Be Your Own Counselor with Rheumatoid Arthritis | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Be Your Own Counselor with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fighting the Depression of Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is great to have a friend. And sometimes professional counsel is necessary. But today I was thinking of some ways that we can fight the blues  and be our own therapist.

Here are some ideas that I tried not to let get away…

1) Take Natural Medicine

No, the really natural kind: endorphins. Do something that releases endorphins. There are some foods, like dark chocolate, which can lift you up.
Laughter will rush them thru your blood So read the comics, or make a funny face, for pete’s sake, just laugh.
Even crying, if it’s needed, can release some relaxing chemicals.
Exercising, if you are able to, will give you an endorphin rush.
If you know more ways, please share!

2) Meditate on a Hopeful Truth

This is not just think happy thoughts. It has to be true; it won’t work if it’s a false hope. But there is always some hopeful truth you can find. Here are just a few examples:
It may be science: They are looking for a cure.
It may be simple: Soon, I look forward to lunch with a friend.
It may be silly: My dog still loves me.
It may be scripture: God’s mercy is great. Heaven will be awesome.
Repeat this truth quietly throughout your day. Ruminate upon it the way you usually do with your problems. Let it counsel you.

3) Refresh the Page

Changing your environment can change the picture and make you see things in a different way – or see something you did not notice before. For me this is going out and looking at the sky – day or night. Or seeing the ocean or some wildlife. It’s more than just a distraction; it is regaining a perspective that is more accurate. Our problems are actually kind of small disruptions in perspective to the whole of the natural order of things.

4) Use Music

Music is like an IV. Somehow God made most of us able to receive truth directly into our souls through music. It is a powerful resource we probably ignore because we think it takes too much time. But if we say we don’t have time to listen to the music that we know will uplift us, maybe we should counsel ourselves about our time / priorities. Besides, there’s time in the car, as we eat, while we dress, do chores…

5) Challenge the Status Quo

Ask yourself whether this is the person you want to be.
Maybe it is a habit that should be picked up or put down.
Maybe we can make a small course correction today. Or a big move.
Maybe we can reconsider something we once set aside: like faith in God; or a certain friendship.
Whatever it is, we can question the status quo and encourage ourselves to move on down the road.

Recommended reading:

Kelly O'Neill

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked about 12 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over fourteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/

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17 thoughts on “Be Your Own Counselor with Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • May 20, 2009 at 11:02 am

    great wordpicture about music! good post! lov u momma. : )

  • November 8, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Some other suggestions are:

    Eat a chili pepper, some people say eating spicy food is addictive. It is probably the rush they get from having it on your tongue. It is a endorphin rush mainly to reduce pain but it is a way to release endorphins. The hotter the pepper the more the endorphin rush.

    It might sound silly but, think positive thoughts, it is just like how people feel better even from a placebo.
    “When people take a placebo and they believe something’s helpful, it often works,” says Joel Fuhrman, MD, family physician and author of author of books including Eat for Health and Eat to Live. That’s a direct result of the power of positive thinking, which can release endorphins that may actually ease pain even if a medication is physically ineffective according to Dr. Fuhrman. He also HIGHLY recommends orgasms. He says that they are the best and most effective endorphin rush.

    Additionally enforphin rushes can be obtained from scary movies or other fear, art, music, theatre, accupuncture, chiropractic services (which are NOT RECOMMENDED FOR THOSE WITH AS according to the Arthritis Association), soak up some sunshine and laugh even if it is at nothing or laughing at yourself.

    Remember: THINK POSITIVE

  • March 1, 2010 at 12:04 am

    The suggestion I have will not only help you release endorphins but also help your spouse in the process:) ****sharing physical intimacy, which in turn helps promote better emotional intimacy. Of course, this takes planning and a day where one is not flaring too badly. Sometimes it takes imagination and always,an understanding significant other with good communication between the two of you. A sense of humor is essential too!

  • April 14, 2010 at 8:58 am

    My Mantra: I will not let myself be defined by a disease process!

