I'm obviously not a young teenager. However, I once was. And I was a young teenager with arthritis too. That was not a fun time at all. Not only was my body going through all those awkward phases, but I had to deal with arthritis, medicines, side effects and a lot of emotional pain from all that. It's hard to forget life back then. Recently I've thought about that time. And I'm willing to share some of it in the form of confessions. And now I present Confessions of a (Young) Teenager with Arthritis.
1. My mood swings were both hormones and medicine. It's not well known that many medications can cause mood changes in people. Thus it's not surprise that I was very moody. Whilst it doesn't happen to everyone, it happened to me. Fridays were my Methotrexate days and the rest of the weekend could be miserable at times. It was very bad at times, so much so I said a lot of things I still regret.
2. I felt alienated from my peers. Okay, I never exactly fit in with them. But throwing the arthritis in certainly made it worse. I felt like a freak. On top of being a bit too mature for my age and thus did not qualify as a 'normal' girl, I didn't move, feel or even look 'normal.'
3. I got picked on a lot. Kids are cruel and like making themselves feel better by pointing out flaws in others. I understand and I forgive them. What I will never understand is why the teachers had to pick on me too.
4. I was powerless. As a twelve or thirteen year old, there were times I had no say in what happened. When I did have a say, it was usually something like which arm for a blood draw. I didn't get to choose which days I had to miss school, if I needed pain medications, or if a different medication would be more appropriate. In a lot of ways, I felt completely vulnerable.
5. I loved being treated as a normal kid at the hospital. Even though most thirteen year olds rolled their eyes at murals of ducklings or being asked if you would like to blow bubbles during your blood draw, I absolutely loved it! It was relaxing and made things less nerve wracking. Also, there were times it was hard to laugh and be carefree outside. It was easier in a place- even a hospital- that treats you like a normal kid. I don't know about you, but pink tape covering my IV always made it less painful. The baby talk, however, was not appreciated or tolerated. They caught onto that very quickly.
I'm not sure if there are young teenagers reading this, and I'm even more unsure if they would relate. However I hope they know they are not alone in their fight against arthritis or any other chronic illness. I've been through that, and I know I'm not alone.