Attitude adjusting - how do you keep positive?

Keren Member Posts: 29
edited 25. Dec 2010, 15:17 in Living with Arthritis archive
I've been amazed since lurking on this forum at the awesome attitudes of you lot and how positive you seem when you're obviously having some pretty nasty chronic health problems.

I've been having words with myself about feeling sorry for myself - I realised a few years ago (after going through a horrible divorce) that self-pity was seriously self-destructive and made the decision to stop feeling like a victim. Once I'd made that decision, I felt so much better. So I'm giving myself a period to feel sad about getting OA (because I think that's healthy), and then I'll move on. Well, that's the plan, at any rate.

So does anyone have any tips on acceptance, and all that? What keeps you sane when you're most poorly? And how do you not get mad at what seems unfair - that in the lottery of life, you drew the arthritis straw, while other people around you are perfectly healthy?

I can now honestly say that I'm glad I went through a divorce, as horribly painful as it was. It's turned me into the person I am today - someone much stronger, and certain of her own mind, and I wouldn't change that for the world. Can anyone say the same thing for arthritis? Are there any kind of gifts packaged in with the pain?? (looking for the silver lining here!)

Keren x


  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,266
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Keren
    And welcome to the forum, I find that some days I am really positive, others I have a weep or go into my screaming room. but I must say the longer I have had Arthur the more I can handle it, must get used to it :| I am 60 so I see myself has being lucky that I didnt get it when I was young, by young there are quite a few children on the young people forum.
    I also find that talking to the lovely people on here really helps, I am a big believer in talking and you cant always tell your family.
    Hope you stay with us
    Barbara x
  • julie47
    julie47 Member Posts: 6,041
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Keren
    Welcome to the forum
    I have had RA for 22 years I am now 47 and some days arthur can be a real problem. In that case I do feel down and cry.
    I have a husband and 22 year old daughter who are both very supportive so I am very lucky.
    Other times I just struggle along and get on with daily chores but it is hard.I also laugh at my self. sometimes that helps (oh and swear when no one around) :oops:
    This forum is so helpful , the people are there to read our posts and offer some superb advice and support.
    I am sorry about your rough ride and hope soon things will start to pick up for you.
    Keep popping in
    Take care
    juliepf x
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Did an answer, long, wiv pichers an everyfink and it's gone! Am going away to sulk. DD
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Karen and welcome to the forums.
    I try to take one day at a time. If I'm down and can't fight it I just have to go with it and hope tomorrow will be better. Although I don't always post here and have'nt been around so much lately I do get inspiration and support from everyone.
    My family and friends have also been supportive, I don't know what I'd do without them. I think it also helps that I've been able to keep working although I've cut my hours and money is'nt as plentifull as I'd like. It gives me something to focus on and I do enjoy it anyhow.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Right, I have stopped sulking. How one copes is very much down to one's personality - broadly speaking, I think that people fall into two fields, optimists and pessimists. I (thankfully, as far as I am concerned) am very definitely rooted in the former. Yes, I do have my down days and there are times when one does wonder about the unfairness, injustice and utter BARBARITY of one's cruddy life, then the mood swings round again and I cheer up.

    Do I resent my PA? YES.
    Do I loathe what it has done to me? YES.
    Does it make me angry? YES.
    Does it annoy me? YES.
    Does the constant pain from the affected joints get me down? YES.

    Is there any point in moaning? NO.
    Does self-pity get one anywhere? NO.
    Does whining on and on about it help? NO.
    Do I give in to it and let it win? NO.

    I clatter about on my crutches and pretend I don't mind - I do, but it means I can do more as I cannot walk without them. I haven't knelt down since 1997 - who cares? It's amazing how much one doesn't need to kneel if one can't. I haven't had a bath for years - I can get in, but not out, so what? I can shower - it hurts but I can do it, and who wants to soak in their bodily crud anyway? UGH. My PA is changing my body, and finding new ways to challenge and hurt me, but that is what it does. My PA looks like this: a045.gif but it hasn't - as yet- altered the essential DD. I won't let it, either.

