When I was a child, the number one way my parents could get me to do something was simply to tell me that I couldn’t do it. If restrictions are dangled in front of me, the first thing that crosses my mind is to prove that I CAN. It always has been, and I think always will be, just one of those lovely personality characteristics that you just can’t shake. However, it has cost many, many painful days to learn my limits, even more than that to learn to stick with them, and learn to listen to my body or I’d pay the price. I tend to be a bit hard-headed and I’ve finally decided that the price to pay is too steep for those times that I fail to recognize the limitations that come from living with psoriatic arthritis.
Learning my limits
As a child, I never liked being told I couldn’t do something, and I am pretty much the same now. Instead of seeing it as a limitation, I’ve always viewed the phrase, “You can’t do that,” as a personal challenge. There are many days when my body says, “You can’t do that.”
“Watch me.” My mind fires back. I look at it as the psoriatic arthritis equivalent of, “Hold my beer.” It is a very dangerous internal dialogue that can only end badly.
Most days, I have learned that I can do one activity, but not two. I can manage one outing a day with all three of my children, but I can never seem to manage two. This has led to some difficult choices when making plans. Learning to recognize exactly what my limitations are has helped me to plan my days much better. Recognizing my limitations also helps me to know how to read my body and say, “No, I can’t do that,” with confidence.
Sticking with my limitations
Follow through hasn’t always been my strong suit either. It takes the same lesson presented to me, several times over, for it to really stick. My mind says, “Eh, this time, things will be different.” My body responds, “Nope.” Then I find myself, stuck in bed, in pain, again. All because I didn’t learn my limitations the first time. I didn’t stick with what my body knew to be true. My mind clearly thought it knew better. I’ve learned, through a great deal of painful encounters, that when in doubt I should always let my body rule over my mind.
In addition, I hate disappointing people. I find it very difficult to stick with my limitations when I have someone I love asking me to do something. If I end up “on the fence” so to speak, about whether or not I should do something I am fairly easily swayed to go. This is fine for most people, but not for me. More times than I like to remember, I’ve regretting not sticking to my limitations living with psoriatic arthritis.
Living with the reality of the situation
Sure, I would love to look pain in the face and say, “No, I will not let you limit what I do. I will not let you have control over me.” But the reality is if I overdo it or if I don’t listen to my body, I will always pay the price and boy is it steep price to pay.