Keeping A Positive Attitude
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~ Winston Churchill
Educate yourself. Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn about your disease. This is usually the first bit of advice offered to a newly-diagnosed arthritis patient.
Sound advice for sure. But that same kernel of advice can trip up some patients when they stumble across words like "crippling", "disabled", and "deformity". Scary words, which when combined with the uncertain and unpredictable prognosis associated with many types of arthritis, can leave a person feeling:
- bound by limitations
- consumed by negative thoughts
- fearful of the future
A preoccupation with the future not only prevents us from seeing the present as it is but often prompts us to rearrange the past. ~ Eric Hoffer
Almost immediately following the initial diagnosis, an arthritis patient wishes they could foretell the future and know what effect the disease will have in 5, 10, or 20 years.
Unfortunately, that information does not exist and the thoughts of the arthritis patient must be re-directed toward:
Positive anything is better than negative thinking. ~ Elbert Hubbard
Each negative emotion which surfaces, although justified, must be replaced with positive feelings of being:
Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. ~ Katherine Mansfield
My experience of living with rheumatoid arthritis, and having a spouse who also has the disease, has taught me what positive attributes are necessary to manage life with a chronic disease. High moments and low moments speckle the life of someone living with arthritis. Life with arthritis is a continuum of peaks and troughs. To survive in the troughs, you must harbor these positive attributes:
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. ~ John Quincy Adams
Finding the most effective course of treatment for an individual patient can be difficult. The best course of treatment is that which allows you to have the best quality of life. It can take a long time:
- Which arthritis drugs will work best for me?
- What about natural therapies?
- Should physical therapy, massage, or relaxation techniques be utilized?
Often through trial and error, using a combination of old and new treatments, including traditional and complementary medicine, the best course of treatment will be established. Since finding the right combination can be an arduous process, patience is imperative.
Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer. ~ Author Unknown
While trying various therapies, the patient must be committed to whatever schedule has been decided upon by their doctor.
Sticking to a routine gives the patient the best chance for deriving benefit from a particular treatment. Deviating from a chosen treatment plan by missing appointments or skipping medicine dosages is counterproductive.
The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
Overcoming the difficulties and challenges of living with arthritis requires perseverance.
Adaptation and assistance may be required, but giving up cannot be considered an option. You must avoid the trap of a completely sedentary lifestyle. Remaining as active as possible helps to maintain strength, flexibility, and general well-being.
Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
Living with arthritis, day after day, takes courage. Enduring the unrelenting pain and hardships caused by the disease requires a tenacious spirit. You must remain dauntless and do whatever it takes to improve. For example:
A good rheumatologist will be eager to be a partner with the patient who exhibits patience, commitment, perseverance, and courage. Think about it. How can a rheumatologist be effective if a patient does not bring these positive attributes to the table? Without these positive attributes, the doctor and patient fight each other as opposed to both fighting the disease.