  • April 14, 2010 at 9:45 am


    Over the weekend I learned about Laughter Yoga and it was a blast…. just a suggestion for your list… I will be in touch about IAAM and Bucklemeupmovent!!

    Chat with you Soon!!

  • March 11, 2011 at 8:37 am

    This blog is like an oasis in a dry land. It is where I feel understood, not judged, and where I am lifted up by others who are going through the same thing.
    I feel guilty alot because I cannot participate in life as much as I would like to and be a support to my family instead of having to be supported. And I do look forward to heaven where there will be no pain and where I will be totally known and understood. Prayer and meditation is the best pain medicine for me. God bless you all.

  • May 12, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Kelly, I have to confess that I use your site and FB page instead of a counselor. I think that the support and empathy I get there helps tremendously! I also do Yoga Nidra. Which is basically a fancy name for progressive relaxion. It helps get the “kinks” out and relaxes sore muscles at the end of the day.
    Thank you so much for your site and FB page. I’m sure they are lifesavers for alot of us.
    God Bless.

    • May 12, 2011 at 9:03 pm

      Betty, I’ve been to counselors and I have to say that I also get more help from others with RA! I can’t do yoga but I do a lot of deep breathing. It helps increase my pain tolerance.

  • May 12, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I work nights and live in a very rainy area. So, when I see that sun I run for it (well, OK saunter) and absorb as much as I can. I also have favorite parks to go to when the weather cooperates. I like to watch a good silly show too when I can’t get out. And art is a very good way to soothe the soul. Either by going to a museum or making it. No one has to judge what you may paint or draw or photograph, its for you. God bless.

  • August 11, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Kelly, This is a great post. Actually, this goes even beyond RA. I think everyone ought to read this post! Thank you. I get so much encouragement from your site. So much.

  • April 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    anyone else every been in to much pain to get off the couch and go to the kitchen for an asprin {nobody right}? When you do get there the first thing that runs through your mind as you try to open the child proof cap is
    ” I could just take 40 of them and things would feel better I’m sure” the only thing that stops you is your second thought, the one of a sweet 10 year old child playing in his room upstairs. Their laughter helps too. Naomy,44 years old ,Sero Neg JRA.

  • October 27, 2014 at 8:49 am

    So true, being sad and feeling depressed takes waaaaaay to much effort. Write down how you feel, tell a loved one ” I hurt so much today” then leave it there… Smile, kiss your pet or your love one, smile and do your best to enjoy your life. Smiles are contagious.

  • March 9, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I have truly enjoyed this site and your responses. However, not only do I have RA, I also have fibromyalgia, degenerative discs, bulging disc and 5 tarlov cysts on my lower spine. Look up tarlov cysts to understand them. It’s a rare disease. The severe pain I suffer 24/7 is overwhelming. I am a Christian but confused why God would let me suffer so cruelly these past 21 years. I feel so depressed and nowhere and no one to turn to who truly knows RA.

  • March 9, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Nancy, wow, you spoke things that are exactly how I feel! Thank you! I too, feel so bad all the time about not being to help and support my family. I always wanted to support my parents as they grow old but instead my 90 yr old mom takes care of me. I also look forward to heaven where there no pain or suffering. I’ve been a Christian all my life and I don’t understand why The Lord leaves me suffering. I kind if feel deserted. I’m so totally depressed

  • September 26, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Hi all! I pray that each of you is having a good day. I was diagnosed with RA in 08. Since then I refused to accept that I would only get worse. My mom had RA and I would fight to not end up as physically affected as she was. I read and read and found a diet that drastically reduced my symptoms. I am gluten free, low dairy, and low sugar. My hope is to share this success with everyone who has RA so they can have relief as well.
    I was on shots of Enbrel and had so much success with the diet that I over two years weaned off.
    Now only on 5 ml. of prednisone.
    If I cheat too much then the swelling and pain return quickly.
    I’m also hypothyroid FYI. Also had horrible sjogrens symptoms and stomach acid now gone with diet. Best to each of you sweet people.


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