The doctors, the bottles of medicine, the constant pain, the anxiety, the appointments-sometimes it all closes in on me, burying me under its heavy burden. Sometimes it feels like the load is just too much to carry. If I could just manage to set it all down, just for a bit, maybe then I could catch my breath and gather my strength to carry on.
The burden gets heavier
It seems every time I turn around there is a new burden to pick up and add to my load. Try this medicine. Get this test done. Add another doctor. Ice a new swollen joint. Get my eyes checked again. Now add another diagnosis to my growing list of autoimmune conditions. Some days it feels like it will never end. I just need a break, a reprieve from the burden that is living with this disease.
We all have our limits
There are days when I have hit my limit. When one more thing is just one more too much. The burdens of this disease become more than I can smile through, more than I can laugh off, more than I lie my way through with yet another, I’m alright.
Running the race
It feels as if I’m under water and can’t catch my breath. I can’t make it back to the surface and the weight of living with psoriatic arthritis is keeping me under and pulling me out with the tide. It’s more than the pain, more than the fatigue. It is living every single day with no break, no place to set this burden down. No way to find rest. No one to pass the baton to in this endless race. Only me. Alone. Continuing up the mountain, running the race, searching for the shore. Fighting for a break.
The race will never end
There are days when this is the best I have to offer. Sympathy. Understanding. When I feel like the race will never end, there is no finish line in sight. The weight of the pain, the appointments, the uncertain future, all make finding the light feel impossible. When I feel as if there isn’t one more thing I can carry or it will break me.
Then, I see someone next to me. I look to my left, I look to my right, it is suddenly just us, her and I. I think, “No, I don’t have the energy to help her. I have nothing left to give. I can’t help her in her journey, mine is all I can focus on.”
But she looks tired. She looks scared. Her breathing is faint and she can’t take another step on her own. She is all alone. I am the only one around.
No. I can’t. I can’t even carry my own load, how will I ever manage to carry hers too especially when there is no end in sight?
But she looks miserable. Silent tears are streaming down her face. I look around frantically, surely she isn’t alone. Surely there is someone around to help her, to help us. No. Not another soul. We are alone in this race, her and I. Seeking the finish line that is nowhere in sight. I have no other choice.
I can’t take another step….
I use every last bit of energy to hold out my hand. Our swollen fingers meet and we are no longer alone. I shoulder her grief and mine feels lighter. I pick up her pain and become steadier with every step because together we are stronger than we ever could be alone. Together, we continue the race and look forward to a brighter tomorrow. We may not know it, but one day there will be an end in sight.
We are stronger as a community. We are stronger when we are together. Even though our individual burdens are heavy, when we are part of the psoriatic arthritis community, we are never alone.