It used to be, when I looked at all of the challenges that I continually face day in and day out, that I would get depressed. After all, it’s hard enough to get through a rough period, whether it be emotional, physical, or a combination of the two; it’s even harder to have to do so on a daily basis.
Recently, however, I’ve noticed–usually late in the evening, as I’m getting ready to go to sleep–that when I look back at my day, I experience true feelings of joy. My happiness is not dependent upon whether my day was “rough” or “easy,” nor is is based upon whether or not I was in a flare. These feelings that I experience, at the end of each day, come from the knowledge that once again, I successfully overcame all of these challenges.
Yes, I know I’ll have to do as much again tomorrow. But once it becomes routine, once I realize that this feeling of success has nothing to do with how little or how much I have been able to accomplish during the day, everything becomes just a little bit easier.
I’d also like to add that “how well” I cope with these challenges is a major factor in how well I feel, emotionally, right before I drift off to sleep. But even this statement, I question. Yes, there are days when my first impression is that I’m not coping very well at all. (A little over a week and a half ago I had three major anxiety attacks within a 24 hour period.) When tears take over and when my fears continue to sneak up on me, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that I’m not coping well. When I look back at these episodes, though, I realize that even during these most challenging times, I’m coping the best I can. And in its own certain way, coping the best I can does mean that I am coping well.
Yes, I will live with these challenges every day, for the rest of my life. Such a statement used to instill in me a sense of panic, fright, anger, and so many other negative emotions. Now, believe it or not, I actually feel a sense of joy. I’m not happy that I *have to* deal with pain and disability on a daily basis, but I’m certainly happy that I *can*.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!