Home > Psoriatic Arthritis > Do you tell people you have arthritis?

Do you tell people you have arthritis?

Do you tell people you have arthritis? No!  That’s the trouble with arthritis, young people think you are having them on (“what at your age? don’t be daft…”). Old people think you are exaggerating (“arthritis? wait until your my age then you’ll know what arthritis is…”) Or the one that irritates me most, “arthritis? oh, I had that, I took some fish oil, cleared it right up.”   AAARRGGH.

My parents, husband and brother know I have psoriatic arthritis, so do my five close friends that I’ve known since school.  Apart from that, the rest of my family and friends don’t know. The people in my home town don’t know and neither do my friends/Friends at my local Quaker meeting. Not yet anyway.  I may tell them at some point, but it’s not really something I want to post on Facebook (I know, I know I’m writing a blog on the internet, open for all to see…).

I can just imagine the status updates…What’s on your mind?

AmyM has a permanent crippling type of arthritis that can’t be cured (the pessimistic post)

or perhaps

AmyM has arthritis hopefully she’ll be right as rain when the pills kick in (the optimistic post)

Either way, probably not the best way to go about telling people. I think the reality is somewhere in between, I doubt any medication will be a magic “cure” but there are new drugs coming on the market all the time so the situation certainly isn’t hopeless. I don’t expect drugs will be the only option I’m going to have to make some “lifestyle changes” (that usually means giving up stuff you like) and I’m sure everyone will tell me how useful physio/Pilate’s/exercise/swimming etc is. I just need to find a combination of things that I enjoy and I will stick to. Easy in theory but so much harder in practice.

I have never, ever told my employers I have difficulty standing and walking. I used to work in a very competitive environment, any sign of “weakness” was taken as an indication that you “weren’t up to the job” or you “couldn’t cut it”. As of yet I don’t feel disabled. It’s certainly not a label I would use to describe myself so there is no way I’d tick the “do you have a disability or long term health condition box…” on an application form. Maybe my views on that will change in a few years time.

I think the reason I have a hard time telling people is that I don’t want any sympathy or special treatment. I’ve been able to hide the fact I can’t stand for long or walk very far from most people, most of the time.  The only real exceptions to that are the people I’ve lived with. Some days, after a long day at work the most I could do when I got home was make it from the front door to the sofa. Eating was an optional extra (even standing for long enough to make a sandwich was not an option). Under those circumstances even the most unobservant flatmate starts to twig that something isn’t quite right. Maybe it will be easier now I have a diagnosis? I think saying “my feet hurt because I have arthritis” will generate more sympathy than simply saying “my feet hurt”. It’s daft, because the pain is the same but people just like to have labels, I guess it helps them make sense of the world.

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Categories: Psoriatic Arthritis
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  1. July 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm

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