[RA & Depression] Battling Rheumatoid Arthritis Depression with Laughter

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fight depression with humorBattling Rheumatoid Arthritis Depression with Laughter

by Niki Wyre


Ever feel like you are a warrior getting ready for battle just getting ready before bedtime? First there is the bedtime meds, followed by the biofreeze or icy/hot you apply. Once that dries there are ace bandage wraps, wrist, elbow, or knee braces. Then you pull out your pillow that hopefully meets the requirements for your pain location for the day. Sometimes it is a neckroll, or a pillow between the knees, even elevated ramps for legs… Hopefully you are settled into a nice orthopedic bed or mattress pad that lets you find a somewhat reasonable position to get the lowest level amount of pain to sleep. It is no dissimilar than a knight or gladiator putting on layers of armor or feasting before going into battle when you think about it is it? I mean I think their movements in all the armor had to be pretty restrictive right? Also, I’m sure it definitely didn’t tickle either so there had to be some discomfort.

So I have now decided that my evening rituals are akin to me donning my superhero uniform. I mean it is definitely a far cry from my old bedtime habits of brushing teeth, washing face, and applying lotion every night but we do what we have to do to keep going. I often find myself wondering if from the outside looking in, that I would look like the invisible man donning ace bandages to look and pass as a normal guy. Of course then I giggle out loud and whoever is nearby looks at me like I’m a little bit crazy, but what’s wrong with that? I think we all have to have a bit of humor to get through everything that incorporates Rheumatoid Arthritis. For all the nasty we deal with, battle back with some humor. I know it’s what keeps me sane during the worst of times.

I do receive email messages from time to time from people not understanding why I sometimes post things that are humorous like making “Med Art” out of my medicine doses or joke about monster knees. They can’t seem to fathom why humor has a place with Rheumatoid Arthritis. In truth, if I can make one more person smile against the pain a day… I feel like I’m doing a good thing. When I see that I’ve made my fellow Chickies or Roosters laugh, I smile. So maybe it’s a little selfish because who doesn’t want to smile more?

About 9 out 10 patients with RA are treated for depression or anxiety at one time or another. That is a crazy amount. So what’s the best way to cheer up someone with depression? For me, it’s silliness. So forgive me if sometimes I feel a little giddy or post silly things. It’s my way of reaching some of you that may be in a dark place at the moment and need a little sunshine.

I ask of you that when you are feeling good or even if you need a little pick me up; post something positive or funny or silly on the RA Chicks facebook wall. Something that can make even one more person smile, because believe me it’s worth it. As always, I wish you all a pain-free week and if you ever need me, you know where to find me!


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1 comment… add one

  • Amy Crow

    August 18, 2012, 3:26 am

    Niki, your comments made me smile and actually giggle. I deal with so much chronic pain from so many different sources, it is often hard to tell if it is the RA, OA, degenerative arthritis, sciatia, neuropathies, or what is hurting! LOL! It took my rheumy all summer to decide that I actually was out of remission (almost 2 1/2 years, hooray!) and my RA was active again – although I knew it was this time. I had to go to 3 docs, had X-Rays, MRI’s, CAT scan, numerous blood tests, before she could make up her mind. Now I am waiting on Medicare and AARP’s United Health Care to approve Actemra – which could take a long time! But it is out of my hands and I have decided not to obsess over this or lose sleep over it. I am trying to have a good belly laugh @ least once a day starting today. You inspired me – I used to do that before when I was active and I had forgotten how healing laughter was! So I will try to find silly movies on TV or if I need to, rent them, or find them on the internet and watch them, or call up my middle daughter and ask her what my 2nd youngest grandson has done today. His name is Sloanne and we call him Sloannie Balony as he is sooo funny! By the way, I have 3 daughters, 8 grandsons, and 1 great granddaughter. I am so blessed and lucky to be alive. My life has not been easy @ all but my immediate family (not my family of origin) is very special to me.

    However, not being able to work because I was disable with RA was very difficult for me. I am a RN and it was my calling! I was very depressed that I couldn’t do what I knew I was called to do. I had no idea how much my idenity was tied up into my profession! The loss of income was difficult, too. On top of that, my three small grandchildren arrived on my door step (or go to foster care), and I began to remember some horrific childhood abuse (so I cut off my family of origin immediately – they lived out of town). I called upon some reserve of strength that I never knew I had, a great psychiatrist (whom I still have today), a wonderful therapist (whom I don’t have today but have another who is equally as wonderful), and different anxiety and depression meds that were God sends. I somehow made it through, parented the best I could with a lot of help from sitters, their therapists, (one grandchild was very disabled), the help of my friends who made me laugh! I went to the support groups that I needed, was taking pretty good care of myself until a cross county move for my DH’s job change!

    Then gardening saved me! LOL! The love of dirt and fake nails saved my sanity! My RA went into remission until we moved back to the Midwest in 2011 – one month before 9/11. My youngest daughter worked 5 blocks from the White House and lost a dear friend in the Pentagon crash. We, of course knew all the places and were shocked. We had begged her to come back with us (of course not knowing what would happen) but she liked her job. I am becoming too yakky!!!!

    Anyway, laughter has saved not only how I deal with RA and chronic pain but literally my life. I have to laugh @ my life and its circumstances or I would be in a constant pity party. God gave us laughter for many different reasons – to enjoy life of course, and also to lighten up its load!

    Good article, Niki. Write some more!!!


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