Recently, someone wrote to me, responding to my earlier blog posts to suggest that my attitude towards life and my condition is not a positive one. Whilst I completely appreciate and welcome any comments about my blog, especially from those who are going through the same things, I wanted to put it straight that I am, in fact, a very positive person in my opinion, given my situation.
Yes, I may make sarcastic comments and moan about a few aspects of living life with RA, but on the whole I believe I cope with day to day life pretty well and my outlook on the future is one of hope. I suppose what I am trying to say is I apologise if reading this you have been under the impression that life with RA is awful. I am afraid it’s not, well not entirely anyway. Yes, there are lots of negative aspects of living with chronic disease, but on the whole I wouldn’t change a single thing about my life. I am the strong, ambitious and optimistic person I am today because of what I have been through. I know that without experiencing these not so nice things I would be in a very different place in my life right now, a place where I didn’t and don’t want to be. I am proud of who I am today and what I have been through has only encouraged me to try harder and hope for the best.
My ‘negative’ comments are simply shedding light on some of the not so nice things we sufferers go through to make it easier for non sufferers to understand the challenges we face. The truth is, I am pretty happy with my life, the things I suffer with only get easier as time goes on and you know what to expect. My reader who wrote and suggested that I be a bit more positive for the sake of younger readers who may fear the future is probably right. I agree it’s good to set a positive example to young people who may read this and worry about what to expect but isn’t it also important to tell the truth? Because, if nothing else, I am completely honest about my experiences and I don’t sugar coat anything because it’s my life. It’s what I am going through. It doesn’t mean to say you will face the same things; you may have a total different experience to mine. But on the whole we sufferers know that unfortunately, RA is not a nice thing. It’s hard and it’s frustrating, but the point I try to make is that life does go on. It may change course slightly, but life does go on and things do get better. Much better in fact, as you learn to cope with your condition and the limitations it presents. Of course, you might not see it as limitations, simply obstacles that may mean you have to do things differently than others or how you did them before.
I apologise to my readers if I have given you the impression that doom and gloom is all RA adds up to. I never intended to project this through my writing and I hope the majority of you see that. I am simply a person, retelling my story, in the only way I know how... honestly, openly and with a few sarcastic and light hearted sentences thrown in. That’s how I generally live my life anyway so I wouldn’t want to be fake and pretend to my readers that everything is glorious all the time. It’s not, and let’s face it life is not like that for anyone (apart from some very lucky buggers). I don’t want to preach and start banging on about life affirming or anything so I simply tell you how it is. I tell you what I do, how I do it and how I feel. If you are a young person, which I consider myself to be too, then hopefully you will ‘get’ where I am at. I am still trying to figure it all out myself to be honest so I hope you won’t judge me for having a bad day and ranting about it in a negative way. Sometimes that’s all the therapy I need, to just write it all down and move on. The difference is the things I write are left there for you to see. How you take them is down to you and I never read back through my posts because I don’t necessarily want to remember what I said or what I’ve done. It may bring back memories of things I have moved on from. Maybe one day I will sit down and read my own life story, or the last couple of years of it anyway, and be surprised or outraged by what I have written.
But as long as I know I have been honest and open and if one single person can relate to what I have said and know that they are not alone, then I have done what I set out to do.
(I just want to point out that this is not an attack on the person that wrote to me, just a response to why I think I am not a completely negative person as they suggested. I totally respect their opinion and understand where they have picked up on negative tones in my writing... but I know there are positive tones in there too. I am just not fearful of telling the truth because when I think back to my diagnosis I was scared and alone. If I only had an idea what to expect from an actual person who was actually honest rather than trawling through devastating internet sites and then getting the total opposite life affirming happy, smiley chat rooms where ‘everything will be OK’ then I might not have been so scared. I would know that there would be both good and bad times but I would get through it, and I’d be a better person because of it.)