By Cathy, contributor at HealthCentral.
For many of us with rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune diseases, we know the ups and downs of a relationship with disease. We know that we may struggle to get out of bed alone and then later in the day feel fine. We know that we may jump out of bed but two hours later rheumatoid arthritis has taken over and we struggle to get ourselves into our car. We may have wonderful plans with our family and friends and find that our bodies have been flaring for several days and we have to say “no” again to a fun outing. These ups and downs in our relationship with rheumatoid arthritis often make it difficult for us to understand, but also make it extremely difficult for those around us to understand. “How can you say that you can’t lift your purse by yourself when earlier this morning you worked out?” It is confusing to both ourselves and those around us.
In an effort to understand what is happening to our own bodies, I think we often spend a lot of time trying to make those around us understand what is happening to our bodies too. Although I do think it is important for our family, friends and even our coworkers to understand what is happening to our bodies, I think the problem occurs when we set expectations for those around us in how to understand our disease and how to respond to our disease. In our own confusion with disease we often set up expectations for those around us that are impossible to achieve.