Luck of the Arthritic?

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I was thinking today of all the blessings Psoriatic Arthritis has brought to my life (yes, really!), so I thought I'd start a conversation about the GOOD things PsA has brought to our lives.

For me...

- PsA i helped me to slow down and focus on what's important in life.

- PsA has shown me who my real friends are, so that I can put my energy into those friendships and let go of relationships that were detrimental.

- It has helped my children to be more compassionate and has helped me be more understanding that everyone is going through their own stuff, whether or not you can see it

- It has helped me focus on all the blessings in life and appreciate the little things, like each step I take!

What GOOD has PsA brought to your life?

I got to wear black clothes for the first time in my life after starting biologics :)

I was dx with PsA young. So I can say PsA has affected pretty much all my life decisions.

*I don't know if I would have been ready to settle down with my husband when we met in college, but I was already "old" emotionally from dealing with PsA, and it felt right. We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year.

*I wouldn't have had kids so young (25 and 29.... both coincided with a 'good' period of PsA) except I knew I would get progressively worse. Now my husband and I are still young and our kids are both teens and pretty self sufficient. I look at my sister who had a child at 40, and a friend who had a child at 41, and they are really struggling energy-wise.

*I always planned to go back to work after my kids were born (I was halfway through my masters for library science when my 1st was born), but a combination of a special needs child and a PsA flare kept me home. Turns out being home was the very best thing for my children. My oldest needed homeschooling, my youngest is very sensitive and needs a lot of "mom time". My husband's job turned into a 10-12 hour a day job, so it helped him to come home to a family knowing everyone was being taken care of.

*my kids haven't been spoiled, they are very good about doing family chores and helping me A LOT. Plus, with my stories from growing up on a dairy farm, where I wasn't given much special treatment despite having pretty severe PsA, my kids know their household chores are EASY.

*I've really learned who my friends are, and though at times I've been down to only one or two friends, I always end up with a circle of 4-5 people I can tell anything too, who will do anything for me.

*I've become a great listener. I really enjoy listening to other people, and people REALLY like that. It's rare nowadays. My life can get boring if I'm having a period of time where my body won't function, so anything my friends say is FASCINATING.

*and like others said, I really cut to the chase about what is important and what is not. Playing games with my kids? Important. Keeping up with the Joneses? Not important.

I love reading these! Thanks so much for sharing and keep them coming!

Even just after the first month of being diagnosed (after 4 years of not knowing):

* Perspective on my relationship with my partner and my family - a very dramatic childhood all of a sudden is put in focus and I'm able to truly (very recently) feel like I'm putting behind old feelings towards family members that really don't matter any more. And I've always been truly terrified of conflict and pain in relationship to my partner who is just about the sweetest damn person in the world - being able to take a little healthy fight is NOTHING compared to this stuff, and I'm learning to do it now without fear.

* Planting my feet and making choices. I've spent a good deal of my life drifting in and out of things and not making firm choices on what I wanted, loved, or needed. Now, I'm finally starting to truly focus - I feel like everything is so much less BLURRY. Will this fulfill me? Give me peace? ACTUAL joy? Will this make someone else's life better? Then YES - if I'm going to spend any portion of my life being in the kind of pain I've already felt, then the times when I'm feeling good are going to mean SO much more to me.

* Similar to Marietta and nym, I've become very close to and learned to trust certain friends who are truly there for me with this - and have learned how to give my friendship wholeheartedly back to them whenever it's in my power to do so. This is a big deal for me.

* Work and art. Like sybil says =), writing and art and music are SUPPOSED to be at the center of my life, and they haven't been, and I've been afraid to put them there. But really, this disease is just saying: What the HELL are you waiting for?!

* Learning how to listen to my body. I think especially for women (though god knows true for plenty of men, if in different ways), we're taught how to be at war with our bodies or see them as these weird manipulable attachments, instead of taking true care of them and understanding them. I've got a whole new set of reasons to learn how to do both.

* Reaching out. Just learning how to reach out of myself and ask someone for help - I'm that kid who never did. Starting to get the hang of it now =)

Thanks for this thread, nym!!

PSA has taught me to put myself and my own well-being ahead of everyone and everything else--without compromise. While being my own staunchest ally I've learned to be compassionate to myself and my body. In learning to care for and about myself I have also learned to be much more sensitive to the plight of others.

There are two old chestnuts that encapsulate what I have learned from having PSA:

  • No one is in charge of your happiness except you
  • Don't compare your life to the lives of others and don't judge them--you have no idea what their journey it all about


I could repeat so many of things that have already been mentioned! Yes, self-care and compassion, learning to ask for help, a whole new perspective on so many of life’s challenges, and even the fearless wearing of black clothes! PLUS the very, very good fortune of meeting so many wonderful, understanding and wise friends here. (Raising my glass of green beer to all of you!)

Sláinte, Seenie!!

Seenie said:

(*Raising my glass of green beer to all of you!*)

I think I’ve learnt to love myself…I’ve been forced to see myself for who I really am, not just because of PsA, but other deep reasons too. I see my lovely partner and no longer wonder if I’m worthy of him.

This is a great thread and a nice reminder to choose positive things to focus on. We can be the kind of people who curse God for putting thorns on the roses or praise Him for putting roses among the thorns. If it had not been for PsA, I probably would not have become the artist I am today. It forced me to retire from my former job that had also taken it's toll with a great deal of compassion fatigue.

PsA has taught me how to say NO to things that aren't good for me. It has taught me how to set healthy boundaries in relationships. It has taught me to be a better listener. It has shown me how incredibly blessed I am to have a husband who loves me deeply and unconditionally. He is my hero.

It has taught me how to more fully trust God and be present in each moment, because none of us knows what the next moment may hold.

It has brought me some wonderful cyber buddies on this forum ! I am very thankful for you.

We are thankful for you too mimiB.

I love this thread. I am grateful for all the things others have mentioned. It has been very hard for me to learn to slow down and not do it all. Pacing myself and giving myself permission to walk away from things has been a steep learning curve for me. I now ask myself not just does it need doing but do I need to do it right now? It's amazing how many times the answer is "no"! I also have to become comfortable with being vulnerable. This is very hard for me. I am the oldest child, the head nurse, the single mother and I am much more comfortable with those roles. But I am being given the "opportunity" to grow in other ways. It is taking an anti-depressant and therapy but I am doing it! And I am grateful for that.