13 Thoughts Every Person With Rheumatoid Arthritis Has

13 Thoughts Every Person With Rheumatoid Arthritis Has

It’s okay, functional joints aren’t needed to have the best quality of life. Right?
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I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 3, so for the past fifteen years, most of my thoughts have been pertaining to my illness.Although every illness is unique, there are certain things that happen with the majority of patients. There are a few thoughts that I feel like everyone with arthritis has every so often or every day.

1. Did I take my medication today?

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I am notorious for forgetting to take my medication. I will go about my day without it until I start to have severe pain. It amazes me how I still forget even though I have an app that notifies me, multiple alarms set, and sticky notes everywhere to remind me.

2. Am I out of medication?

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I will on the regular forget to get prescriptions filled and some of them take up to a week to get to me because they're through the specialty pharmacy and so my life becomes a mess when I do this.

3. Is my ankle swollen or do I just have cankles?

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I ask myself this question at least thirty times a day.

5. Is (person around me a lot) sick?

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When people around me get sick I become a germaphobe. Germ-X is my best friend and you aren't anymore.

5. Am I sick?

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Hi, I'm Moriah and I don't have an immune system. jk. Well, kinda. My medications give me a susceptible immune system, but the number of times that I get the flu every winter you would think that I don't have an immune system.

6. Am I dying?

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The pain of rheumatoid arthritis is a sort of white-hot stabbing but inside your joints and in the thick of a flare it may be questionable whether or not you are in hell.

7. Am I able to move?

You may wake in the morning and find that you cannot move. This is called "morning stiffness" and it sucks.

8. It’s okay, functional joints aren’t needed to have the best quality of life. Right?

I mean, you've made it this far.

9. Do I even want to move?

The answer is probably "no," because moving comes with the possibility of being in pain or discomfort again.

10. I feel like the Michelin Man.

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You may not look like him but you certainly feel like his twin when in a flare-up.

11. Do people think that I'm faking?

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The 'I'll believe it when I see it' motto is not applicable here. You can't see people in constant pain. That isn't how this works. You might be able to see swelling, but it usually isn't noticeable until someone points it out.

12. Are people judging me for having a handicap sticker?

Generally, when thinking of a handicap placard/sticker, one might think of a) an elderly person or b) someone in a wheelchair. Every time I park in a handicap space I get questionable looks from older people which makes me feel super self-conscious

13. I shouldn’t be and I’m not embarrassed by my illness because it isn’t something that I asked for and it is not in my sphere of control.

This lesson took me until recently to comprehend. I was always ashamed for having to do certain things to accommodate my illness and for mostly not being normal, until I realized that my illness is a part of me and it isn't something that I can change or dispose of, therefore there is no ground for embarrassment.

I wouldn't change my life for the world. Although, arthritis does make me miserable at some points and I don't want to continue, I do. My illness, I feel as made me a better person and has taught me lessons I would not have learned without it.

Cover Image Credit: Cristina Gottardi

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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The Problem(s) With 'Autism Speaks'

As much as I would like to believe that this organization means well, I have to face the facts.

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Just about everyone has heard of Autism Speaks, a supposed "autism advocacy organization." Their familiar blue puzzle piece icon is often recalled by many. Just by looking at the name, you can tell it's a fantastic company with a great mission. Or is it?

I never really knew that much about Autism Speaks until I read an article one of my Facebook friends had shared. I was alarmed to see all the ways that they don't practice what they preach. OK, so yes, they do donate to the families of those with autism. However, the amount donated is less than two to four percent. A whopping 40-plus percent of the budget goes to advertising.

Another issue that really sparked my attention was the type of people they employ. A while back, Autism Speaks was run by a board that contained exactly zero individuals with autism or disability. They recently received a lot of criticism for this. One man, John Elder Robinson, who has autism, joined the board but quickly resigned because he discovered that the board had no respect for those with autism.

Another big red flag I discovered was the way they use that big profit to advertise autism: they don't really promote awareness, they promote fear. One mom labeled their marketing techniques as "disgusting," and I couldn't agree more. One commercial titled "I Am Autism" explains it all. It shows like a horror movie including lines like "I know where you live," and "If you're happily married, I will make sure that your marriage fails," and "You are scared, and you should be." There are also many other commercials and clips by Autism Speaks that solidify this opinion. One that really ices the cake is one where a mother states "she contemplated driving off a bridge with her child with autism, but only didn't because she also had a neurotypical child." Sickening.

As much as I love to support those with disorders such as autism, I will never support Autism Speaks. Their mission is definitely not one I could get behind. They are looking for a cure, which is not what the world needs. We need to better the lives of those who have autism instead of trying to "fix" them. Autistic individuals are still human beings, so @AutismSpeaks, please stop treating and advertising them like anything less.

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