ANXIETY AND RA: Has anyone any advice about controlling... - NRAS

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ANXIETY AND RA

achyknitter
achyknitter
14 Replies

Has anyone any advice about controlling anxiety? I have had a lot of family problems this year (the serious illness of my husband and my father dying) and it has become very obvious that anxiety has a tremendous effect on my RA. Thankfully my family issues are sorting themselves out but this has highlighted the anxiety I feel when I need to be well, especially for specific occasions. I am deeply concerned that I shall let people down, even my friends who I know totally understand and are more than happy to rearrange things to accommodate my flares. This started with my sister and parents believing all the encouraging things they read on line and thinking that my pain was self-inflicted because I would not eat a particular food or join the local gym or take up jogging, etc. - we have all read these supposedly inspirational stories of people with very different RA stories to our own. They understand now but it took a long time and has resulted in me worrying excessively if I have to be well for a particular occasion.

I have tried everything I can think of to stop being a worryguts and would welcome any suggestions anyone might have.

14 Replies
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JFlay

Hello, I think the psychological/emotional side of having RA or any other chronic condition is totally overlooked ☹️ perhaps your GP could refer you for a talking therapy like CBT if available? or refer yourself?

nhs.uk/conditions/stress-an...

All the best!

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achyknitter
achyknitter
in reply to JFlay

Thank you for the link - I did not know you could refer yourself for talking therapy. Thank you.

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J1707

Talking helps I find. We are lucky we have this site. People are so understanding and helpful. Unfortunately this is an unseen and often unspoken symptom of RA. Perhaps voicing your concern here might off load your mind even if we don’t have the answers. Every Little helps.

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oldtimer

Ask yourself why you have to be perfect? Can you let go a bit so that you accept yourself as someone with a long term illness who is always going to have problems meeting deadlines?

I know I have problems with this myself - I have always been a "No, I can manage, thanks" person when offered help.

You might need someone else to talk to about this to work out why you have this need within you to be so independent and someone others rely on. It's not a bad trait! We need people who are reliable and get things done, but it doesn't always have to be you...

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achyknitter

Thank you for this. I had been thinking that my problems were due to my inability to always do what I perceive I should be doing. Perhaps I need to turn this round and, instead of expecting myself to manage what should be possible within the bounds of a good day with RA, accept that bad days happen and learn to accept help when it is offered. Not easy after all these years.

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AgedCrone

You have to admit to yourself......that you are your first priority.

When I was first diagnosed I got paranoid about letting people down. I think at the time I didn’t think I was being particularly anxious but of course that is what it was.

The more I stressed about not being reliable & not able to carry on as usual the worse I felt....I refused to admit to anyone the nights I spent in agony & of course no sleep made everything worse.I panicked at every twinge in case it got worse & I had to cancel AGAIN.

As you say there is so much publicity about all these wonder people who climb mountains and run marathons while suffering from some sort of Arthritis... it just makes those who have no knowledge of RD/RA even less understanding !

It wasn’t until I was in so much pain trying to keep up my normal lifestyle that I just had to drop out of everything ....until things were better controlled. In other words I just looked after myself and stopped trying to look after everybody else’s needs.

Take a step back & think what is the worst thing that might (not will...might) happen if you have to cancel something at the last minute. There isn’t really much is there ? People you care about will know you haven’t cancelled something on a whim and they will understand .......but there will always be those who think they know better. Ignore them.

Amazingly life does carry on if we take a few hours off .

Have you shown your sister and parents some of the heart rending posts we get on here from people who just have nobody who understands, and are really desperate to help themselves ...but just have no idea how? Hopefully that would give them some idea of what you are coping with.Print a couple off & show them how it really is.

I hope you can take a step back....you sound as if you have a very caring family.....& realise they only want what is best for you......it’s just a case of letting them know what a terrible disease this can be if you don’t take good care of yourself....so tell them the truth when they ask how you are..,I’m afraid brave little soldiers are just left being brave.

So please try to stop being so anxious ......it’s amazing how much better you will feel if you stop trying to sort everybody else’s life for them....& concentrate on you.

Good Luck..

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Deeb2908

achyknitter be kind to yourself and take your foot off the gas and think about YOU for a bit you are allowed and NOT about what others think. x

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Nanna71

Yes, it does take something to get off the treadmill some (not all) have themselves on and who know it as their life experience. That's me, wielding a chain saw, cutting trees, living the pioneer life at 70 and then not even able to twist open a water bottle. I went from over achiever to 'wonder if I can change my position in bed without something hurting' way underachiever.

My RA was caused by anxiety and as you know, some things you just have no control over. I have no answers except what lessened my stress level was putting everything on the shelf - family, church, friends, expectations, and taking me off for some special and gentle treatment. Like I would give to others in my place. And about 10 copies of the 'spoon theory' to hand out to those who don't get it, and one for myself when I try to pick up the old way of doing things.

You are a precious human being and deserve some TLC with this life sentence of a disease. God bless.

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Hezekiah

It's probably not what you need but there was a programme on BBC4 Last night - Horizon - The Truth about Personality, where the presenter Dr Michael Moseley was trying methods to help him in his personal fight against insomnia and excessive anxiety. Might be worth a look for you?

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achyknitter

Thank you for this, I shall try and find this to watch as it sounds interesting and I might get an idea or two from it. Thanks.

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Ajay575

Hi as above replys if possible through gp a referral to a psychologist 1 to 1 would really help in this situation would be my first choice if not the CBT is good advice and sometimes if any in surgery senior occupational therapist is really good

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Azabat

I use CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and it helps me immensely, but I too think the mental health part of chronic illness is overlooked. This is not your fault, nor is not being able to be well on command. It sounds like perhaps your family needs its own CBT training. I’m sleepy so I don’t know how helpful it is, but I hear you and I’m glad you’ve found us.

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Mmrr

I would agree with all the good advice given above. I've had to learn over the past few years just to let things go and concentrate on being as well as I can be. For me that means doing things simpler and a bit less of everything.

One of the big things I've learned is that much of what we see as important or necessary isn't.

It doesn't matter if plans have to change, or the floor isn't washed so often.

What does matter is feeling well and being with people who care about you, which can be achieved with a cup of tea and chat in your sitting room as much as it can it a fancy place out that's noisy, crowded and has put a great strain on you to get there.

Be kind to yourself.

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achyknitter
achyknitter
in reply to Mmrr

Thank you for your message. You are so right. I have already taken a few steps along this path; I have signed my husband up to a community taxi service to save me having to be well enough to drive him to appointments and friends are now coming to me on the understanding that any food has been frozen and they might have to put it into the oven and take it out. No one seems to mind.

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