“I came upon a doctor who appeared in quite poor health. I said, ‘There’s nothing that I can do for you that you can’t do for yourself.’ He said, ‘Oh yes you can. Just hold my hand. I think that that would help.’ So I sat with him a while then I asked him how he felt. He said, ‘I think I’m cured.’”
– Conor Oberst, American Singer
One of the most challenging aspects of living with rheumatoid arthritis has been how different it sometimes makes me feel…and when I start feeling less connected with those who are around me, I start feeling more lonely…and when I start feeling more lonely, I start to Google different terms related to feelings and emotions and rheumatoid arthritis and chronic pain, in order to see if there is anyone else out there who is feeling just the way that I am feeling.
Quite often, probably due to the popularity of this blog, somewhere amongst the top search results of whatever I am Googling there is an entry linking to a post that I have written myself, as Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy.
You might think that my first reaction would be one of happiness…but to be honest, it’s usually one of annoyance. I don’t want to read what I have written. I want to read what others have written.
Or so I thought, up until recently.
Now that I think of it, how awesome is it that I can Google my own words and read my own thoughts and feelings? Pretty darn cool, I might say. I’ve always thought of this blog as a personal diary (albeit a personal diary that is open for everyone to read and that has been nicely indexed by all of the search engines). I don’t always go back and read it myself, but maybe I should. On more than one occasion, someone who has just stumbled onto my blog sends me a message telling me that they have just finished reading the entire blog, beginning to end. Maybe one day I will do the same.
I am reminded that when I start to feel lonely, the first person that I probably need to connect with is myself. And when I start to reconnect with myself, I start to reconnect with those people who play such critical roles of support in my life of chronic illness. I realize that even though I might have felt otherwise, I never really was alone.
And for all the talk of “I” and “me” in this blog post, I can no longer deny that it takes a group effort to get through each and every day of living with this illness.
Oftentimes I hold back certain words for fear of overburdening those individuals who make a concerted effort to give me all of the support I need, despite their pleas to the contrary. I think this is an area that I need to work to improve.
I feel blessed that living with rheumatoid arthritis has shown me who I can count on for support; to these individuals I will be forever grateful. Thank you.
Do you know who you can count on?
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!