyed with is the pain. It can certainly make things stressful and cause tension.
Check in with yourself
While there's no one-size-fits-all way to cope with this, I try to prepare for impending pain when possible. Sometimes, it's by trying to prevent pain to improve my mood and enjoy the day. Other times, it's just acknowledging my reality and being patient with myself. Unfortunately, it does involve pushing myself to appear happy when I'm around others from time to time.
Day to day, just acknowledging how much the pain can affect my mood and mental state helps. Being aware of how I'm feeling and checking in with myself helps me attempt to keep a calm demeanor, especially around others. Through the years, I've found it easier to let people know I'm not feeling well and that I'm not angry at them. I assure them that the pain makes me feel stressed out, and that's why I might be in a hurry or appear anxious.
It's important to be patient with yourself
When I'm planning for fun or special days, I try to make plans to push myself as little as possible. For example, I started using a wheelchair sometimes during vacations and outings. Having a spot to sit at any time and not pushing my boundaries makes a trip to the museum enjoyable, without having to rush through exhibits because I'm desperate to find a bench to rest.
Being honest with myself and being aware of how I'm feeling doesn't take away the pain. But it does remind me to be patient with myself and to communicate with my loved ones about how I'm feeling.
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?