Dealing with rheumatoid arthritis is definitely not an easy job. I have spent many, many days in bed with the covers pulled over my head, not wanting to face anything. While I know what to expect with the pain, the side effects of the disease, and the side effects of my medications, I did not know how to handle the depression that comes along with it. I found myself laying in bed or on the couch all the time. I would avoid phone calls from everyone and constantly broke plans with friends and family until I stopped getting invites to anything. I felt that I had the right to feel sorry for myself and lay around whenever I wanted. I was depressed about my "new" life. I was depressed about all the things I was no longer able to do. I was depressed because I felt alone and because I thought that no one could ever possibly know how I felt. I was even depressed about being depressed. While I still have days like that, I am dealing with my depression in a much more positive way. It took me a long time to realize that I wasn't alone. It took a long time to find support as well. I remember one day in particular. I was laying on the couch like usual. It was a beautiful day outside and my two boys wanted to go outside and play. I had heard my boys in the other room talking about going to the park. "I will go ask mom," said my oldest. He walked into the livingroom and saw me laying on the couch. "What do you need Gavin,"I asked? He looked at me and replied,"nothing mom. I see you're in a lot of pain today. I will just go upstairs and watch cartoons." It broke my heart! Not only was I missing out on my life, I was missing out on watching my boys grow, and play, and just be kids. That's the day I decided my life didn't have to be over. I was only 27 and had many years ahead of me. I got online and started my search for help. What I found was amazing. Other people who felt the same way I did. I found other people who had rheumatoid arthritis who were depressed about being depressed. I found other people who needed support just as badly as I did. I joined many online support groups for rheumatoid arthritis. It brings me a lot of comfort in knowing that I am not alone. I have taken my next step and am going to my first Young Adults with Arthritis support group that is sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation. While I still have those days when I want to lay on the couch all day, I now have fewer days like that. If you are having "couch" days, please know that you are not alone. While people who don't have rheumatoid arthritis may not fully understand, there are many out there with the disease who do. There are many, many wonderful people out there who can help, and you never know, you may be the one to help another with their "couch" days. There is so much support out there for you. There are so many people out there who do now, or have felt the same as you. Don't give up because you feel like no one understands. We are all here for support! Best wishes to all of you!
Published On: February 19, 2008