Hi all,

I'm writing to find others experiences. I'm 31 and was diagnosed with RA 2.5yrs ago after the birth of my second child. I class myself lucky as due to early detection and treatment I have very well managed pain and no joint destruction. I bob along on methotrexate injections, enbrel injections and thyroxine.

what i was hoping for if feedback with the emotions of it all. At my diagnosis I did go the the charity "Mind" to talk as I found it hard to not be able to play with my little ones, i was fatigued all the time and took it out on myself. It helps and I stopped going.

2 years on I still find myself very frustrated, I'm short tempered with the kids and have terrible pmt. I went to the doctors about it who suggested perhaps I was still angry with the RA and perhaps antidepressants might help.

I'm very lucky, i have a supportive husband who helps with all the domestic chores, great family and altered my work to help manage the RA, which I think is pretty steady and in DAS remission currently yet in still short tempered, get fatigued easily and do get very frustrated.

i think what I'm asking is dies anybody else feel like that? Does anybody speak to anyone regularly? How did they find them?

is thus a symptom of RA, the meds or me just being grumpy, because I really don't want to stay stuck like I am.

Any help or experience would be greatly received

thank you


7 Replies

  • Hi PJ,

    I have considerable experience with having counselling. I was diagnose with clinical depression in 2007 and asked my GP to refer me to a counsellor as I didn't want to go down the meds route. I did that for 3 months and was still struggling and at that point went on sick leave (six months in the end). I then also went down the road of anti depressants at the same time (fluoxetine - another name for Prozac). The meds zonked me out to start with but I got in to a routine with them and also kept up with the counselling. I was a much changed person when I returned to work. The meds I reduced to once every other day as I found taking 20mg every day too much for my system. This worked for me for 2 years and then I came off the meds and continued with the counselling (was once a week, then once a fortnight and finally once a month). I stopped the counselling some 2 1/2 years after starting it. I supplemented this with doing a PGCE in emotional education, Mindfulness training and meditation work ( I have a mindfulness weekend booked in November and some 7 years later I still find my self learning and emotionally grown). I have a repeat prescription for my fluoxetine but had not activated it for 3-4 years until March this year when I could fight the growing fatigue which was increasing taking a tighter grip over my life along with various joint pains. This my doctor, rightly , read as a cry for help and called me in with the advice of not to take the anti depressants until we had spoken..... That done he persuaded me that it may not be my depression returning and we went down the blood test route... All seemed fine re results and in May my knuckles started to swell so more blood tests until on 2nd July my GP said Alison I think I have an answer for why you're struggling and it's not depression but probably RA. For various reasons I couldn't get to the rheumy assessment until 2nd September ..... X-rays done, diagnosis confirmed and on the 8th put on meds steroid inject, Methoxetrate, folic acid and naproxen. I went sick on 1st of this month, confirmed with my school ( I teach special ed) my diagnosis and that I had asked my rheumy to refer me back to the counselling service.... Positive responses etc via emails and I'm due back to work on Tuesday... And in the mean time I get an email from occupational health as school as referred me... The meeting is next Friday (after I've returned to work... Go figure!) .... My point? All this and still no anti-depressant taken and no major lows -I know that when I get back into the counsellor's office I will speak frankly, sit on the floor and sob at the unfairness of it all and generally feel all that I am currently dampening down ( including the anger). I will get up, set the next appointment thank my counsellor for listening and leave the room feeling lighter and with space in me to hold my feeling in check until I return to do it all over again... It takes time but it gets easier and as the emotions are expressed in this 'safe' environment they become less intense and less intrusive on daily life...

    MY ADVICE? Go for counselling and be brave enough to use it to it's full. What have you got to loose other than a bunch of disruptive/ destructive emotions and the odd hour whilst possibly gaining a more emotionally even home life.

    Good luck


  • Hi. Sorry you have these outstanding issues despite having your RA officially well controlled. My kids aren't young anymore (youngest is 17) but I did have a lot of health problems when they were little and was often on a short fuse which I regret now -although I don't think it did them much harm - just a case of "there goes mum on a rant again!".

    I attend counselling now and it has helped me quite a lot - but unlike you I've not got anything well controlled yet. On the other hand the drugs you are taking might be making your fatigue worse and it's such a shock to the system to be polaxed by RA or drugs or both isn't it?

