We all know that arthritis is so much more than joint pain; it’s a condition that can affect your entire way of life. Just the thought of all the changes you have to make in your can be overwhelming, imagine having to actually live through it as you begin to realize just how debilitating your diagnosis can be.
For a lot of us, the support of family and friends have proven to be invaluable. But the truth is, unless they suffer through the disease itself, it’s hard for them to grasp how frustrating living with arthritis really is. This is why so many of us seek the help and comfort of a support group.
A support groups is a community made up of fellow arthritis sufferers who know exactly what you mean when you say you’re having a flare day. When you struggle to find the words to describe what you’re going through, it’s comforting to find a group of people who can actually articulate the physical, emotional, and mental impact that this illness has on us. And when the battle with arthritis starts to make you feel defeated and isolated, there’s comfort in knowing that there are people out there whose own experiences mirror your own so perfectly, you start to feel less alone.
As an arthritis sufferer, we recognize that emotional and social support is critical to managing our health. Granted, most arthritis sufferers find it very hard to open up, but within a great support group who shares similar challenges, you can find a safe space to share and learn from others.
Now, the question is, where can you find a support group? Where do you even start?
Our advice is to speak first to your immediate healthcare providers. Chances are, they have a network of groups in your area that they can recommend.
Another good resource is the Internet.
The Arthritis Foundation offers the Live Yes! Connect Group that provides “supportive social connections and are inclusive to adults with all types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. We bring people together for fun social and informative educational events and activities focused on mutual support and positive coping strategies for living well. “
To connect with local support groups on ground, visit https://www.arthritisintrospective.org/live-yes-connect-groups-adults.
You can also try the American Self-Help Group Clearinghouse website or go to https://www.meetup.com/ and simply run a search for “arthritis support group.”
Even our own Facebook community at Dr. Arthritis is home to thousands of arthritis and chronic pain sufferers who frequently share stories about their experiences and tips on how to best manage arthritis. Simply go to https://www.facebook.com/doctorarthritis.
One of the things that most arthritis sufferers overlook about living with this illness is the importance of connecting with others who fully understand what they’re going through. Joining a community and knowing that there are others just like yourself who go through these struggles everyday and can find joy in their big and small triumphs with this disease can go a long way towards making you feel less alone in this.
If you know of any other local support group or online community that you’d like to share with us, leave a comment below.