What I Hide with Psoriatic Arthritis

You may have seen that commercial with the lady that holds up the fake smiling face for pictures while her real face appears sad and distraught. She looks so alone in her pain. Clearly, she doesn’t want others to know that she struggles. So she holds up her fake smiling face for others to see, hiding what is really going on behind a smiling mask.

We all have parts that we hide

We all have parts of ourselves that we hide from others. Those parts that are especially painful or ones that maybe we aren’t very proud of. And that’s okay. It’s okay to reserve parts of ourselves for only the most private of moments and emotions. But what’s more important is what impact this has on us. Keeping everything inside leads to feelings of loneliness and depression.

What I hide

Why do we feel the need to hide our most literal and metaphorical pain? What makes experiencing pain feel like it is so private that we need to hide it from others? Everyone with psoriatic arthritis experiences it, on so many levels yet we dance around the topic and often speak in generic terms. We hide it from others out of fear that they won’t understand. Or worry that we will be judged as weak, dependent, or worse, a fraud.

Support and understanding

We go through life day-to-day without the support and understanding that is so crucial to our mental and emotional health. We don’t share our experiences and consequently we feel alone and separate from the very people we need the strength and encouragement from. Everyone has a story to tell, even if it is painful, so why don’t we share it?

What I hide

Sometimes we don’t share because it feels as if there is no way anyone can possibly understand. Or worse, we don’t want people to understand because that would mean they experience it too. We hide our pain, fears, and frustrations. We don’t celebrate the small daily wins like opening a jar or taking a walk. Why? All anyone wants, whether they have PsA or not, is to feel like someone “gets” them. No one wants to feel like they are all alone on an island, left to fend for themselves.

Take the time to connect

We are at a point in our history where we have instant access to almost any type of person, anywhere in the world. We are able to connect with others like us and share our experiences like never before. We can build a community of support and understanding made up of those who actually “get” what it is like to live with the daily challenges and successes of psoriatic arthritis. Yet, we don’t. We lurk somewhere in the background, reluctant to reveal pieces of our world to anyone else. But, what if?

What if someone needs to hear your story today?

What if someone is there, waiting to just listen?

What if there is someone out there who has been where you are?

Sure, we may not have all of the answers. I can’t fix your pain. I can’t make it easier to drag your aching joints out of bed in the morning. While I’d love to be your cheerleader, you and I both know that will only get you so far. But I can understand. I can listen. I can be here for you to share those parts that you hide from everyone else. Why? Because I hide them too.

Take some time today and reach out. Share your story with someone. Listen to theirs. You won’t regret it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (2)
  • bbthodges
    6 months ago

    Such a great article Leanne and I couldn’t agree more. This is such a difficult time for all of us with PsA because people don’t really know what it is and what we are experiencing. Sometimes when I tell someone that I have PsA they are like “oh yes I have arthritis too. My knees hurt all the time.” They have no idea what PsA means because the name has “arthritis” in it.

    I often hide things about my pain and the other things that we experience every day. Right now I am waiting for approval to start taking Orencia. I have had no medicine for nearly 2 months since I stopped taking Xeljanz and now trying to start Orencia. Two days ago I had a terrible flare and could barely walk. I didn’t have anyone to talk to so I just stayed in bed and watched TV.

    Maybe if we all pray hard enough there will some day for a drug that can help us all from enduring this pain and from having to hide things like you talked. God bless you.

  • imschmarte
    6 months ago

    Hi Leanne! This post hit home with me! I too try to hide my pain from people, even those closest to me, like my husband. Every now and then, either at home, or at the rheumatologist, I break down and cry, sob, pull out my hair, LOL. And then I feel bad, and get embarrased, like, letting the pain get to me makes me a wimp. When the opposite is true, living with all these damn diseases actually makes all of us super heroes! Bounding out of bed with a pain scale of 8! Leaping over the dog, with my knees and back screaming! Whipping up dinner when the pain brings me to my knees! And of course, I go for comedic relief rather than sound like I am complaining. Every person with any of these diseases, who makes it through every day, deserves a medal. And if I could, I would tell them all that. Not that it would heal them, but maybe, just maybe, make them feel a little bit better. As I feel a bit better just writing this. Hugs to you Leanne! Hope you can feel a little bit better too!!

  • Poll