    When I was diagnosed three and a half years ago I'd had about 9 months of symptoms and uncertainty, recently lost both parents suddenly and had other longstanding issues that had not been addressed by me or by anyone else including my family.

    I have always thought of myself as an emotionally robust person but it has emerged from this counselling that I've also had to be a carer for a parent when I was a child, had to be a carer to two disabled younger sisters and a son on the autistic spectrum. I thought I was dealing with all this just fine until RA came along and turned everything on it's head!

    Now my RA has gone into hiding I think - not remission as my ESR and CRP are still raised/ high and I've got other autoimmunity going on that no one has yet diagnosed properly or addressed. I also have tried and failed to tolerate about 8 drugs to date including 3 DMARDs and two anti-depressants. This led one of my GPs to diagnose severe secondary depression (secondary to RA and drug intolerances/ medicalisation of my life etc) and refer me for counselling. However community mental health wrote back to her eventually, refusing to take me on because they only take on patients with primary mental health problems so suggested another antiD for me - which made my GP really mad!

    So she referred me instead to a local charity whose primary purpose is to counsel people with drug and alcohol problems. I see a counsellor at this charity about once a month - could do with more often I think but she's very over subscribed. I did see my other GP the other day and explained that I am feeling pretty low again now I'm off all RA drugs and waiting to see a neurologist about this extreme parasthesia. He suggested that the uncertainty, the current symptoms (bizarre and very depressing) and worrying about when RA might come back as well might be causing a recurrence of the depression. He has put me onto Gaberpentin at a low dose and says he will prescribe an anti-depressent if I feel I need one - but we are both hoping that this low patch resolves as the dosage is raised slowly and symptoms are treated.

    My counsellor is lovely and wise too but I'm a bit of a hard nut for her in that I tend to set up very good defenses in place and have a real horror of being told that anything is psychosomatic! I don't ever cry or really let go - partly because I have a pathalogical lack of tears but also because I've got used to rationalising everything and holding it all in. This may mean it's less useful than it should be and she does try to get under my skin sometimes but I just don't let her although I am honest about this and we do laugh about my inability to let go!

    She has given me a number to contact her if I get really bad again and I can email her for emergency appointments if I feel I need one.

    It is good to have a person to let it all go with (if only I could!) but at the same time I think I probably have more left over after each session than she can extract or absorb? I am determined not to take anti-depressants/ sleeping tablets again because my mum took them for many years and they affected both her brain and her heart. I do find aerobic exercise really helps lift me out of depression more than anything else because of the adrenalin rush, but I'm struggling with the fatigue and the powerful parasthesia that all forms of exercise result in. I know I'm lucky not to have much joint pain just now but to be honest I'd swap it for the uncertainty and the parasthesia any day.

    I do wish I'd been able to get counselling years ago because I think I'm a bit late for it now. Go and get some while you can - RA and all that goes with it needs talking through in order to make progress with family and the rest of your life.

  • Hi PJsorefeet,

    We have a publication that you may like to look at about emotions and relationships. I have put a link to it below for you:

    I hope you find something to help you in it,

    Best wishes

    Beverley (NRAS Helpline)

  • I think depression can be one of the symptoms of this disease. And that it may well be 'chemical' i.e. caused by the chemical off-shoots of the disease, similar to the way in which 'flu makes people feel miserable. That and the impact on our lives too, of course.

    I had appalling PMT all my adult life plus other symptoms that in retrospect were PsA I think. I'm pretty sure RA has the same kind of emotional impact. Go for counselling - it's not 'you' - I blamed myself for years - it's the disease and what it's doing to you in all sorts of ways. We all have to press the 're-set' button and doing so with determination can be extremely helpful.

  • I had Phone Therapy and it was the best thing I ever did!!! I could be totally honest and say how I really felt without upsetting family and friends. So its never too late to do it. If I needed help, I wouldn't hesitate to go down the phone therapy route again. Take care x

  • Hi everyone,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post. Your comments have been really helpful. I'm going to get back in contact and look for a counsellor before I go down any medication route, can always add it in if I need.

    fingers crossed Ill start to get back to my old self soon

  • Good luck and be sure to let us know how you're getting on.


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