Two certainties make having RA difficult to discuss. A well-known fact is that since most of its symptoms aren’t visible, one becomes reluctant to discuss it as they’re a high chances others might not believe that you’re really sick.
The other problem is that it can be a letdown to discuss.
So just a few pointers which I follow:
Who do we tell :
There could be some amongst us who have a special inner circle and choose only to tell them as the trust and goodwill is apparent. I have noticed a few just want to share with any and everyone around as fear factor has set in maybe, whichever the route one chooses, one is the best judge of their own situation! So go ahead and plan your talk…inward and outward!
Deciding how much to tell…a situation at the office or home
The thing about discussing RA is that there’s quite a lot to discuss. The list of symptoms is unique to each person, but it can be very long. How much will you tell about your condition? You could be as brief as a quick declaration and definition: “I have rheumatoid arthritis. It’s an autoimmune condition that mostly attacks my joints.”
Beyond that, you could consider talking about how symptoms affect you. For example, “RA means I have a lot of pain and need extra rest.” Or, rather than talking about how RA affects you in general, you might choose to explain how you’re doing on a daily basis and how that might affect your abilities: “My RA is affecting my wrists today. Can you help me pick up these files?”
Of course, you can never know when meeting someone how they’ll react to your sharing, but you’ll probably pick up overtime on clues that someone feels overwhelmed with your news. Rather than talking to them, it might be appropriate to share written information on RA by directing them to a website or other resource. By doing so you automatically become an Awareness Warrior and the bonus is …you feel good by doing your bit…that is what I do!
Nobody can take away your pain, but don’t let pain take away your happiness.— Stephanie Walters