Monday, September 25, 2017

My Mental Health Goes to Shit Sometimes #RABlogWeek2017

wooden background tinted darkly with white text: #RABlogWeek2017 - My Mental Health Goes to Shit Sometimes - Not Standing Still's Disease

It's RA Blog Week! Today's prompt is: Mental Health – How do you manage to maintain your mental health while dealing with autoimmune disease? Discuss how dealing with RA every day makes you emotional. Do you hide your emotions?

I've talked a lot about how my mental health is impacted by being chronically ill. It's a process that we all go through as patients.

It's one of the most difficult struggles we face.

My biggest struggle with mental health is completely linked with my physical health. I wind up pushing through and not asking for help I need. Obviously, part of that is being an abuse survivor, but a lot of it is because I'm incredibly independent (read: stubborn). I've always wanted to take care of things on my own because that was my childhood. When I cannot do things on my own, I usually just struggle through as best as I can or forgo whatever activity. 

I get angry and shut down emotionally instead of communicating my frustrations. I know that sometimes, it's because sharing how angry I am with my body will lead to crying - something I absolutely hate to do... mostly because of how I was raised.

Crying was showing weakness. It meant I wasn't being strong or resilient or persevering. I know now that this is bullshit, but it's a hard thing to change.

selfie of me with short hair; in the background are posters of the skeletal system and muscular system; I look tired/annoyed/run down and am wearing a hospital gown, though you only see a snippet of it on my right shoulder; there is a filter on this photo that makes it look distressed and discolored

The unpredictability of living with chronic illnesses is detrimental to my mental health as well. I can't plan effectively when I don't know how my body will react.

I was just in New York for a trip. I had tons of fun and spent time with some of my favorite rheummates. Even though I've started to buffer my trips to give myself time to recover, that doesn't always do the trick. Sometimes I only need a day and other times I need a week - and there's no real way to predict that, even when I get home.

It's hard to know if I will be up for appointments like physical therapy, let alone to clean the guinea pigs' house.

That's really hard, especially being a planner.

It's taken me nearly thirty years, but I'm starting to learn how to communicate my pain more effectively and ask for help. I'm sure it'll be a continuous process until the day I die. Hell, what person is good at this without illness?

Make sure to join me in opposing the Cassidy-Graham plan this week. Click here to learn more.





3 comments:

  1. LOL Yeah me ax well Kristin, My mental health health goes to shit sometimes as well.

    Thank you for signing up and writing for RABlog week 2017. I hope you have fun this week.

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  2. I completely understand that stubborn streak. In fact, I share about mine later in the week with tips and tricks. 😃

    Asking for help has been one of the hardest things for me but also the most rewarding. What I finally discovered is that friends and family want to take away my pain but they can't. When I refuse to ask for help or let them help when they offer, I'm denying them of the one way they can help me.

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  3. I agree with you it gets tricky to plan your schedule with an unpredictable chronic disease. RA has certainly changed my life! XXOO

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