Good Lists Versus Bad Lists

“By your stumbling, the world is perfected.” –Sri Aurobindo

to do listRheumatoid Arthritis Guy would love to once again write about what a wonderful day yesterday was, and how he managed to stay one step ahead of his rheumatoid arthritis at all times. But I like to keep it real here on my blog, so I will start by sharing a little bit about my afternoon yesterday, during which I had a small (figurative) stumble.

Sometimes I think that I have encountered every issue that is related to my living with chronic illness and disability, but every now and them I am reminded otherwise. Yesterday’s emotions were sparked by the fact that I had a phone interview early in the evening. While I have spent the past few years consulting for various companies remotely from the comfort of my home office, this lead might actually require me to go into the office in person.

And realizing this made me nervous.

If I am called in for an onsite interview, will I use my crutches or not?
I felt slightly ashamed of myself as one of my promises to myself since the onset of this illness has been that I would always be proud of whatever mobility aids I might need to use. What if my hands and wrists are really bad? What if this…? What if that…? And the list of questions in my head continued to grow.

Even though all of the previous people I have worked with and for during the past few years have known that I have rheumatoid arthritis, that was before the serious progression of my rheumatoid arthritis that took place in my body this year.

So instead of looking at the positive, instead of reminding myself of all of the things which I continue to remain capable of doing, I started to feel sorry for myself.

I felt sorry for myself because my hands were hurting.

I felt sorry for myself because my left ankle was hurting.

I felt sorry for myself because the thought of going into an office was more than I could take at the moment.

And within a span of just a few minutes, I had a second endless list growing in my mind. I had no idea what to do. This was different from the intense anxiety attacks that I continue to face every now and then. Instead, this just felt like a landslide…the ground beneath my feet just kept on shifting and would not stop.

In the end though, I made it stop (add another superpower to my list…now that’s a list I wouldn’t mind to see continue growing!)

I stopped my sitting and sulking, and walked into my home office. I started a small list of things-to-do. I downloaded photos from my camera to my computer. I backed up files from both laptops onto both external hard drives. I converted a word document to a pdf file for my mothers. I updated my ipod. I filed some papers that were sitting on my desk. I put away the new pile of books that had just arrived from Amazon. All the items on my list were complete!

And within a few minutes, I had completely forgotten about my fears, about feeling sorry for myself, about thoughts of what I might not be able to do. Instead, I was in my home office, busy as a bee and perfectly capable of taking on any job that might come my way.

An hour later I had a wonderful phone interview. I have no idea if I will get a callback for not, but for me the biggest achievement of the day was telling myself that if I needed to go into the office, even with my crutches, that I would be ready.

So in closing, I can honestly share with my readers that yesterday was indeed another good day, stumble and all!

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

11 Comments
11 comments
  1. MissDazey says:

    Good morning,
    I know I preach this too much, but I so believe in positively thinking and living. Your blog today proves that we are what we think. No amount of positively thinking will make the pain of a illness go completely away, but it sure helps us deal with it.

    You and a couple of others bloggers have inspired me not to delete my blog, but to change it’s message and tone.

    MissDazey

  2. cateepoo says:

    I can definitely see where going in for an interview would be a scary thought. How awesome for you that you turned it around and realized you can do anything you set your mind to. I hope things work out from the interview.

  3. Helen says:

    Completing a to-do list, no matter how big or small, always feels great! Glad you were able to do it. :)

    I still struggle with the issue of disclosure in the workplace. How do I tell people? How much do I tell people? I haven’t got it quite figured out yet.

  4. Millicent says:

    Go you!! As a retiree, I find myself sometimes lacking confidence in my ability to tackle things I did when I was younger, yet still feeling that I can accomplish them. Some of it is the perception of myself as younger people view me. I guess it’s only natural. But then an opportunity will present itself & I will “Go forth & conquer,” so I guess this old broad ain’t down yet!

  5. Mallen says:

    I totally understand what you went through yesturday. For me I try and ignore my RA as much as possible until it cannot be ignored (which is happening more and more). Feeling sorry for myself is a natural reaction, but I strive to look at the positives.

    PS I love your blog and you have really helped me lately in dealing with RA. I wrote a post on my blog about my RA and I mentioned you if you want to go see it.

    Blessings to you today!!

  6. ann marie says:

    just some food for thought…

    these are some questions i find myself asking regarding balance:

    what’s the best way to feel true compassion for our own struggles without feeling sorry for ourselves?

    how do we try and remain positive without repressing our true sorrows and frustrations?

    is there a clear way to both accept our illness and it’s effects on our lives while at the same time being open to healing? (i have heard of cases of healing…)

    i don’t suppose there are easy answers to these questions…but as someone once said, the important thing is to “live the question”

    congratulations RAGuy, on not allowing yourself to be swallowed by fear!

  7. RA Guy says:

    Ann Marie, what a powerful list of questions – I love the notion of balance; I hadn’t necessarily thought of these issues in that way before. Just this morning I started reading a new book on meditation and yoga that talks a lot about balance. I think I will elevate this idea of balance in my day to day activities.

  8. RA Guy says:

    MissDazey, glad to hear that you plan to continue blogging!

    cateepoo, thanks for the wishes!

    Helen, I agree any list big or small is an accomplishment. I was glad to read your blog earlier today and hear the latest updates in terms of your workplace disclosure…go you! (This post can be found at: http://pensandneedlesblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/golfing-um.html)

    Millicent, how could you possibly being even close to being down, when your FB updates are full of mentions about yoga, dining on the covered porch, and lots of other great activities???

    Mallen, thanks for sharing your feelings and I am glad to hear that visiting this blog is providing you some support!

  9. Amanda says:

    I totally understand too. It can be very intimidating to let anyone, especially a potential or even current employer, know about your RA. But I think it’s so important that we do continue to live our lives and not let this sucky disease make decisions for us. Good for you for pulling it back together and I hope you get invited back to speak with them again!!!

  10. Sunita says:

    I’ve put a sentence on my resume (CV) which says “rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis”. When they see me on interview day with a stick and distorted hands…they will understand that I have a disability. I tried to cover it up at an interview a few months back. My presentation went well…I could sit down (thank goodness), and I was well prepared. But, I didn’t take my stick, and waddled around very awkwardly. They all seemed to be rushing about, up and down stairs…this office, this lab, this canteen…I was exhausted. Someone said “what have you done to yourself?” assuming I must have strained, sprained or broken something. I came up with the right lines, but I think people know when you’re hiding something. And, if you get the job, your colleagues are going to find out sooner or later. If they are employers worth working for, they will consider what you CAN do, and not what you can’t. I think you just have to emphasize what you CAN do for them, and try and laugh off (as best you can) the things you can’t. An interview is just the first step in acquiring a new job…you still have to get through the probationary period satisfactorily. Hiding such an important part of yourself may backfire. If they have some human decency they will understand. If not, you’re better off without them.

  11. Sunita says:

    above post is advice from someone who needs some. I read it through, and it sounded sanctimonious even from my perspective.
    There’s something called the capability procedure in UK industry. So everything is in place legality-wise for empoyers and employees…but if an employer believes an employee wasn’t candid in their application (in terms of “capability”) it could be grounds for dismissal.
    I worked in MA (USA) for 2 years in an academic environment. I was shocked at how few rights some of my colleagues had. At the time, MA was an “at will state”…it means either employee or employer can terminate the contract at any time. Private unversities have expensive lawyers, and most employees do not. We are going the same way here in the UK. In general public sector employees have more rights than in the private sector. Unless someone can change my mind, I’d say honesty about disability is the best policy.

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