If you feel that your friends and family don’t understand how arthritis really affects you, you’re not alone. Not only are arthritis symptoms often invisible, but they can come and go. Some days, you may feel great and energetic; other days, you might be too tired or sore to be active. People who don’t have a chronic condition may not get how different your experience can be from one day to the next, says rheumatologist J. Michael Finley, DO, an associate professor of internal medicine at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, California.
Use these tips to help friends and family understand what you’re dealing with – and possibly improve your relationships.
Continue reading How to Share Your Feelings About Arthritis with Loved Ones
Dating can be challenging for anyone. Throw having arthritis into the mix, and you’re faced with figuring out when to tell new partner about your condition. Disclosing to a new partner can be daunting, but these expert tips can help make the big reveal less intimidating.
Continue reading When to Tell a New Partner About Arthritis
Alberta Dillihay’s children began urging her to stop working soon after her 2010 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis. Stress from her job as a public works supervisor in a busy office 45 minutes from her home, combined with finding the right arthritis treatments, could affect her health, they argued.
“I was and am glad they were concerned and want to help. But sometimes it’s frustrating because you feel you’re being treated like a kid,” says Dillihay, 63. “You can still do what you need to do.”
When a mom has arthritis, the family dynamic often changes. “That means who’s in charge shifts, as does who’s taking care of whom,” says Eve Wittenberg, PhD, a senior research scientist in the Center for Health Decision Science at Harvard University in Boston. “There are downsides, but there can also be huge satisfaction to changing a relationship with a child or partner; the ability to let others help can strengthen bonds,” says Wittenberg, who studies family dynamics in chronic illness. She and Nancy Ruddy, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Montefiore Health System’s College of Medicine in New York City, offer this advice.
Continue reading When Arthritis is a Family Affair
Family gatherings can be occasions to celebrate – or to dread. You look forward to seeing some relatives, but others leave you stressed.
The first step is to take care of yourself, says clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD, a professor at California State University, Los Angeles.
“Protect your time and space,” she says. “Get your own room at a hotel or Airbnb [if you’re traveling]. Explain that you can’t stay up late.” When you’re rested and in control of your arthritis, you can more easily deal with annoyances and enjoy this “most wonderful time of the year.”
Continue reading Home for The Holidays?