Thursday, 22 July 2010

this one goes out to all the men out there

Now before I begin, many of you may agree or disagree with my theories so I am open to criticism. I wanted to address an issue that has personally affected me since my diagnosis and possibly has affected many of you too. It's not strictly for men, so ladies do keep reading.
I have come to understand throughout my life that men and women react to certain situations in very different ways. In particular change. I have been through my fair share of change from an early age ranging from parental divorce, moving away for university and financial issues. But nothing says change more than being diagnosed with a lifelong condition. Now, in my personal opinion, I believe that men tend to stick with denial. They put on a brave face and attempt to deal with the situation in a macho "I can handle it manner", or they simply crumble and go off the rails a little why they figure out what to do.
This may reflect you as an individual, being the diagnosed, or someone close to the diagnosed such as a partner or friend. In my experience as the diagnosed I have found it incredibly difficult communicating with the opposite sex about my condition. They often dont take it seriously or take it FAR too seriously. For instance, a chap I went on a date with a few months back was the ultimate gentleman. I was wined and dined and we got on great but as soon as I mentioned to him the fact that I had a medical condition which might slightly affect our plans one weekend to trek around a shopping mall for the entire day he disappeared almost in a puff of smoke. Hmmm, was he put off by the fact it may be more difficult to form a relationship with someone who had a disability? Or the fact it may affect his street cred? Because all seemed well until i mentioned that little word "arthritis".
Now I know it is daunting for anyone who trying to get into the dating game, but for us who have a slightly different lifestyle, I have found, its considerably harder. And that is just with a disability thats not really even noticeable. So I wonder how those feel who are permanantly in wheelchairs or missing limbs?!
Are people scared of getting involved with someone who is considered not quite perfect? Or maybe they think they will have to be responsible for you or "care" for you more than others? Well iv'e got news for you lads (and girls if this applies to you) WE ARE PERFECT IN MANY OTHER WAYS. We are normal people who have just had a bit of a tough break in life. We are stronger and more independant because of it too. We deal with pain and challenges every day and you should be bloody proud to call us your other halves!!! (lol). I dont know about you but I find there is nothing more attractive than someone who is strong, confident and can face a challenge.
I have never asked a bloke to take care of me and I never will. In terms of a relationship, and im sure you will agree, all I ask for is a bit of support (and love of course). I know that I am fully capable of taking care of myself and if it comes to a point where I am not, that is my challenge and if you wish to help me succeed then im all for it.
If your partner/someone who you are dating is living with or has been recently diagnosed with RA or some other debilitating condition dont run. If you like someone enough for who they are dont see them for what they cant do, but for what they can do and will do. Comfort but dont smother a sufferer, as a sufferer myself I find sympahthy sometimes makes it worse if you're having a bad day (maybe a cup of tea and some biscuits for your loved one will do better). And for those of you who are living with arthritis, think about how it affects your loved ones too. They may be finding it just as hard as you coping with a change. I know first hand how horrendous it is seeing someone you love go from fit and healthy to bed bound. They need support too. Together is always better so make sure you help each other out through the bad times. I'm all about the love today....

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