Connecting with others, including other patients

Connecting with others, including other patients

If you’re feeling self-conscious or unhappy, missing out on social activities or taking time off from work or school because of your PsA (psoriatic arthritis), this can take a toll on your relationships. If the people in your life don’t understand what you’re going through, how you’re feeling or what they may be able to do to help, it may feel as if a wedge is being driven between you. And if things are difficult with those you already know, meeting new people may feel even harder. Things you may have once taken for granted may now seem impossible, like the prospect of being romantic or intimate with a new partner. While all of this could make you feel lonely or isolated, please remember that you are not alone.
“I used to let it stop me from going about my life, but I refuse to let it get in the way anymore.”*

Open up

Talking about your PsA with others may be daunting, especially if you’re used to hiding it, but having a conversation could make you feel free and boost your confidence. It could also help you get the support you need from those around you. There’s no pressure to do so, but if you want to have a dialogue with a friend, family member or colleague, here are some general tips about where to start:45

  • Choose a way you feel most comfortable with, such as email or face-to-face
  • Decide on a time when neither you nor the other person are busy
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for support, e.g. devices to make your workspace more comfortable or time off for doctor’s appointments, or for students, extra support to get back into studies after time off or tailored sports - think about what it is that you need
  • Have an objective in mind – do you need them to understand what you need, why you may feel down or why you sometimes can’t socialise?
  • People will often ask questions, so read up on the facts and have some answers prepared – this website is a good place to start!
It takes courage to have tough conversations, but might be helpful to open up

It’s also very important to be open and honest with your healthcare professional – this could ensure you’re on the right treatment for you, so that your PsA doesn’t get in the way of you living your life exactly as you choose.6

Want to make the most of your doctor’s appointment?

If you are experiencing symptoms, or don’t feel that your treatment is controlling your PsA, please speak to your healthcare professional.6 Take a look at our helpful tips to help you have a productive conversation during your next appointment.

There are also many other patients with PsA who will understand just what you’re going through. Your healthcare professional may be able to direct you to local or online groups where you can meet others with PsA. Alternatively, try searching below to find a group local to you.
The Arthritis Foundation of South Africa website:
Facebook: @Arthritissouthafrica
South African Psoriasis Association facebook page

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*Representative of patient experience