    This is totally different to my first post, but I did stick a piccy in for you! The one thing that has made the biggest difference is finding AC. I was managing before, and managing OK but now I can manage so much better. I can come here and listen to others and try to help (I fail miserably on that front, for the most part!) and I can come here to rant, rave and let off steam about it all, knowing that people here will understand. This place has changed my life far more than the sodding arthritis ever will, I have 'met' some wonderful, inspiring and generous people on here and that is a marvellous thing. DD
  • Colin1
    Colin1 Member Posts: 1,769
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Keeping positive is no easy task and when your at the end of your tether and people say your looking well, or keep your chin up, my auntie mary had arthritis in her little finger and it never bothered her, at least you've got legs, you know there are people worse off than you,
    A want to thump them and it makes me feel so angery beause whemn i'm bad i dont really care how others are i just want to feel; better.
    However i see the humour in things and once i was at a party in a club in my wheel chair. The place was full of young people most them with mobiles stuck to thier ear. I started shouting i have a steel plate in my head and the radio waves where cuasing me pain. I never saw a mobile being used after that. LOl however there are all sorts of stages you go through depression being i think the worse. But hey keep your chin up


    When your in the deepest pit and the darkest place look up and you will see the stars
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    But only if it isn't cloudy. I prefer this one: the deeper sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. DD
  • gickygawky
    gickygawky Member Posts: 478
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Keren,

    I am also one of life's optimists so thought it was necessary to add my two bob worth! :)

    As for Arthurs 'gifts'...well, after some consideration there are a few (of sorts) that I can mention that have contributed to making my life better in some ways.

    These include:

    - Becoming a kinder, more compassionate person, having gained some understanding of what real pain feels like and realising I am so much more fortunate than so many people in this world

    -Realising I can be as tough as old boots when necessary and a much stronger person than I thought (and surprising various Doubting Thomas's, always a treat!)

    -Seeing how much the people close to me really care and being able to move on from those that don't

    -Moving to a small house in the country which has made life much easier. Country life is a treat and I love waking up to hear the ducks next door :)

    -I had to give up a job that I loved which was gut wrenching but now I am able to look after myself properly and not sacrifice my health for the sake of lining the pockets of some rich git (makes me very happy)

    -Arthur may hurt like hell and make my body not work but it won't kill me. My friend needs a new heart desperately and is on borrowed time. When I think of her situation I give thanks for my lot in life

    -Hmm...running short of points tonight as I feel quite rough but if I think of more I will add them later!

    Keep your chin up Keren!!

    Arna x
  • lindalegs
    lindalegs Member Posts: 5,366
    edited 23. Dec 2010, 07:56
    Hi Keren,

    Sorry that you've been through a divorce but glad to see you're quite positive about it. :grin:

    I've had RA for 24 years since I was 27. It's been terribly tough at times but I always bear in mind that a good day is just around the corner. I won't let arthur win because I'm a person not a disease and if life's a battle for me then so be it. Arthur won't kill me (though there've been times when I wished it would) and lovely things still happen in my life and that's what I hang on to.

    Take care and don't give in to it even though it's often the easier path to take.
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Karen
    Welcome to the forum......You'll find that we all have our down days......but we also have our up days as well.
    Down days we can come on here and complain and moan and people understand and up days we can also come on and try to help people having a down day.
    We dont take things fro granted as much.....we see people much worse than ourselves.
    In fact I was just watching the news and there there was a lady who has MS and had booked the holiday of a lifetime and it was cancelled because of the snow.....this will probably be her last holiday.....she has less than a year to live {MS but a liver disease as well} seeing that makes me thankful that I only have OA and its not likely to kill me
    Take care
  • tjt6768
    tjt6768 Member Posts: 12,170
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Keren, hope you're ok tonight....
    I think I am the eternal optimist :)) don't get me wrong this bugger of a disease gets me down a fair bit sometimes. I've had OA for years now in knees and spine, before that Osteochondritis, that started at about 13/14, after that was when the OA kicked in, had problems ever since, now 42.. Cannot remember the last 'pain free' day I ever had, lol.... See, I even find that funny :o x:D
    Like DD, I haven't knelt down for a long long time, since the Osteochondritis took my healthy knees away from me :( but I am not religious so haven't missed kneeling down.. I try to stay as positive as possible whenever I can. This place is definately a Godsend.. Especially since a recent diagnosis of RA was made for my hands/wrists. I know very little about RA so it's been good to ask questions etc..

    I do make myself think about folks worse than myself, OH has heart failure so that puts things into perspective sometimes. Can always be worse is my motto!

