You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give. -Winston Churchill
Happy Fall Season to everyone in the Arthritis community! This is one of my favorite times of the year as we anticipate and prepare for the festivities of the upcoming holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most of us may generally feel overwhelmed as we go through the seasonal changes that come with colder weather and our bodies are experiencing more pain than usual. Then there are emotional and physical stress that comes with entertaining, shopping, and possibly cooking for holiday events with family, friends, and office parties with business associates along with co-workers.
“The act of creating can be a great form for meditation and a vehicle to process and communicate the complicated emotions of chronic illness. The support, education, and true friendship I have received from the AI community is immeasurable.”
“I use art to express myself and as my stress relief - visually representing the pain, happiness, fear of my moment. It allows me to escape if I need or to portray experiences that I might not otherwise be able to express. In short, it is my sanity.”
The experiences we enjoy when we gather together leave imprints on our hearts.
The adventures we engage in Bring us closer to one another and leave us with that “Feel good” sensation.
These meetings we attend can find us nervous, scared and shy at first. However...soon we exchange a smile with the person next to us.Before we know it we’ve made several new friends...the next day ...the next conference...the following year...
Sharing common ground with a complete stranger Can make you laugh (it can also put tears in your eyes.)
“I enjoy gardening, but with the severity of joint deformities on my hands and fingers due to damages caused by Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, it’s hard to plant flowers or vegetables directly in the dirt in my backyard. Air plant gardening helps me take my mind off of pain so that I can focus my attention to decorating them in a terrarium or create container to store them. I love watching them grow and thrive into living art pieces!”
The creaky and swollen frame of a bridge that I have to cross- each day, each day
Began to ask, “Why do you even bother? It takes you all day to cross me. Sometimes when you get to the other side, where the garden is, it’s raining and the sky is so black you can’t see… Anything, anything at all.”
The sun is bright, I take it in
My mind is ready to go
The day is young but I feel old
My body weak but spirit bold.
Noon has come but the day seems long
How can I feel so worn?
People moving fast and free
Oh why can't that be me?
Night is near but I am done
Ready to let my body rest
When you have a chronic condition like a rheumatic disease, your support team is critical. These are the people you will need to lean on when you are in pain and need support, when you are struggling with changes in your life, when you need an extra pair of ears to understand what your healthcare providers are telling you, and when you need that extra bit of help in your daily life. But finding those people and building a support system is challenging—especially when you are struggling to come to terms with having a chronic disease.
Now what - the honesty factor....See that gal over there....the one in the cast and leg brace? See me? I'm the one walking with my own two legs that appear to be totally normal and I have a smile on my face but inside, which each step, my feet are killing me, my hand on my left side is swollen and throbbing.....Folks never ask the "normal" looking people how they are or if they need help. They might approach the person with the walker or cast or wheelchair if they need any help.....not the "normal" person.