I am a 31-year-old woman from Holland. Six years ago, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. My arthritis has spread to almost all of my joints and I am not able to work.
My story however begins many years before. From the time I was 4, I complained about pain; severe pain. But nobody, not even my parents, believed me. I was told a lot of things (it’s growing pain, you eat too little, it’s between your ears, you’re an attention seeker). I was told this so many times that for a while I believed I was an attention seeker and stopped going to doctors or hospitals. I never got the medication I needed or the help I needed.
This lasted until December of 2006. The pain in my elbow got so bad I couldn’t lift a glass. But still, I was scared to see a doctor. After a few weeks, it got so bad I couldn’t walk anymore. Well, within 2 months, I got my diagnosis. I lost the relationship I was in at the time, my parents never went with me to the hospital; but I got my self-respect back. I put up a fight that even I couldn’t believe. I got my bachelor’s degree, my own home, and a great man.
This fight also gave me the strength to take a look at my relationship with my parents (who are both alcoholics) and at this point I forgave them and I see it as something I had to learn. But even more importantly I forgave myself for abandoning myself, hating myself, and not believing in myself. I’ve learned to stand up for my self (something every woman should do) and I’ve learned that even though you can’t see something from the outside it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
I am still confronted with a lot of hard questions like should I have children? But I can handle the answers, whatever they are, and enjoy the small things. If I feel I am mistreated, I give the person who mistreated me hell! When I speak to women who are at that hard beginning and don’t know what to do with themselves, I tell my sisters to FIGHT! You know you, don’t let anyone else tell you what you feel, what you are, or what you should be. If you feel that there is something wrong, then there IS something wrong!
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.