Arthritis: Coping, Support, and Living Well

Living positively means just getting out of bed with the hope that the day, week, month, or year will get better.

Arthritis: Coping, Support, and Living Well Positivity is different every day.


Some days, living positively means just getting out of bed with the hope that the day, week, month, or year will get better.


Other days, positivity looks like swimming, doing an online workout, taking a dance class, going to a movie, jogging, or having an outdoor barbecue party.
Positivity can sometimes be completing seemingly simple tasks that, for RA patients, sometimes feel impossible: making the bed, drying your hair, walking your dog, cooking dinner for your family, driving your car, typing, sleeping, texting a friend, or taking a quick shower.


RA is a serious, costly, and at times debilitating medical condition — there’s no two ways about it. Some days one can miss a deadline and whine and lay on the couch with ice packs and heating pads and anger.


Living positively in the face of all that is not about wearing proverbial rose-colored glasses. It’s about making the best of the cards we’ve been dealt; with whatever energy we can devote to it on any given day.


It’s about being humble and gracious in knowing that our best could look different day to day or hour to hour.


There’s a time and a place for positivity
Don’t get me wrong, overt “fake” optimism isn’t good. The culture of toxic positivity — or pretending everything is OK when it isn’t — is rampant.
While a mindset oriented toward optimism may benefit the mental health of people living with chronic illness, it’s important to give yourself the time and space to feel whatever it is you’re feeling, even if it isn’t all good vibes all the time.


Being ill is not something most would wish for, but living with an illness or disability is also nothing to be ashamed of. We’re allowed to feel however we feel about our condition on any day, because those feelings are nuanced and complex. They might change, and that’s fine and to be expected.


Like our symptoms, our feelings about our health and our bodies may ebb and flow, lull and flare. One needs to ride those waves. One needs to choose to find beauty, choose to find things to be grateful for each and every day, to look at all the blessings around you and know that you are so much more than your illness. This is what we all should mean by living a positive life while chronically ill. For sure our body and life aren’t perfect — but they’re us. And that, should mean a world of a difference!