I always find it hard to figure out who should know about my rheumatoid arthritis. I think the biggest problem is that it is hard to determine who needs to know when you operate disclosure on a need to know basis.
My current employer does not know about my condition. Sometimes I wonder if I should let them know. I do have to lift some heavy items sometimes which, when I’m flaring up, can be really difficult. I also don’t want to act like I can’t do my job though.
At my last job, I tried not to tell them either. It became apparent though as I was setting up layouts and straightening throughout the store that they needed to know. I was in pain and needed to take a break more often or do less strenuous work. Nothing really got better for me though, because I did not have insurance until recently, and they demanded a doctor’s note. There were a few choice individuals that would allow me to modify what I was doing and who were very understanding about the problems I was dealing with.
Disclosure becomes more of a problem when it comes to personal relationships.
I have dated people and not shared the fact that I have rheumatoid arthritis with them. My current boyfriend is the only one who I’ve told very early on in the relationship. I’m very lucky that he is very understanding and interested in learning more about what goes on with my body. In fact, it was his idea to begin writing this blog as a way to raise awareness about my RA and explain what difficulties I face.
The blog also serves another purpose. I do not like to feel as though I am being an inconvenience to anyone, especially those I care deeply about. As such, I’m not very likely to tell my family or boyfriend about pain I am having over an extended period of time. The blog serves as a way to update them without having to actually tell them about it. I’m sure that seems weird, but it helps me to cope with the problems.
As far as other relationships go, I tend not to tell others about my condition. My roommate knows, for obvious reasons. Some of my professors know, again because it became necessary to inform them. However, other friends don’t really know. If they do, it’s because I post some information on my Facebook and Twitter pages.
In the future, I hope to be a little more revealing to people I know about my arthritis. I do worry though that I could become one of those people who constantly annoys everyone with stories about their problems.