Today, Versus Arthritishave launched a new social media campaign in the run up to World Arthritis Day. Their plan is to shine a light on what people living with arthritis and other MSK (musculoskeletal) pain go through on a daily basis.
They got in touch and asked if I would be willing to help launch the campaign and share my own social media post with the hashtag #painnofilter – of course I said yes! I thought I would also share some information here on the blog as I think the more awareness we can create the better. Hopefully some of my fellow arthritis warriors who are following will also like to get involved and share their own social media post too. I will leave some more information about this at the end of the blog post!
Millions of people in the UK live in pain every single day. And arthritis and related conditions are the largest cause of that pain.
It’s not short-term or one-off bursts but often constant and persistent. In fact, half of people with arthritis experience pain every single day and as many as eight in ten say they experience pain ‘most days.’
Yet the pain of arthritis remains hidden. In a public poll we ran two in five people with arthritis told us they actively hide the pain of their condition from their loved ones. Half do so because they feel people wouldn’t understand what it’s like to live with. Almost a third (30%) of people with arthritis also actively avoid social media because of its ‘filtered’ nature.
My diagnosis is Juvenile Rheumatoid IdiopathicPoly Arthritis. This means:
JUVENILE – Because I was diagnosed as a child, aged 15 months
RHEUMATOID – The type of arthritis I have
IDIOPATHIC – No know cause
POLY -Multiple joints are affected
These photos share some of my reality of living with this disease. The swollen knees, the splints I use to try and help my joints, my bent elbows which won’t go any straighter than this anymore. My children having to visit me in hospital. The hundreds of tablets I take a week trying to control my disease and pain. The injections I have to give myself every week. The effects of these medications – the typically seen steroid ‘moonface’. I couldn’t include pictures of everything but there is also the hip replacement I had aged just 23. The times I can spend an hour or more just trying to get out of bed in a morning. When my dad has to lift me out of the bath because I can’t get out. My mum cutting my toe nails as I can’t reach my feet. The walking aids I have to use. People having to cut up my food for me, or resorting to things like soup that I don’t have to chew.
The idea of this campaign is not to encourage people to feel sorry for me – that is my idea of hell! I want to just show the realities of this disease, especially as so many think it is just a few achy joints and something that only old people suffer from.These realities are not widely known as we choose to hide them. We want to appear as ‘normal‘ as possible,. We want to do everything that everyone else does – enjoy time with our families, work, keep a nice home and be independent. But know that this is what we hide, this is what we go through on a regular basis to just be able to participate in life.
So how can you get involved? My fellow arthritis and MSK pain warriors – share your own #painnofilter posts. Show those things that you might not normally share. Show people what you have to do every day to be the partner, friend, parent, colleague etc that everyone knows you as. Share on social media with the hashtag and tag in @versusarthritis as they are sharing as many as they can!
And if you don’t have arthritis, consider sharing the posts you see and passing on the stuff you have learnt. Thankyou,