    Stay smiling hun
  • lupin15
    lupin15 Member Posts: 2,182
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Keren
    I am so glad that you have found this site and these wonderful people as i have. The answer to your question will probably be different for everyone but the one good thing about getting this condition has been having this site to drop into. I consider myself lucky although i have had quite complex heath issues i consider any extra time i have around a bonus with or without pain. My view is there is always someone else far worse off than you and you are a long time dead so i am making the most of it. It does drag me down some days when my body decides to fail me but i allow myself a little self pity and then give myself a swift kick up the back side. I am a newby compared to most of the people on site but they have been my saving grace when i was told that i had arthur. Use them have a moan on bad days...use the room to scream and welcome.
  • skezier
    skezier Member Posts: 11,333
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Keren,

    It can be really hard to stay positive at times, well often in winter actually.

    I am lucky have had bone stuff and other stuff since being a kid so don't know any different. Its easier that way but the other thing I do is basically head in the sand, pregabalin and loud music induced denial!

    I think we all have to find our own way and again I was lucky cus had a role model of self pity as a kid and vowed not to go that way either.

    I am sure you will find things sort out to some degree and never lose your soh cus that's when it really hits you.

    It's all personal and what works for one may not another but it does get easier flower it really does...... Not sure how convincing that sounds mind..... You hang in there and hopefully you will feel better soon. Cris x
  • jillyb1
    jillyb1 Member Posts: 1,725
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello from me too , Keren , my RA was diagnosed when I was 25 now 55 and still enjoying life . Of course there are bad days but life changes with you . For eg my hubby and I have always enjoyed concerts and the theatre ; we still go but now we get a fantastic view from the crip section ( wheelchairs ! ) and our ticket prices are lower as he is my carer ; last week we saw War of the Worlds - fantastic show . Try to be positive but if you can't do that , get on the forum again , there's always a few people on line to make you feel better Jilly
  • Jo Holland
    Jo Holland Member Posts: 7
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Keren,

    Like you I am new to this site and have had RA for 8 years now. Until the last 8 months I have been relatively pain free and then all hell broke loose, medication not working and not being able to lift anything, walk and sometimes talk because of the crying. I didn't want it to run my life so tried to fight it but only made things worse. Now I have finally accepted it and just taking each day as it comes. Just about to start Humira but that is on hold at the moment as I have a really bad infection. Keep smiling and don't let it get you down because as everyone has said before there are people a lot worse of then us. Have a fab Xmas and hope the New Year brings lots of positive thinking. x:P
  • tkachev
    tkachev Member Posts: 8,332
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Keren,

    I think you have to carry on doing some things you love.I miss doing gymnastics so a little bitter about that but I can still enjoy watching and following it. I used to love going to all niters and miss that too but still get out and socialise sometimes, I miss running after my children but they will love me despite this.You have to fill your days with nice things and appreciate nature and people.
    I also had a painful divorce. I went to pieces but then grew more independent and able to enjoy making choices for myself and my girls. Relish that Keren.
    And making friends on here and conversing on facebook is still enjoyable.
    I used to get angry when people didn't help, when they watched me struggle but understand now that unless you have an illness yourself you are not going to have compassion.
    Take care Keren and congratulations for moving on,

  • Keren
    Keren Member Posts: 29
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Wow - I'm blown away by how kind you all are! Thanks so much for all of your amazing and thoughtful responses.

    I guess the thing that worries me the most is how quickly the OA will progress - I started off with one sore finger joint in October last year and now most of my fingers and both thumbs have painful joints. That seems awfully fast in just over a year, and since I'm only 35, I'm really quite concerned about what state I'll be in in 10 years time. But hey, I guess I just need to learn life's lessons about living in the present, taking each day as it comes, feeling thankful for my blessings, etc. Just watched 'Batman Begins', and the line that really leapt out at me was "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up."

