I think the really important lesson here is that while RA causes a lot of physical symptoms, it can cause mental anguish, as well. We would do well to take a holistic approach, especially considering that mental distress can contribute to increased disease activity.
We would also do well to remember that RA doesn’t just effect the patient, but the patient’s family and friends, as well. Caregivers often go unrecognized, and they can be faced with significant physical and psychological burdens as a result (Gettings 2010).
Whether you’re the person suffering from RA or the caregiver of someone with RA, you’re never as alone as you feel. And if you don’t feel you have in-person support, there are always people in the online community that have been where you are.
If you or your loved one has thoughts of suicide, there is always help. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Gettings, Lynda. 2010. “Psychological Well-Being in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Review of the Literature.” Musculoskeletal Care 8 (2010): 99-106.
Hewlett, S., T. Sanderson, J. May, R. Alten, C. Bingham, M. Cross, L. March, C. Pohl, T. Woodworth, and S. Bartlett. 2012. “’I’m Hurting, I Want to Kill Myself’: Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare is More Than a High Joint Count – An International Patient Perspective on Flare Where Medical Help is Sought.” Rheumatology 2012 (51): 69-76.
Timonen, M., K. Viilo, H. Hakko, T. Sarkioja, M. Ylikulju, V. Meyer-Rochow, E. Vaisanen, and P. Rasanen. 2003. “Suicides in Persons Suffering From Rheumatoid Arthritis.” Rheumatology 2003 (42): 287-291.