By nature I’m not a positive person. My thoughts tend toward the darker side of things. I’d imagine a psychologist would say something about this being a result of being an ill child. I don’t know about all that. My favorite poet says it best I think: “Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” (WB Yeats). As an amateur student of Irish history and Irish literature I’ve concluded that we are, as a people, more on the gloomy side of things. We embrace sadness and woe and turn it into things like beautiful poetry, art and literature.
So I try to do that very thing with my poor health. Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis has never, ever, ever been good. It has been pain, disappointment, loss, loneliness and so many other bad things. And being 80% Irish (the rest is Scottish and German FYI) I tend to dwell a bit too much on all that badness. I wrap my losses and hardships around me like a blanket and wallow.
And then I turn all of that….crap into something better. I’ve had to give up a lot (A LOT) because of RA’s effects on my body. But I’ve gained so much. I’ve found a support group of wonderful, loving women that sustain me and understand me when no one else is capable. By giving up sports and most physical activities I’ve been able to dedicate myself to writing, photography and other things. I’ve even taught myself to knit. I know that had I been healthy I would never have done things like go back to school for a masters, travel to Ireland twice or find my birth family. I would simply have never slowed down enough to do any of those things.
RA still spins me off balance regularly. And I will probably always struggle with those dark thoughts (that often walk the line between sad and depressed). Hopefully though, through writing and other healthy outlets I’ll be able to right myself and find the good in the bad.