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Picking Up the Pieces

When going through a particularly difficult time with psoriatic arthritis, life can quickly feel like it is falling apart around us. The longer we go without symptom relief, the more the world implodes while we sit by and watch. Pieces of life that we’ve so carefully held in place, the laundry, work commitments, and play dates, all start to fall, one by one left in pieces on the floor.

What are we left with?

Eventually, if we are lucky, we pull through the worst of it. But what are we left with? I look around and all I see are things I’ve left undone. The never-ending to-do list is now even longer than ever as I struggle to prioritize what must be done first. I quickly find myself overwhelmed and anxious and everything that has fallen apart in my absence. But it isn’t simply a dirty house or a list of errands that need to be put back in place. No. There is so much more to it than that.

Picking up the pieces of relationships

More important than any of that, is picking up the pieces of relationships that suffered while I was in pain. Plans with friends had to be cancelled. Tenuous friendships have slipped away and now, I have to live with the guilt of being the cause of it. Honestly, I feel a bit of shame at being the person who didn’t call when I was feeling bad. I was the person who “flaked out” on a movie date. I feel such guilt while apologizing for not being the friend, spouse, daughter, or mother that my loved ones deserve. Those are the hardest pieces to try and put back, the ones that no amount of “glue” will really, truly repair.

Picking up the pieces of commitments

We all make commitments with our time. School board, committee chair, or coaching all require a time and energy commitment. There are things in our lives in which people count on us to be somewhere or do something that we commit to. When we have a hard time managing symptoms, these types of commitments are very difficult to manage. We live with the guilt and shame of being “unreliable” and people no longer feel they can trust us to follow through on what we’ve committed to do.

Picking up the pieces of all of my projects

I’ll be the first to admit, I love a good project. Craft project, home decor project, remodeling project, you name it, I love it. But when a flare takes over, these projects all come to a stand still. Once I emerge from the flare I find my project, half complete, pieces literally scattered around my house. These particular pieces tend to get the last of my attention because there are no feelings involved. There is just a mess. I try and pick up where I left off and finish the project. But if I’m being honest, chances are that is where the pieces stay, scattered around my house, left undone.

Just part of the cycle

When it comes down to it though, I’ve noticed that it is all part of the cycle. I feel good, I make commitments, and I start projects. Inevitably I feel worse, I flare, I’m down for the count. The world, my carefully built web of relationships, commitments, and projects, falls to pieces around me. Here I sit, just picking up the pieces to start the cycle all over again.

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


  • bbthodges
    1 year ago

    It is a bad cycle you are experiencing but so much of the problem is that all those people that you feel you are disappointing or deserting don’t have the information to understand what you are experiencing. PSA is something few know about and if they did they would understand and give you support. We need to do something about that.

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