    Anyhoo, thanks once again for all of your kind responses. I plan to stick around!! I hope you all have a lovely Christmas!
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    None of us know how fast or slow our versions of this rubbish will spread. I began with one joint, that was from 97 to 03. Then the parallel joint joined in, then sure enough, one after the other, other joints found it was fun to twang and ping and annoy. None of us know - we are all different. I wish you well. DD
  • sunnyhours
    sunnyhours Member Posts: 151
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Attitude is everything! I don't know if anyone noticed but I post less and less on here, since I'm learning to cope with my Arthritis. I almost think of it as a blessing, weirdly enough I think it made me a better person on most days. I see life more positively than ever before since I had been depressed in the passed, even suicidal. Now, as I said, on most days I'm happy :) I'm still hurting obviously, more than before, but I figured that since no doctor will help me I might as well endure it and try not to talk about it too much as it only brings frustration. Of course, some days I can really be a prick but I get it's normal to get frustrated once in a while.
    I try not to think about it and it works pretty well I must say! I usually laugh at myself for being so pathetic at such a young age :))
    However I still think some pain relief would be a lovely Christmas gift :P
    Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone! x:P
  • CreekyJoints
    CreekyJoints Member Posts: 6
    edited 25. Dec 2010, 13:49
    Keeping positive is probably one the most difficult tasks that I've run into in these past few months. I've always been a pretty insecure person, but conditions like these have left me with even more insecurities. With that said, a wave of negativity flows over me and I'm instantly sad.

    One of the things I try to do to lift my spirits is repeat certain mantras. One of the mantras I'm constantly repeating is "don't worry about the things you can not change." What's the point in having a negative attitude when there's nothing you can do about it? You can either huff & puff or focus on the things that you make you great! I may not be able to be as active as I once was due to my arthritis, but I can try new things to occupy my mind. :)

    I never thought I'd see the day that I would be using a shower chair.
  • lavenderlady
    lavenderlady Member Posts: 409
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    having just had a new wrist joint put in on nov 2nd after years and years of chronic pain so much so I asked my surgeon to just cut my wrist and hand off but the op was a wake up call for me yes I suffered badly for years yes I have numerous other health worrrys which also casue me a great deal of pain and disability but for now I am so happy the wrist pain of OA has gone I saw my surgeon for a check up today and he is so delighted I can use it with out having any physio I did have problems with the op wound and hugh blisters etc but hey it works ok and best of all no pain yes!!!!
    I always think that even when told I have OA and sero neg in all of my joints have spondelothesis and spinal muscular atrophy ( muscle weakness and spasms) I still think there is always others worse then me even my DRs say I have the right attitude and they are happy I dont let it get me down but they dont see me when it does often get me down I brush myself down and get on with my life as best as I can, good luck x:rudolf x:)
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Its me again
    Just reading whart creakyjoints said about not worrying about the things you cannont change. Reminded me. The Serenity Prayer

    God grant me the grace to accept the things i cannot change
    The courage to change the things I can
    and the wisdom to know the difference.
    Even if you dont believe it still applies doesnt it?
    As for the OA is in weight bearing joint....hips, knees, back etcmostly hips and back.
    It progressed very slowly that I gradually made changes to thing i was to do them etc without even realising I was doing it.....Occasionally I would think.....Thatsnot how i used to do that but i had adapted.
    I've now had one hip replacement and they are working on my back, possibly the second hip replaced after the back is sorted.
  • annie_mial
    annie_mial Member Posts: 5,614
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I count myself as lucky now as I was over 50 when it hit me. What it did do was wreck my dreams and hopes for an early (and enjoyable) retirement following my hobby of dancing.

    I was resentful and angry for a long time, till I realised just how many people are worse than I am..........I had a good long innings without any health problems, so maybe it's just all been saved up for me.

    Far from retiring early, I finally retired in March this year at 66. Working at a job I loved was a lifesaver for me giving me motivation and incentives to get up and get going, but again I am the lucky one in that respect too.

    I have learned to set nothing in stone and to take each day as it comes; I have had a far better year than the last several years, and I am thankful for that.

  • Bookseverywhere
    Bookseverywhere Member Posts: 196
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Welcome Karen (and do have a good Christmas). As so many have said, few of us can be positive all the time, and most of us have bad days.

    I used to enjoy walking and climbing in mountains, and now all I can do is look at them. But I do have wonderful memories of walking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands (where I now live), Wales, Lake District, Pennines, the Swiss Alps, the French Pyrennes and the Rockies and Appalachians in America.

    Sometimes we just have to allow ourselves to be angry or to be upset. And sometimes most of us probably put on a brave face when we feel like screaming. However, a lot of the time I concentrate on what I can do, rather than on what I can't.

    Best wishes,
  • tillytop
    tillytop Member Posts: 3,460
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Keren and welcome from me too.

    Having read all the great replies from the other peeps I really can't think of anything to add. So just to say I think you sound as if you already have a really positive attitude which will stand you in good stead for whatever is to come.

    Happy Christmas!

    Love Tilly xxx

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