Humans of Scotland

Melanie’s Story – living with Rheumatoid Arthritis

"I picked up my defeated heart, dusted myself down...looked ahead and kept on going"

This story is about: Long Term ConditionsArthritisCarer

“I found a notebook that contained writing about the challenges, feelings and emotions I had within the first few months of having my baby. On opening the first page, I was transported to a time, not so long ago, where I was furious with my body for letting me down, for letting my baby down. I want to tell you what I wrote…

“My body is letting me down. At 8 months it has become physically impossible to hold her in my arms for more than 2 minutes at a time.

I worry about not being able to be a proper mum as I’m not able to physically keep up as 8 months of constant caring/being up/physical activity/being non-stop/the cycle of insomnia and knackerdness is really telling on my body and the combined psychological effect of 8 months of no/broken sleep is draining me in every way. I have thoughts every night in bed of what I’d love to be able to do with her, but I can’t do these things.

I am aware of being physically weak and ‘unable’ for the first time in my life of living with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I can hardly get the sick drenched clothes off her or me, turn the dial on the shower or wash the sick off me, or dry myself, or get new clothes on, thanking god for my husband who is able to comfort her and clean up the mess. And I get angry at my body and myself for not being able just to get things done, or deal with my current agony.”

I remember that I had stopped writing because I was crying, with defeat in my heart. I had never felt defeat in my life before that moment.

What I can tell you though, is that I picked up my defeated heart, dusted myself down and from somewhere, from very deep within, found my usual defiance, looked ahead and kept on going…”