In this story: Self management / Arthritis /

"Your condition doesn’t have to define you as a person."

“When I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in 2018, I felt so alone and frustrated. I had gone from doing everything at 100 miles per hour and now, everything took twice as long. I felt that I had lost a part of myself, a part that was happy, confident and passionate about life. I definitely was afraid to disclose my condition to anybody, afraid that they would look at or treat me differently. When I did pluck up the courage to tell anyone, I would be dismissed with “oh my granny has that in her hips”.

Don’t get me wrong I did have some positive experiences where people were nothing short of amazing and told me that they would never have known if I didn’t say anything! I was a mess, the medication I was on (and still am!) made me so sick it was unbearable, and I didn’t have the self-advocacy to say anything as I didn’t want to be a burden.

I didn’t know how to self manage myself and my condition, it felt impossible – with all the appointments, remembering to take all the medication, work and study at the same time it was physically and mentally draining. But if I could give my past self any advice it would be – don’t give up! Important people and opportunities are coming for you and you will never ever feel alone, the sickness will fade with the right medication, the fatigue will get easier to manage and the “life admin” will lessen.

Embrace your condition and don’t let anything get in your way because your condition doesn’t have to define you as a person, if anything it makes you better, more empathic towards other people and confident enough to embrace life to the fullest.”

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