The first comes from one of my favorites- RA Guy. I am grateful for this post today because it can give us perspective and strength whether we are mid-flare or just having a rough day emotionally dealing with our illness:
MilestonesTo read the rest of this post (and you should) follow this link
Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, during his more difficult periods of living with rheumatoid arthritis, is often surprised by the comments and messages her receives from people who thank him for the optimistic attitude of living with RA that he shares here on this blog. Sometimes, when my challenges are big, I do not always recognize that sense of positive thinking and optimism within myself…so it is nice to be reminded by others that they are indeed present and visible.
When I am going through a particularly difficult flare, my cone of focus becomes just a tad bit smaller. World news events are forgotten…which is sometimes a good thing because they can be so depressing at times. Being the eternal optimist, I recognize the good that results from my moments of mental fog, of forgetfulness, and of feeling that once again I am walking on the rim of the canyon that hovers above deep depression. What is the good result of the above items that are often considered to be elements that should remain outside of our lives? For me, these periods force me to turn inwards, to get to know myself a little better.
To use this most recent occurrence of pain and disability to move myself one step forward towards a better place, despite the fact that my body seems to be moving towards a worse place – if I continue to implement this as one of my guiding principles, I feel full of hope, ready to deal with any problem that life presents to me or with any disability that my body presents to me.
I have noticed that after dealing with a flare for a couple of weeks – normally around the time when in the past I used to feel like throwing in the towel and losing hope – I now feel the exact opposite. I feel like a wind (I don’t know where it comes from, to be honest) fills my sails and propels me forward to a place that I may not yet understand, but which I know is a positive and healing place for me at this point of my life. Normally, the first burst forward involves my emotions and my mental state of being, and then is followed by a similar burst forward in my physical condition.
This past weekend, I had that first burst – and a little bit of the second burst. Instead of filling my mind with thoughts such as “how long will this last?” or “I hope my excruciating pain does not come back”, I instead decided to use my clear mind to think about what I have just gone though once again, about what I have learned, and how I can take that next step forward which will help me next time I undoubtedly go through another rough period.
I found myself creating a list…a list of aspects of living with rheumatoid arthritis that are usually (at least for me) regarded as some of the most negative aspects of living with RA. Knowing that I have experienced them many times in the past, and that I will experience those many more times in the future, I thought it would be fun to see what positive and optimistic – yet realistic – spin I could place on these “challenges”.
The second post comes from the always inspirational Single Gal's Guide to RA. I am going to lead you to the blog and you can follow the links to her WEBMD TV spots from there. There are four in all. Sara, like a growing number of us, is of the mindset that we LIVE WITH, not suffer from RA. Her webmd spots are insightful and articulate. Sara gives a face and voice to all of us who live with a chronic illness.
The third and final post today comes from our own RA Warrior. Kelly has come up with a primer for those who are looking for answers as to what exactly Rheumatoid Arthritis is. Her RA 101is straightforward, layman friendly and told from an insider's point of view. Like RA Guy's 60 Second Guide, Kelly's RA 101 is a resource for the newly diagnosed as well as for thier friends and family who want to learn more about the disease they are facing.
I am eternally grateful for each of these posts and people. Their humor, their dedication, their perspectives and their attitude all keep me going and bring me up when I am down, they keep me grounded when I feel my world tilting and they work hard to get the facts out there in ways that anyone and everyone can understand. I had a discussion on twitter the other day with RA Warrior about celebs taking up our cause- and she said "we will have to be our own celebrities for now." These three are definitely our RA Rockstars.