A woman holds up her hand to a speech bubble with a question mark on it in front of her and looks behind her at many speech bubbles with question marks in them

I Don't Talk About Having Psoriatic Arthritis

Ironically, for someone who shares my medical experiences online, I am a very private person in real life. There are some details about myself I'm quick to share, like being a crochet enthusiast! But there are several things I keep private, one of them being that I have psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Sharing limited details with loved ones

While most of my family and friends are aware I have some kind of arthritis, many don't know the intimate details of my life with PsA. I believe at this point, I do have some friends and other loved ones who are unaware of my condition. (Though many people have pointed out my limp or when I seem very tired. Those are hard things to hide.)

But don't mistake my privateness with feelings of shame and needing to hide! Through my years of living with PsA, I've confidently decided to keep my PsA a more private matter, and I feel very positive about my decision for many different reasons.

I want support, but not this kind

Everybody needs support in their arthritis journey. Sometimes, loved ones are supportive and helpful. Having a loved one who can be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on is priceless.

But there are times when friends and family respond in less-than-ideal ways. Everyone with arthritis has gotten the dread earful of unhelpful advice, from trying mountain-top yoga to eating only white vegetables.

Dismissing my PsA

What's worse is when a loved one is dismissive or judgmental. Sometimes, it's better to keep my struggles to myself than open myself up to unsupportive reactions.

Of course, you'll only know who is supportive if you open up. I've had to test the water, and doing so quickly shows me who I can and can't trust. It's always good to attempt to be open, particularly in the case of a romantic relationship.

My health is private

Stemming from the above point, I might feel uncomfortable sharing certain details. Sometimes, I don't feel comfortable with how others have reacted to my news in the past, and I don't have the emotional capacity to deal with it.

Medical details are also a private topic. Nobody is entitled to know private medical information without your consent, and being a relative isn't an exception.

There's more to me than PsA

And, of course, sometimes I just don't want to talk about my health! Yes, PsA is a big part of my life. It affects so many aspects of my life. I'm constantly thinking about my health, from remembering doctor's appointments to planning ahead and trying to manage flares.

So when I'm having a nice chat with someone, I don't want to talk about my health. Instead, I want to enjoy my time and try to escape reality, even if it's just for a little bit. Not to mention, there are so many other things to talk about!

I choose who, when, and how much

For the sake of my mental health, I don't talk about my condition to everyone. When I open up, I pick and choose what details I share and with whom.

But I am so grateful for the loved ones I feel comfortable sharing with. Though, my PsA is undoubtedly not the only topic of conversation.

I always make sure that my loved one has the emotional capacity when I need to vent, and I always reciprocate the support they give me.

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