Anxiety and arthritis

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Hi, I am 27 and was first diagnosed with JIA when I was 6, this went in to remission but sadly came back when I was 18, I have really battled with the condition since and have tried a long list of medication - some working slightly and some not at all. At the end of 2022 I started infliximab which seems to really work for the first 2/3 weeks and then stops and I have a really bad flare up (like now). I feel the rollercoaster of being so good then the next day can barely walk has really heightened my anxiety, I get so worked up and anxious about any plans to the point I want to just cancel anything I have planned and stay at home but this just not like me! I’ve also got really bad health anxiety. I was just wondering if anyone else experiences this and how they manage? It would be great to talk to someone similar age to me, thank you!

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  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 1,003
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    Hello @MelissaClegg95,

    Arthritis doesn’t just affect our physical health - it impacts on our emotional health too. It helps to chat to others who understand what we’re going through and You’ve found the Young People’s community - that’s a good start and hopefully other young people will make contact with you. I’ve listed some of our other members from the Young People’s community who have also said recently that they’d like to chat with others - hopefully they’ll respond to you and you can share your stories:

    @Auksev @Becca22 @Rachibob89 @sandrosandrosandro

    The Versus Arthritis website has got some information on looking after your emotional health - I’ve linked to it below:

    Do keep in touch and let us know how you’re getting on,

    Anna ( Moderator)

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm


  • Rachibob89
    Rachibob89 Member Posts: 17
    edited 12. Apr 2023, 06:16
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    Hey girl I’m 33 and have Rheumatoid Arthritis, I feel you here and the head space you’re in. It’s a lot and all off how we feel is valid, I always used to go out with friends and mostly for tea but it’s hard 🙃 I went spiralling mentally cause you just think why me? However we can’t change it and I called it greaving for my old life/body but we have to do we can process our new lives and when we go out we probs need 2 days recovery and giving yourself that validation and not saying no to the one that you want to go to the most. Talk to people around you and the more they understand what we have the more they want to try and adapt ☺️ We have totally got this xxx

  • Melissa26
    Melissa26 Member Posts: 7
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    Thank you @Rachibob89 it means a lot! To say I’ve had it from a young age I’ve found since covid it’s really effected me and I’ve just become very aware of it and let it take over! I try to stay social but recently I have not felt up to it. I also used to not tell people I had arthritis due to the worry of what they’d say but I think I’m slowly realising it’s best to just be honest about it so people are aware! Thanks again for you reply 😊 x

  • Rachibob89
    Rachibob89 Member Posts: 17
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    It’s okay if you haven’t felt up to it don’t put too much pressure on yourself your doing amazing 🥰 and be nothing but honest I have got so much more over being closed and moody about the situation. I hope you start to feel better 💜

  • SherbetDab
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    Hi @Melissa26 I'm 30, diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis 3 years ago although I'm sure I've had it most of my life! Throughout my teens and twenties it was always in the background but I somehow managed and dealt with fatigue & pain a lot better than I do currently. For me I think real world stresses set me off -- ten years ago I couldn't have cared less about some of the things I do now! And like you, I feel I've gone downhill after covid. I never caught it but I think lockdown stressed me out more than I care to admit.

    I'm writing this on another Friday night of cancelled plans although I've been out quite a bit lately as a lot of my friends are turning 30. As @Rachibob89 said try not to put too much pressure on yourself about cancelling plans. I've told a few of my closest friends about my situation and they get it if I cancel last minute. I was never going to tell anyone but my missus forced me! Something about blokes not opening up enough and to try it 😂💪🏻 of course she was right and the people I have told have been more than understanding.

    We have (or had) quite an active social life and usually go out together quite a bit and she has been an absolute godsend through this whole thing - in fact she's the only one I really care about if I cancel plans cos it means she usually ends up not going either and sitting in with me I feel awful sometimes.

    My latest flare up has been ongoing since January -- I think I overindulged over Christmas on booze and crap food. I haven't touched a drop of alcohol since Christmas. I was quite known among my friends for liking a drink and a good time so imagine their surprise when I've turned up to a party with my car! If we were meeting up in a pub my first question was always 'what's the Guinness like?' now it's: 'is there a car park?' 😂

    My point is sometimes we can feel pressured into going out and having to be seen having a good time and a drink - I don't know if you ever feel this way? But I've found by taking my car I've got a quick exit, plus as soon as I get in the car I feel I'm already half way home. No hangover in the morning is always good too! Sometimes I say to myself I'll go out but only for a few hours - if you can hang around til 10/10.30 most people are smashed by then and think you stayed all night anyway 😂

    As for health anxiety I get that too, although I've never admitted it to anyone 🤫 and I think I could write another essay on that subject. Maybe that's one for another day.

    I hope some of this helps and you feel better soon!

  • Melissa26
    Melissa26 Member Posts: 7
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    Thank you so much @SherbetDab i 100% have experienced all what you have said!! I have also stopped drinking and the amount I’ve got questioned over this is crazy! I prefer to drive now as I know I can get home when I want instead of waiting for a taxi in the cold (which doesn’t help the joints). I am yet to master saying no to plans, I’ve realised I’m a people pleaser and don’t like letting anyone down but this only affects me in the long run! I think I need to stop trying to juggle a million things as I think stress/anxiety is not helping my condition at all! Thank you for you message it’s really helps hearing from people that are similar age, in a similar position! P.s very happy to read the paragraph about health anxiety!!

  • Kizzy87
    Kizzy87 Member Posts: 2
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    I'm 35 and I've just diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (Although my symptoms began from age 11).

    I can relate to what you said, It's hard to make plans when you don't how you are going to feel from one day to the next. I like to go horse riding but I need to book and pay in advance so I really hope and pray I'll be ok on the day! I do get down about it and also struggle with anxiety and depression. A chronic condition really puts a strain on you mentally too.

    I'm not getting on with the medication either, the NSAIDS seem to ruin my stomach :(

    I've found that my diet plays an important role in managing my condition, sugar seems to really worsen the inflammation. I've even considered fasting after reading about all the health benefits and how it can reset your immune system (I wouldn't recommend anyone do this without doing the research etc and if you have other health conditions or blood sugar issues you'll need to be careful and maybe talk to your doctor first.)

    I agree with being open and honest about your condition with others and try to process and accept your reality. Hopefully we can learn to manage our condition better and it will then help with the psychological side of things too. I try to carry on as normal as possible but be kind to myself when I really can't do something.

  • Melissa26
    Melissa26 Member Posts: 7
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    Hi, really appreciate your comment! Sorry to hear your medication isn’t working either! I guess you agree that it is just a viscous cycle -meds don’t agree - flare up - anxiety, all feeding in to one!! That’s good about your diet and if im honest my diet is something I really need to work on. I just feel quite overwhelmed with everything at the moment to even focus on things!

    hope you get to find something that works for you 😊