Woman looking up at bright lightbulbs with a dark gradient of gray behind her

My Psoriatic Arthritis Journey: 3 Key Insights I Wish I Knew at Diagnosis

"While we can't change the past, our hindsight can illuminate the present. What we see now, with the wisdom of experience, has the power to guide and inspire others today." - Unknown.

As a chronic illness blogger, people often ask me for advice on navigating life with psoriatic arthritis. Over the years, I've shared many tips to improve life with PsA. But there is so much more than learning about pain relief options or products that help patients maintain independence. With that said, the following three key insights would have truly transformed my early days with this condition.

Insight #1

When I first received my PsA diagnosis, it felt like I was in a medical maze. Just months before, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and a few months after, an exploratory surgery uncovered endometriosis. So many symptoms and pains left me bewildered. Understanding that PsA doesn't just target joints but also affects tendons and organs would have cleared up a lot of confusion.

The fatigue that comes with psoriatic arthritis added to the puzzle. I didn't realize that this fatigue was part of the package, and not knowing left me feeling like I was doing something wrong. Knowing that PsA extends beyond joints helps put the pieces together and clarifies the whole picture.

Insight #2

In the year following my diagnosis, I carried a heavy burden of guilt for every PsA flare. In their attempt to understand, friends and family would question me about what caused each flare. It became exhausting to explain, and I stopped sharing my pain. Conversations would turn into interrogations about what I did wrong or what I could have done differently.

It took a conversation with my rheumatologist to realize that the flares weren't my fault. PsA has a mind of its own; it flares up when it wants and is unpredictable. Accepting that flares are beyond my control and not caused by my actions lifted a weight off my shoulders.

Insight #3

In the first decade after my PsA diagnosis, I struggled between pushing my body to its limits and crashing from intense flares. I was reluctant to accept that my life needed adjustments. The concept of slowing down and modifying activities felt foreign and, frankly, something only sick or injured people did temporarily.

The emotional struggle of wanting to live life like I did before clashed with the reality of chronic illness. Looking back, I realize that accepting the need to slow down and make permanent lifestyle changes would have made that first decade more manageable. It's not selfish to prioritize health over the desire to live like I did before PsA; it's a necessary aspect of managing this autoimmune arthritis.

Acceptance and knowledge of psoriatic arthritis's true impact would have made that first decade easier. Now that I understand, accept, and make necessary adjustments, my life with PsA is more manageable, both physically and emotionally.

What about you? What pearls of wisdom do you have to share with the newly diagnosed that could improve the beginning of their lives with psoriatic arthritis?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

When it comes to living with multiple health conditions, I've found my: