Hi all. Because I take enbrel, I signed up for Enliven services--some of you probably are signed up as well. In any case, the most recent magazine Enliven sent me had a good article about asking for help from those closest to you--without making them feel bad. Just wanted to share some major points with you.
1) It's ok to tell loved ones that you are feeling bad, but save most of the gripes for the rheumatologist and focus more on the positives with family.
2) Be very specific. If you need help with gardening for example, ask for your loved one to dig the hole, and you will help with the actual planting
3) Make sure you share the good times with your family. When you're feeling better, make sure to include loved ones in your relief and newfound joy with doing things that you hadn't previously been able to do.
4) Acknowledge the sacrifice your loved ones have made since you've been sick. When you're feeling better offer to do something with them that you hadn't previously been able to do (e.g., bike riding, hiking)
For me, asking for help is a very difficult thing to do. I've always considered myself very independent and strong. My twin pregnancy was the first time in my life that I really needed to depend on my husband for help. Since my joint issues (I hesitate to call it RA, even though that is my official dx) have surfaced, I've had to ask for even more help from my husband. I don't know what I would have done without him. If I hadn't initially asked for his help and support, our relationship would have most likely disintegrated.
I thought the above tips made a lot of sense. I always make sure to tell my husband when I'm hurting, but I'm afraid if I share a lot of my fears all of the time, it will completely turn him off. I also don't like to complain all of the time. It's not his fault that I hurt. I think it's important for significant others to know a bit about what's going on with you, so that they understand that you do need help. Otherwise, they may minimize your symptoms and not take you seriously. But again, there's a fine line between sharing a few bad moments, and complaining all of the time.
Having RA, or something similar, has really changed my outlook. I'm no longer afraid to feel vulnerable and ask for help.
Current dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Suspected dx: Early Lupus/MCTD; Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Current Meds: Enbrel, Plaquenil, Aciphex, Ultracet, Zyrtec, Allavert-D, Zantac, Tylenol PM
Past Meds: Relafen, Vioxx, Mobic, Voltaren, Sulfasalazine, Entocort, Prednisone, Humira, Reglan