Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Top 5 Flare Signs: How My Family Knows

I know when a flare is coming on. I’ve learned to identify the signs sure as I know my birthday or eye color. My hearing goes all wonky. My arms become so heavy that Sampson himself couldn’t lift them, and things that normally drive me nuts, like toys scattered everywhere, don’t seem so important anymore. But I will tell you this with every certainty in the world- I absolutely hate to utter the words, “I’m having a flare.” Admitting the words out loud for some reason is tantamount to admitting some sort of defeat.

“I’m having a flare.”

I’m not sure why simply saying the words should make any difference at all, but to me, it does. So then, how else can my family, those lovely people that live with me, identify sure signs that they have entered Flare-Land? Here are my top 5 signs that tell everyone else that things won’t be pretty for a while.

  1. Develop cloistered, vampire-like habits-This one is interesting as I tend to love the sun shining on my face. I love feeling the warmth touch my skin and the breeze in my hair. Well, once Flare-Land hits, the curtains are drawn, the lights are out, and don’t you dare touch my hair. Don’t speak to me about the beautiful day ahead or the lovely sunshine. Better yet, don’t talk to me at all, I might just bite you.
  2. Regular scheduled hygiene takes a hiatus- This is not fun or pleasant for anyone really, but it is a simple fact. The pain and energy it takes to simply show puts that totally off the radar. Yes, I may take a bath, but that is totally epsom salt and designed to ease the aches and pains, not cleanse any germs or funky odors. My face goes without moisturizer or my beloved wrinkle cream. Nails remain chipped and hair appointments get canceled. When that happens, you know it is serious business.
  3. Netflix runs on a continuous loop- Yes, Netflix, I am STILL watching! Now stop asking me! All of the shows on my Watchlist are caught up and every season has been ticked off. I’m messaging friends asking for suggestions. Scrolling through the “You might also like” list like a boss. Sure, reading a book or magazine is also useful distractions from the pain, but Netflix always ends up winning.
  4. The credit card takes a mighty hit- What better to do when you are feeling terrible than to go shopping online for things that make you feel better? A bit of retail therapy if you will. When Flare-Land hits hard, I head to the online sales racks with a vengeance.
  5. June Cleaver becomes the Bride of Satan– This one is courtesy of my sweet hubby. I haven’t really noticed, but to him, it is one of those First Warning Signs. In “normal Mom mode”, I tend to be pretty patient and sweet with my darling trio of kiddos, but when I enter Flare-Land patience goes out the window. I am quicker to snap at them and in a tone that I’m not proud of. It isn’t pretty. In fact, it is one of the things that bothers me the most, even more so than the actual pain and fatigue that comes with a flare. Snippy, snarky, and even snide could all be used to describe the Bride of Satan that takes over as the mayor of Flare-Land.

It’s helpful to know my flare signs

Sure, living in Flare-Land is difficult for me, but I also believe that it can be even more difficult for those that I love. Not only do they have to see me in pain, but they have to put up with the seemingly “other person” that I become.  I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be for them to see me that way. At least we are getting into a routine and they are learning the top 5 flare signs and know what to expect.

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.


  • Catherinecat60
    2 days ago

    I can relate to all the flare-up signs for sure

  • imschmarte
    1 year ago

    Leanne!! You are so funny, you could be a comedian!! I absolutely LOVE your articles, it is so wonderful to read someone kicking autoimmune’s butt!! LOL Attack of the autoimmunes starring Leanne Donaldson as June Cleaver/Satan!! Love it!! These diseases really do suck, and they say laughter is the best medicine, My husband actually asked me, ‘what is so funny’? He didn’t get the humor like I do, but that is ok, YOU are the star, and I ‘get’ you! Thanks so much for all your articles, and laughs! God bless!!

  • Leanne Donaldson author
    1 year ago

    LOL @imschmarte 🙂 You totally made my day! It’s okay, my husband doesn’t get my humor either. Thank you so much for your sweet comments. We sure are lucky to have such a strong supportive community to rely on, aren’t we? Sending big (gentle) hugs to you! God bless you too! -Leanne

  • Quillingmama
    1 year ago

    PdA is my second round of chronic pain issue and this started somewhere around a year ago and I have known what it is for about 2 months. I often tell people that ask that I am basically a medical misfit! I survived an acute form of childhood leukemia and thought I got to live a normal life once I made it past 17. Got married when I was 21 to a wonderful man. When it comes to love I won the huge jackpot lottery! Around our 1st Anniversary the left side of my jaw started dislocating. I have TMJ disfunction in a state that pretty much considers it to be a fake issue. I’ve had 3 jaw joint replacements and several reconstitutions 1st. The reconstruction before the 1st replacement was the point where I was told I was going to have to stay on prescribed pain meds because there was just to much damage. Our daughter was only 5. I worried so so much about how this was going to effect her!!! I honestly worried that she would think when I had a really bad day and has not able to function the way a Mom should she would think Mommy is mean or Mommy is lazy. Today is her 23rd Birthday! She grew into an amazing woman and I am super proud of her. Leasons she learned! Never take anything for granite. Do everything you can and enjoy it as much as possible because nobody is guaranteed what tomorrow brings. She pretty much grew up right at my elbow and to be honest I was super worried when she went off to college! She had only ever stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s once and it did not go well. I thought we would maybe make the 2 hour drive home and she would be so home sick she would want to come home but she thrived. Some of the poetry she has written sounds like a much older person wrote it because she learned well that every moment is special even the ones where we are miserable can still allow us to see and hear amazing things as long as we don’t ignore the world around us! Leanna I am sure you probably worry about many of the same things I did about raising your children while struggling with this but they will learn lessons that you might not have thought to teach them If you were spending all of your time rushing in the hussel and bussel that seems to keep people going at an insane pase in our modern times!

  • Jax53
    1 year ago

    Hi, Leanne, I have thousands of little pins sticking into my hands and feet, and I think oh no here we go,I know a flare is coming within hours, there bam all those blisters erupt over both hands and feet, pain starts to kick in, and I am feeling sicker than a bad headache, Nobody knows the hell we go through, DWP said it’s a rash, I think come here cretin and try some of it, bad experiences have made me a monster, I don’t even know why I have this, I am the only one in my family. and feel like a leper.

  • lsprovard
    2 years ago

    This is so on target. This could have been wrote by me ♥️

  • Poll