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Thursday, February 5, 2015

How low can you go?

     I can sometimes predict when I am going to have a bad day.  Like when coping with RA - the pain, the fatigue, the brain fog, the sadness are just too much and I dissolve into tears easily.  Or when trying to put on a brave front and keep on smiling just gets to be too much.  Other days it seems less predictable.  Today is one of those days.  
     I have been struggling with several issues with my RA for several months now and for whatever reason today it is all hitting me.  Usually I can smile my way through the day and by doing so it keeps me from falling apart or giving in to the sense of hopelessness that sometimes creeps into my mind when I least expect it.
     I can respond when someone asks me "How are you?" by saying "Fine" even when I am very far from fine.  But people really don't want to know the answer to that question.  Most times we ask it as a greeting and not to check in with someone's health and well being.  So I never say "Well actually I am feeling really lousy today thanks to the ever present pain and other issues surrounding my RA".  Really? They would run as far and fast as they could! So I don't.
     But the fact is I am feeling very weak and beaten at the moment.  I usually get some sort of break from the pain, etc. but this time it has been fairly non stop and it is breaking me down day by day to the point of feeling weak and hopeless. I am venting here because writing down what I feel has been a safe and helpful outlet in the past and I am sure hoping it does the trick again this time!  Time will tell.
     These are the times frankly that I have to almost let myself accept the sadness, hopelessness, etc. so that I can start to find my way again.  I have to remember that it is OK to feel these emotions from time to time.
     I used to think that immersing myself in these emotions would just make it that much worse and, to be honest, I was, and still am fearful that if I fall too deeply into the hole of sadness, etc. I may not be able to get back....that really does haunt me.  
     But the fact is that if you hold all those tears inside you very well may drown.  Even though I know this in my mind, I still find myself trying over and over to not acknowledge it.  I know why....because once you let those emotions in the door, it means you have to move forward or sink deeper.  By holding them at bay as long as I can I somehow convince myself (subconsciously) that it will pass and there is no need to revisit the sense of helplessness and hopelessness that is such a part of the RA picture. 
     So I am going to give myself permission to have a good day or two or three to just let those emotions surface because in the end that fear and helplessness will give way to an opportunity to be brave and fearless once again.
     In time, and it does take time, good thoughts will hopefully fill my mind to replace the discouraging ones that come to visit sometimes.  I want to KEEP GOING for me, my family, my friends, my co-workers, my community, etc.  
     I have to reach out not just when it reaches a crisis but long before that.  I have to trust that my family and close friends will be there to prop me up when I need it.  I tend to not want to burden others with my issues but there is a fine line between relying on others and sharing when you need someone to listen or help out.
     It has always been important for me to remain independent and I think that is the scariest part of a disease like RA.  It can rob you of that freedom and I live in terror of that becoming a reality.  I know full well that the specific RA road that I am on is different than anyone else's so I have to be the one to forge my own path and make that journey in the best way I know how!  But that also means looking to others to help me "map out" that journey and provide me with the necessary "supplies" along the way.  
          If I can run these thoughts though my mind almost like a mantra then that gives me hope that things will get better, that I will see improvement and this flare will subside, the fatigue will fade and postive thoughts return.
     I will carry HOPE in my heart in these coming days because if I can believe that Hold On Pain Ends I just might be OK.