How to make friends with people with chronic pain

Hey! I just posted on the say hello section but wanted to come here to see if anyone wanted to have a chat or exchange some stories/symptoms?

ive never spoke to anyone with arthritis or chronic pain that is my age before and think it will help me in my healing process as I’ve struggled mentally quite bad this lockdown!!

I’m 22 and from Essex, I love makeup & art, love talking about interesting topics not just illness!! ❤️

Comments

  • jeddison1985
    jeddison1985 Moderator Posts: 120

    Hi @chloeday welcome to the forum and wider community.

    Firstly, well done for finding the strength to post and open up about what you are going through and being so transparent with how this has impacted your mental health.

    I can empathise with your situation a little as I first experience arthritis at 20. For me this was reactive arthritis at that stage. Like you implied, being young and having what was always perceived as a chronic illness that affected only older people, was initially a struggle to comprehend.

    My brother had the same experience four years earlier than me when he was 20. We have had remarkably similar paths but I had some foresight as to what might happen. He struggled a lot more mentally with it and couldn’t understand why it had happened to him.

    For me for about 8 years I really struggled to control my arthritis and latterly was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of inflammatory spinal arthritis. It impacted my life severely as a keen cricketer I was unable to play to the level I had previously, I got into a cycle of putting on weight which increased my pain. Failed on several medications and went into myself massively.

    I was then lucky enough to be put on biologic medication which was able to temper the pain, which gave me energy to exercise loose weight and feel much better mentally. This transformed my life and ensured a got to a place where I could balance my disease and my well-being.

    Only then did I start to feel comfortable with talking about it but now I wish I had earlier as unlocking that element combined with the medication and exercise gave me my life back.

    I am now at the point where I have experienced a number of years being completely pain free and in some form of remission. This gives me hope I can find ways to deal with this throughout my life, now 35 I can despite having AS enjoy everything I never thought possible with my daughter and wife.

    So I guess what I am concluding with is:

    • You are not alone, there are lots of people diagnosed young who face a life long battle.
    • I wish I had been able to reach out to others earlier in my journey.
    • There is hope and treatments get better all the time and a diagnosis is no longer for life you can manage a healthy balance.
    • Dont let your condition define you and as hard as it is a balanced mental health improves your physical health.

    Good luck and happy to try and help in any way I can.

    Joe