Firstly, I hope you have all had a great start to the New Year. I have not been so fortunate. It seems my body decided I had to choose between having either a good Christmas or New Year and wouldn’t allow me both. I have come down with terrible flu (not a simple cold) over new year but still enjoyed myself and made a swift trip to Wales (although shorter than planned). My body did make the right choice as I still got to have the great Christmas with my loved ones I really wanted.
Secondly, some of you may have seen the recent article in the Daily Mail about me and after some frankly ridiculous comments were made online in response to the article I feel it’s only right I respond and fight my corner. Once again, I did the article for one purpose only, to make people aware that arthritis is present among young people and it can be triggered by something as simple as having a viral illness. Several people have made comments about what was written and suggested that contracting RA because of a cold is ridiculous... not true. Obviously the journalist picked up on and emphasised the fact my arthritis started after having what at first seemed like a bad cold and, as we as a society like to read about the extreme, this point formed the headline.
I was generally happy with the story, although not entirely factually correct as it stated I was 23 when diagnosed (I was 22) however, it did portray what was a very, very difficult period in my relationship in a different light to what I experienced. I only say this as I know that many of you have or will go through difficulties in your relationship because of your disease. Both my boyfriend and I went through a horrendous time and our relationship broke down as a result. The article only highlights the good parts of our journey, that now we have resolved our issues and moved forward but it wasn’t entirely correct to suggest that we were together and happy through it all. My family and friends were the people that supported me through my darkest days. I now have the support from the person I love but this has only come through soul searching on both our parts about what is really important.
Also, some idiot made a comment about how I could possibly be a ‘high flying executive’ at such a young age.... where do I start with this? Well, firstly, does it actually matter? Has he not read the story and had anything else to comment on? The main points were there idiot man. Who reads a story about a young person suffering and thinks the most important response to make is on how something so pathetic is worded? READ the story idiot man. The point the journalist was making, and those who know I well will agree, is that I was a success story at such a young age. A graduate fresh out of uni, working hard to achieve my dream job, which I was very good at, and on track to get a promotion. Some others have suggested that I would be branded a benefit scrounger... is that just another way of saying that YOU think I am a benefit scrounger? I am fed up of defending myself on this point. I have been SERIOUSLY ill for a very long time and only now recovering from various problems my disease has caused. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight and until I am ready and fully capable of committing myself to an employer I will continue to be on benefits. I have paid my taxes and I genuinely am ill so why should I be made to feel guilty? Do you think I want to be in this position? I desperately want a normal life, to be able to work and earn my own money, buy the things I like and not have to worry that I may never afford my own home etc.
So this has been a bit of a rant and I apologise but I feel the need to fight back on a few things. The last point I will make is that I have noticed a lot of competition in things people have said over who is worse off than whom. It’s not a competition to decide who is the most ill, we all have our own thresholds of pain and suffering and should just support each other, not complain that ‘whatever you have I have it worse’.
I hope those of you who have been offended by comments made about my story, or comments perhaps made towards you, will find some peace in this blog. Feel free to vent yourselves. Happy New Year... here’s to getting your facts right in 2011.