Living with rheumatoid arthritis is anything but easy. Having rheumatoid arthritis and living with stress is even harder. Stress is the biggest factor in my flares, but it’s impossible to live without. How do I handle rheumatoid arthritis and my stress related flares, you ask? I take some extra time for me.
54 tornados have hit Oklahoma this year alone!
Yesterday I watched the weather on the news here in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. They were predicting some very severe weather coming our way. By the time 11:00 p.m. came around nothing had hit us yet. I was exhausted and decided to get some sleep. When tornado season first came around here in Oklahoma I had subscribed to something called Weathercast. It is a service that will call you whenever the National Weather Service issues an alert in your immediate area. I subscribed knowing that my husband would be out of state and I could use a little extra warning. So last Friday at 11:30 p.m. I got the call that woke me up. It said that the National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning in my immediate area and to take cover now. I ran into my boy’s room, sounded the fog horn, and ordered them to go downstairs immediately. This was getting serious.
I went out on the balcony that connects to my bedroom and watched the clouds. The lightening was striking fiercely above the wall cloud that now covered my neighborhood. The sky was lit up like morning and I could see everything heading our way. I sat in pure fear as I watched a funnel form right across my pond over my neighbor’s house, and immediately went full force into a panic attack. I felt sick to my stomach and my joints were stiffening up to the point that I was afraid that I would not make it to the bottom story of our house. I later learned that that same funnel hit down a mile away. I was in pain, almost instantly, but was able to make it downstairs to take cover until the storm passed.
Stress is my trigger for a flare
The next morning I woke up is so much pain, and pure exhaustion. My anxiety and my adrenaline had tortured my body last night. The stress of the tornado had put me into an awful flare. I woke up unable to move my neck from my cervical arthritis. Both hands had all my fingers frozen in a claw position and my throbbing hips made it virtually impossible for me to make it out of bed myself. I knew this would happen. You see, stress is my biggest flare trigger.
Stress can be your worst enemy when living with rheumatoid arthritis. Stress can be your worst enemy even when you don’t have rheumatoid arthritis. So what do you do when it’s impossible to eliminate all your stress? You learn to de-stress. I de-stress by painting and writing. I de-stress by taking hot baths or by taking time for myself just to sit on my balcony. I have learned that the more stress you have in your life, the more pain you have in your life as well.
What do you do to relax a little? Do you take enough time for yourself to relax? Stress can affect you not only mentally, but physically as well. You are the only one who can get it under control. Can you eliminate all stress in your life? No, probably not. But you can take control and take a little extra time for yourself.
Don’t let stress get you down!
My family was lucky. The tornado did not touch down by us, but the stress that I received has really affected me. So today I think I will take a little more time to relax. Besides, if I won’t let RA get me down, I definitely won’t let the stress either!
Published On: June 06, 2008