What I Needed To Let Go in My Psoriatic Arthritis Management
Last updated: August 2023
C'mon friends. Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) consumes so much. Due to its unpredictability, we're always worried when it may rear its ugly head. We're also always thinking about treatment, doctor's appointments and if others will understand. See? All-consuming.
More often than not, we're fearing the flare that we forget to live.
How can I make life with PsA easier?
I'm so tired of this condition taking up my every waking thought. I forced myself to ask and answer the question: How can I make life with PsA easier? It was an answer that only I alone could provide.
I should have been asking this question from the beginning. Instead, with each new year, I vowed to take this wretched disease down. Instead of improving the quality of my life, my quest to live without psoriatic arthritis made it more difficult.
We're all a work in progress. Growth is not stagnant.
Wanting to beat an incurable autoimmune disease made friends and family believe that I was in it to win it. Many would even encourage me, not realizing that they were really working against me by encouraging chronic illness sabotaging behavior.
Friends and family cheered me on, telling me to show psoriatic arthritis who was in charge. Doctors fed me false hope of managing symptoms to the point of functioning like I wasn’t ill. Is it any wonder why I believed I could overcome it? So, what I have learned (and am actively learning) to let go?
Believing I was in control
Believing that the only change needed was the addition of medications to combat symptoms was dangerous. Much needed changing, the first being the mindset that I could heal from or control an incurable, chronic illness. I know now that I am not in control of PsA.
That doesn’t mean that it totally controls my life. What it does mean is that I have learned to work with it. And by doing so, my life has become more manageable and less stressful.
Ignoring PsA demands
Ignoring my body’s cries to modify activities, decrease actions, and rest when needed was the worst thing I could have done. If I have learned anything, it is that by giving my body what it asks for, it will reward me.
Not with the ability to do what I did before psoriatic arthritis, but in other ways like not having my brain and body consumed with extreme pain while enjoying the company of loved ones. Or the ability to go out more if I used mobility aids or asked for assistance.
Not accepting flares
I accepted that PsA flares were always going to be a part of my life quite some time ago. But, accepting that they aren’t always preventable is relatively new. There was a time when I blamed myself for every flare. I must have done this or that wrong, ate the wrong food, didn’t do this right, and so on.
While there are some things I can do to limit or reduce flares, I cannot control them. It forced me to accept that my body is filled with chronic disease and injuries that I not only did not cause but that I cannot control.
We owe it to ourselves to find different ways to let go.
Letting go of these sabotaging ways has freed me to enjoy my life, even while flaring. And the best part is that the more I accept my life with psoriatic arthritis, so do my family and friends. We owe it to ourselves and to our lives to feel every feeling in our PsA journey.
Letting go control, finding new ways to listen to our body, and stop beating ourselves up will improve our quality of life and how much brain space we allow the impact of PsA to truly have.
This or That
Do you know what type(s) of psoriatic arthritis you have?
Do you have any questions about PsA?