RA as an identity?

because there are times that people really make me wonder.  Do they really feel this bad, or are they just trying to use their disease as their identity?  There are people who need exactly the opposite of encouragement and validation, they need me to make them believe they are more than just a disease.  They seem to feel that if they didn’t have the disease, they wouldn’t know who they were.  This is especially common in diseases that people feel the need to convince others of the reality of their symptoms.  I had a woman with Lupus complain about having to fight the perception that she was exaggerating her symptoms for sympathy.  I also have people who don’t let 2 sentences go by without mentioning their pain or their disease.

– Dr. Rob on Musings of a Distractable Mind

I feel that a cling on too much onto my diagnosis, and in some sense, let it become a strong part of my identity. Reading this from Dr. Rob’s blog probably hit a raw nerve, i guess.

I have been asked before why i was so open with my condition. Well, i have never really thought about that because i am generally a very casual and open person, and i’d most probably tell my friends many things about myself, as some of you can tell. Telling people about my RA is just another fact about myself that i am willing to share. I figured that people needed to know more about it, because honestly, RA is a very misconstrued condition even within the healthcare community.

But on hindsight, and after reading Dr. Rob’s post, i think there might other reasons quite unknown even by yours truly. Maybe i’ve let it become a true part of my identity and thus it is who i am. Maybe i’ve been so consumed in it that i feel insecure if RA wasn’t a part of my life. And yes i believe that i seek validation and affirmation everytime i see my rheumy. I want her to believe that i am not ok, and that i need more help; that i am not overplaying my symptoms, nor attracting attention. Because if i were to be ok, i wouldn’t need to see her, nor any other doctor for that matter. And that if i didn’t have RA, i wouldn’t be be ‘special’.

It is so ironic actually. Such a big part of me hates RA and many things that entails, yet i let it define who i am. *hmm*

Well. What would happen if i were to be told one day, that i do not have rheumatoid arthritis? Some food for thought, Steph!


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