Well here it is... I said I'd be open about absolutely everything. If this was going to be a written documentary about how arthritis affects daily life, I have to be completely honest so this post is going to be hard.
For me, perception is everything. I've always tried to hide what's going on in my body, put on a smile and some make-up and carry on and I think it's worked as even after writing a book about my illness, people are still sending me messages after reading this blog saying 'I can't believe you go through this'. So yes, I think I did a good job hiding it. I always make an effort to look presentable, make sure my house is clean, always have dinner on the table, never let anyone down and try and run a business to the best of my ability.
Well guess what... I can't do it anymore....
I used to get 1 or 2 flare ups a year and then they'd go away leaving me to enjoy a relatively normal life. This one has lasted 2 years and 3 months. I have literally been in pain every day for 2 years and 3 months with not one day of respite. I tried to keep going and keep going. I tried to keep working and not let any of my clients, colleagues or suppliers know what was going on but it is not an option anymore. For the first time ever, I have had to take a break from work because I am just too tired.
I have spent 28 years being positive. I learnt how to meditate 10 years ago and have been doing meditation, affirmations, positive thinking and power of the mind exercises for 10 years. I am too tired to do it now.
It has taken 28 years but I am finally too tired, and I have asked for help. I have always got through my illness with the support of my family and more recently, my fiancee too. They are really amazing, as are a few very good friends whom I can count on one hand. I could not get through some days without them - physically and emotionally. But now I've had to take one step further and look outside of my immediate support network for help. It wasn't my idea initially, everyone had told me I should get help - but I have always got by by being strong, being a perfectionist and being in control. But the lack of control I have in my own life has led me to feeling like this.
The pain got too overwhelming, the lack of control I have over my life and my body got to overpowering, and the tiredness became unbearable, and I started having panic attacks and fainting. Although I know it is nothing to be embarrassed about, I am someone who has just always coped, so is is very difficult to be going through this, and of course to write about it and tell the world when my one coping mechanism has always been to cover it up with a smile. Well I'm tired of putting on a brave face to make everyone else happy. I'm tired, in pain and struggling to cope emotionally but I know I'm not the only one. And I know that by getting the right help I will get through this.
In fact, the psychologist I started seeing yesterday told me he was shocked that after suffering with this for 28 years, I hadn't broken down before.
So there it is; the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - regardless of what colleagues, clients, friends or acquaintances read this, I know that the people who are going through the same thing who read it will not feel alone, and it is more important to help those people than to put on a brave face for people who don't know me and will never be a part of my life.
This is the first time in my life when I've allowed myself to sound anything but positive, and the first time I've been open about it, not wanting to spread negativity into the world. I am positive because I know I've taken the right steps to get better, in all ways, and I know I will. But for the moment I feel that being truthful is what will help ME more, a
nd for now it's about how to help ME.
Love and light to all xxx