Sometimes a Fall is Just a Fall
Sometimes a fall is just a fall. Sometimes a bad day is just a bad day. Sometimes pain is just pain.
Pain from everyday tasks
When someone we care about lives with psoriatic arthritis it can not only be painful, but it can be beyond frustrating. The simple act of opening a jar can be excruciating and maddening for someone with PsA, but honestly is it really so simple? Who doesn’t throw out countless expletives when trying to pry open pickles? It’s a universal issue, we all struggle with time and again. The interesting thing is, someone who lives in pain can forget that opening the pickles have always felt like one of the rings of hell, even long before they were diagnosed. This is one of any number of things and experiences that can feel truly like the curse of PsA that are actually a curse to everyone.
I only bring this up because I have seen people I love who have PsA apologize or become extra embarrassed when faced with one of these challenges. It’s hard to remember that some things are a royal pain no matter who you are and that’s a good thing, nothing to be ashamed or ticked about (at least no more than anyone else.)
It's okay to be slowed down by PsA
On a recent trek with my friend who has PsA we decided to go to kickboxing and then do one of our mega walks to see a movie. We hadn’t done it in a while and we both forgot that these days it tends to get very dark and very cold in the late afternoon. Our walk back was much slower than our usual pace and we ultimately had to stop just shy of the last mile and get picked up by her husband. She apologized to me for slowing us down and keeping us from finishing the 7-mile round trip, assuming it was her PsA’s fault. Nothing could have been further from the case, we’d already had some mega physical activity, it was getting dark, it was frigid and windy, and we were tired. I was tired. ANYONE WOULD BE TIRED after that much cold fresh air and workout.
Feeling wounded: Physically and emotionally
Another loved one who struggles with physical pain and weakness a few months ago took a tumble on a jagged sidewalk. She completely wiped out and scraped up her knee, face, and hands. Fortunately, her pride was what was hurt the most and in a short time, her cuts healed. However, she was devastated, mortified and instantly self-determined her condition had weakened her to be unable to really stay sturdy on her feet. Fast forward a month and my sister, who is as healthy as can be, and I are walking through Central Park in New York. Sure enough, as we were plotting our next celebrity sighting up came a completely craggy, broken spot on the path. She caught her heel and down she went. Same injuries, same injured pride. We told the story to the first faller, only to convey to her that when there’s a hole in the sidewalk someone’s gonna fall in it.
When PsA pain ruins your mood
Days when you live in chronic pain can really wreak havoc on moods too, leading to being short or easy to anger. Much like the dreaded- don’t ever assume a woman has PMS, I’d recommend not assuming a person is experiencing bad physical pain from PsA. Sometimes people are just in a really foul mood and they don’t want an excuse or to blame their disease. Or guess what, maybe it’s actually because of something you did to make them mad? You can’t get out of trouble that easy!
Supporting one another
The biggest thing I’m trying to convey is that it is our job to help those we care about who live with limitations, that they aren’t a burden, a klutz or lacking in ability. Sure, there are tons of things that PsA does make more challenging when it rears its head, but guess what, we all have moments of feeling unbalanced, tired, crabby and weak so it’s ok. We’re all stumbling through life in our own way and we’re all in it together. So, let’s just pick each other up, do what we can and keep screaming and swearing trying to get to the pickles.
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?