Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis: Asking For Help

RA Guy Adventures of RA Guy

The following is an excerpt from:

Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
by Tammi L. Shlotzhauer, M.D. & James L. McGuire, M.D.
(A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
With the latest information on medication, nutrition, and resources (online and off), this volume is a complete and comprehensive guide to the management of a difficult disease.

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“It is difficult to ask for help with tasks that you once were able to do on your own, but you will need to do this from time to time. If you learn to ask for help in a way that lets you keep your sense of independence and confidence, you will be much more likely to ask for the help you need. And when you get needed help, your feelings of frustration or anger can be avoided. Learn to ask clearly and without ambiguity, so that the person you’re asking know exactly how you need to be helped.


  • “I’ll just do it myself.” (Martyrdom is overvalued.)
  • “Can’t you see I’m in pain and can’t do this?” (It does no good to try to induce guilt in someone else.)
  • “Wash the dishes, or else.” (People who feel as if they are being punished for your arthritis will sooner or later come to resent your requests for assistance.)
  • “I can do it, but I think it’s about time for you to do something around here.” (Denial has the potential to develop into antagonism.)


  • “Here’s what I need help with. I know I can count on you.” (Describe the task and show appreciation; the response will almost certainly be positive.)
  • “I’m certain I can do this part alone, but I could really use your help with the rest of it.” (Be specific with about your needs, including what you don’t need help with.)
  • “I’ll clean up the living room if you’ll vacuum the rug.” (Negotiation allows equal input from everyone.)

Remember, your attitude has a far greater effect on your personal interactions than your disabilities do.”

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