We all want to believe in a better future but trying to be positive about the future isn’t easy when the present is so hard. The feelings of hopelessness, sadness and loneliness are so strong it’s hard to believe I will overcome them. I want to believe things will get better but I can’t. Struggling through depression the last few years has been difficult enough, but now I’m suffering with an actual physical illness that I’m finding really hard to cope with. I wish I was strong enough to deal with the daily struggles I am faced with, but having been depressed for about eight years now I haven’t the emotional strength or the spirit I need to help myself.
Before I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I didn’t really know what it was; I still don’t fully understand it. I knew it was a condition that affected joints and caused pain, but I didn’t realise that it affected your whole body; your joints and muscles, immune system, organs and skin. I didn’t realise that this constant exhaustion I am feeling is a part of it or constantly feeling generally unwell. I was confusing a lot of the symptoms with depression symptoms and couldn’t understand why I was having all those feelings again when I had come so far. My lack of interest in doing anything, my struggle to get up and get going every day, my struggle to stay focused on my daily tasks, was this me being completely depressed again or is it part of my arthritis? Has my arthritis caused my depression to take a massive step backwards or is my depression making my arthritis seem worse than it is? Maybe it would be easier to deal with if I knew for definite that it was all part of a physical condition because eventually I will find the right treatment and all these feelings will be cured. But if it’s all part of being depressed I’m not sure if I can find my way back again.
It’s been almost a year now since I was diagnosed and I’m not feeling any better despite all the medication I’ve been on. In fact, if anything I’m worse. I have pains now in places I didn’t have last year. Some days parts of my body refuse to work and when they do work the pain can be almost unbearable. The pain I feel is hard to describe; it feels like I have hot broken glass going through by bones or hot nails stabbing into my bones. I still feel as exhausted as I did over a year ago and I still have that feeling of pressure in certain areas, which I now know is inflammation of tissue, not a heart problem which I thought I had due to the constant pressure I had in my chest. I know finding the right treatment can take time; some people are lucky to find something that helps them straight away. I, on the other hand try things that give me all the side effects, like constant nausea and losing my hair, and none of the benefits. I am now waiting to start a new medication and I hope that this will be the one that will suit me. I want to be positive about starting something new but I don’t want to get my hopes up either so I’ll just have to see how it goes.
If this new treatment works out then maybe I can start doing things that will help my well-being like walking and some other forms of exercise, which at the moment I feel unable to do as I’m too exhausted. I might also be able to do a few social activities. One of the things that really get me down is the fact I have lost contact with a lot of friends. I’d love to be able to go out more and spend more time with friends but I just don’t have the energy. Now they have all moved on with other friends and plan things without me and while this upsets me, I can’t really blame them. They don’t understand how I’m feeling so they probably think I’m just not interested in doing what they’re doing. I really miss having a laugh on a night out and having a good chat with friends. Hopefully if I start to feel better I’ll have those nights again.