So much for getting to bed early! It is to painful right now to get some sleep so I am back on the couch (my lovely couch) typing on this and tossing around the idea of finding a way for those struggling with RA and their caregivers to come together for support and encouragement. I have struggled to find a support group in my area, perhaps that will be another idea.
You would think with Houston being so big it would a prime place for support groups for those with this disease. However that is not the case, at least not that I have found. Another hope is that with the arthritis walk coming up, I am hoping I can network with others in this area and hopefully get some thing started or figure out where people are meeting.
Matt was proud of me (amazing right lol). I figured out a good analogy to describe living with RA and how most people fail to understand the complexity of it. I think it is common for people to be supportive when a person is in the hospital or in the middle of some other crisis; however, when that person leaves the hospital or the crisis passes, people tend to go back to their normal routines and that person can tend to be forgotten.
My analogy was to picture the person with RA as if they were in the hospital, usually when you are in the hospital it is common to be hooked up to machine, iv’s etc. A bunch of things holding you down to the bed in the hospital. You may want to get out and hang out with people but you can’t. You may want to make a bunch of calls but you may not be able to. You miss events and some times can only see people for an hour or two a day.
When you are in a physical hospital, people visit, call, send emails etc. They let you know they are there for you (at least for the time being).
When you have RA, it is the hospital (the invisible hospital). You never really leave, you may not feel like you get out of the hospital bed for a while (hopefully there will be remission but maybe not). You want to get out but your body aches and your energy is gone. You can’t go visit people sometimes, there are days you may not be able to do anything but sleep BUT the problem is…if people don’t see the real hospital they don’t understand that you feel as bad as if you were in a real hospital!!
People tend to be very material (they have to see it to believe it…so how can they understand an invisible illness? A good question right? A question that I hope to raise awareness of because while RA does make you feel miserable and there are days you can not do anything , we all have a voice. With the voices of our loved ones and our supporting friends, we can make a difference in this world! We can find comfort in others, those who do suffer with this invisible illness and those who do not. .
So tonight I challenge anyone reading this, how do you treat some one who is struggling with an invisible illness? Have you called them recently? Have you emailed recently? Have you shown them that you care? Your life will always be busy, your life will all be crazy but what really matters is your friends and family. Trust me, there will be a day when all else is gone but them, who will you have by your side? Let yourself be a “true” friend to someone who is struggling, with or without an invisible illness. But I will say this, if you want to be a friend – be there no matter what. Do not just call, visit or email when they are in a crisis, be there every day you can be regardless of whether or not it is a crisis.
Lastly but most importantly, remember that you are a testimony of God’s love! No matter whose life you touch, no matter where you are – you are in this world to serve a purpose. Use each moment of every day to be the best person you can be ,but most importantly bring honor and glory to the Lord with all that you do!
Yay for a long post lol!! I do love writing my thoughts, it may be meaningless to anyone else but to me it helps. I can not begin to tell you how difficult the past few months have been but I am happy to say that through faith I am making it through the dark valley. I can only hope that one day soon I can find the place God will have me serve him!