Last week my partner and I had an interesting discussion about our personality traits, which I thought I would share with you. He was given this self awareness type questionnaire at work and we thought it would be fun to see how we compare on things like leadership skills, social skills etc. Ultimately it encouraged me to find out things about myself that I wasn’t necessarily aware of. Apparently I make a good leader (which is pretty good considering I run a business) but I lack confidence in my abilities. Of course I instantly related this back to my health. My lack of confidence stems from uncertainty about my illness and whether I can actually complete tasks and challenges.
What I also realised is that I haven’t been a nice person to be around lately. I have been trying to put more effort into work and getting back to a relatively normal life following my hip operation and it has left me exhausted. As a consequence, I am horrible to those closest to me. Snapping at people, short tempered and generally lacking in patience with everyone has been an everyday occurance. When you are trying your best just to get through the day, you don’t have much energy for anything else. I know it doesn’t take much to be nice to people or sociable but when your life seems like a constant effort to do even the smallest things, it’s pretty hard to keep a permanent smile on your face.
I have found it incredibly hard to control my constant feeling of being tired and fed up. I don’t know how others do it but the thought of making conversation about pretty much anything last week was daunting. Frankly, I just wanted to be alone. Lock myself away in my mood and only come out when I was ready to be a normal person again. Stress can make anyone feel short with people. You can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle everyday with RA and this is more stress than we deserve let alone worrying about day to day things like paying the bills, cleaning the house and washing your stupid clothes. Yep that’s right. Last week, and a couple of weeks prior to that, EVERYTHING was stupid and pointless. What’s the point of smiling if everything is stupid? If everything hurts and is more effort than you can manage then just what is the point?
I was awoken from my mood to pleas from my loved ones that I stop being a pain in the ass and snap out of it. Although you may feel like crap, it’s not fair to constantly take it out on those around you and I know this. It just takes a little support and reminders from your loved ones that everything is going to be OK. As soon as I was called on my nasty mood and reminded that sometimes things are hard but I always get through it, I returned to my normal self (well i hope so anyway). I do feel like a big weight has been lifted when you are reminded that there is a reason for getting through every day. There is a reason you are constantly fighting this disease... if not for yourself then for those you love and love you back. If we can’t stay strong for them then we can’t expect them to hang around whilst our mood spirals out of control. I have to fight the urge to give up and let RA consume me every single day but I continue to fight. I continue to fight because I want a future and I want to be happy. I don’t want to be a bitter person who constantly reminds people about the bad hand I was dealt and how unfair everything is. We all know life is unfair anyway so why bleat on about it? Its not going to make a difference.
So, I guess what I am saying is, if you feel like your mood is on a downward spiral and you feel like giving up and screaming at everyone about how unfair it is remember your partner, children, parents or friends and how unfair it is for them to have to watch you suffer and not be able to do a thing about it. Take a deep breath and remember all the things and people you love in life and why you continue to get up every day and fight RA. You are not just fighting for yourself, you are fighting for them. You never win a battle without the support of others so if you rely on them to help you, it can’t hurt to smile along the way (even if it is through gritted teeth every once in a while).