This year marks an official decade of having Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not something I will be going out to celebrate but still I am proud that I have gotten through the last 10 years.
I have met many people along the way, people who suffer like me, people who don’t know or care about my illness, those who want to understand but can’t, those that do everything in their power to be there for you and then those who don’t really ‘believe‘ in my disease.
Sorry but it’s time I said something…what does that even mean? My disease is not a fairy you don’t have to believe in it and clap your hands for it to be real. Or rather is it that you don’t believe that it affects me the way I claim it can?
You see me smile and laugh, I get up I go to work, I don’t spend every minute of every day depressed or crying so it must all be in my head. Or maybe ‘it is just not that bad.’
I get not understanding what is going on with my body , hell I don’t really understand it but that doesn’t make me a liar and it doesn’t make this illness disappear.
I feel each time you roll your eyes into the back of your head when I talk about my disease. I feel your condescending tone when you explain how ‘easy‘ a certain task is. It is not easy for me. Every day brings new challenges that my body doesn’t seem to want me to overcome.
I have spent a considerable time of the last 10 years wishing it is all just my imagination. A bad dream, a storyline or a game I had gotten too wrapped up in. Sadly for me this is not the case, it is very real and I don’t need someone to pinch me to prove it’s not just a bad dream.I would love to come to the realisation that I was in some Sci Fi novel where the monster possessed by body causing me pain and I only had a few more chapters to endure and it would be slayed and I would go back to my life. But this isn’t a book or a movie this is my life. I have to live it every day, in pain.
Honestly if you don’t or can’t understand just how much this affects me and others like me I get it. I don’t hold that against you. It’s something I am still trying to get to grips with a decade down the line.
But don’t insult me by saying;
‘I don’t believe it’s that bad’.
‘I don’t believe it effects you that way.’
‘I don’t believe in it.’
This isn’t Santa or the Loughness Monster. My Arthritis is not something for you to debate. It is fact. It is an incurable fact of my life and whilst you might not believe, I have no choice in the matter as I live with it each and every day.
You don’t have to believe in ghosts, magic or true love but my disease is not up for discussion. Bear in mind this is not me telling you not to have an opinion, not to have a joke or not to ever doubt that sometimes I am a lazy cow (Cuz I so am) but it is me telling you to get a grip on reality.
I can’t clap my heels three times and wish it was all ok, well I can but nothing will happen. A handsome prince isn’t going to kiss me and cure me so that we can live happily ever after. This is not a Disney Fairy-tale this is life and frankly whether you believe or not it doesn’t make it any less real.