Wednesday, January 25, 2006

breaking the negative impact of rhematoid arthritis

I must stop procrastinating

I know that I must start procrastinating and really immerse myself in my work. However, I spot a terrible trend here, one vicious cycle that repeats itself over and over again.

I now develop and anxiety just at the thought of doing my thesis writing. All the positive vision of me completing me dissertation and become “Dr” gave way to the typical cycle of pain. Yes, pain.

For the past one year, I have succumbed to attacks of fibromyalgia(?) Arthritis(?) that left me weak, aching all over and remain in bed for weeks. Yes- weeks. My last “attack” was before Christmas and I only got better last week. Just as I pick myself up and start “work again”, the symptoms came back after a few days. I spent another few days in bed.  I really hate my health, and sometimes I would like to cry really hard about it, but just told me self to not be a wimp. This illness has not only taken away all my physical energy to write my dissertation, it also took away all the mental and emotional strength. It crumbled me- reduced the young woman who was known as “iron lady” by her classmates because of her strong will to just a pile of shit. Yeah- that is how I feel about myself.  
People just do not understand the degree of psychological damage these repeated attacks have done to me. I feel ruined by it.

Luckily I still have not lost my weird sense of optimism and ability to see the silver lining. (Actually, it is my unwillingness to let myself go through so much without feeling that I have gained something from it- that will be too unfair to myself) The silver lining in this case is my ability to fully empathise now with people with mental illness. I was not particularly emphatatic (note- it is not sympathetic) about people who let themselves delve into depressing and painful past, and let the emotional and mental pain last longer that the physical ones. To me, (and to most of the “intelligent, high EQ” people I know), one must will oneself to get out of the rut and soldier on. Stoicism is the order of the day. There was not much space for wimps.

Now that I fully understand the impact on a person’s psychology, let me put this new insight into good use. People like me will be shy to relate this anguish that I feel to anyone, and sad to say- even my beloved other half. Yes, it is that lonely, that sad. I do not expect to be understood. All the man on the street- including my family and friends who are medical professionals -only have this broad “depression” and “mental illness” concept that is widely championed by the mass media in the past couple of years. For them to think that I have “depression” will break their heart.

I know that I have. It is not depression, for I am an otherwise happy and optimistic person.  I have negative reinforcement for a particular course of action for the past 5 years, so much so that I do not dare to work on my papers, and subconsciously delaying a return to work after an attack.

Work hard on thesis( arthritis and fibromyalgia attacks ( widespread pain/ loss of energy( further delay on writing

I am sure even as I am writing this, many people would be suffering to different degrees of this negative reinforcement, and this is not just arthritis. I remember my grandma stopped exercising and brisk walking after a few falls- even when she was still physically able to. Lots of other diseases will also impact on the patient this way.

This understanding that I get must be voiced out, so that people do not need to suffer in silence anymore.  For the sake of advancement of understanding of people who are chronically ill, I must complete my PhD and continue to make contribution to the advancement of this area. Yes, I must soldier on.    

No comments: