Five things I have learned.. #RAblog week #4

Today’s #RABlog week prompt is as follows…

Five things I have learned – write about the five things you have learned about yourself, or RA. Perhaps you have learned what things like physical pain, injections, or morning fatigue are like? Perhaps you have learned new things about yourself?

RA has made some huge changes to my life over a very short space of time, so my five things learned are personal, though I suspect not unique, to me…

1. Status & money just aren’t important – I obviously don’t mean I don’t need money to live,  this is probably the hardest thing to put into words, but my priorities have changed completely.  I’ve never been about the big ego or being flash, but I worked really hard for my career and was comfortable because of that. For a long time I almost subconsciously defined myself by my work, my life was built around it.  Having to stop working in March due to RA was emotionally as well as financially frightening.  But I’ve had a lot of time to think, and I realised it just wasn’t important, my focus has changed.  I want to return to work as soon as I am able, but perhaps in something more personally rewarding & fulfilling. As I am likely to be off work for some time, at least until I hopefully find a med that controls my RA, I have almost the ‘luxury’ of rethinking what I want to do. That’s not an opportunity many get, and I intend to use it well.

2. I couldn’t survive without my friends – I’ve seen many people say they lose friends through RA, it’s easy to become isolated when you can’t always be relied on to turn up when invited.  Maybe I am just very lucky, but the people I count as my closest friends have each been a fantastic support in different ways, and a couple of people I considered acquaintances have proved to be very good friends.  Trust me when you need helping packing, cleaning and moving because you can’t bend, kneel, lift or use a hoover you find out who’s really there! I love you guys, you know who you are.

3. My GP is an absolute star – I sort of knew this already, I’ve been with her over three years and she’s always been compassionate and supportive, through both mental & physical health problems.  When I first went to her with a suspicion of RA, she listened, agreed, promptly ordered tests and has been a great liason between myself & rheumatology.  She knows me, she spots when I’m down, she asks about my support network and cares how I am feeling. No appointment is rushed, no medical topic unspoken. I would just be lost without her. 

4. When you think the world is ending, it doesn’t – this sort of links to my first post, I have lost my mobility, my energy, my income and my home.  Yes, this has exacerbated my depression & anxiety, BUT…  I’m still here! Still standing, still learning,  still enjoying the small stuff and dealing with the bad.  Things are starting to turn around a little with a new home & rheumatologist this month, however different it may be from what I was expecting from this year, I’m still living, smiling & occasionally kicking butt! Please believe me, things are never as dark as they seem.

5. People actually enjoy my writing! – I think for me, the huge positive that has come from RA is this blog.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, bits of fiction, occasional poetry and just playing with words, I love that language allows us to express ourselves, to share with others our experiences and knowledge.  However I’d spent years just writing for me.  Somehow this blog began, mainly as a way of me processing what I’ve been going through, it just helps me to write things down.  I never expected in a million years to receive some of the amazing feedback I’ve had about my blogs, I can’t tell you how magical that is for me, so thank you so much for reading  xxx

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