Archive for January 2011


Depression is a common feature of RA. People with RA may be envisioning a life filled with pain or feeling old before their time. They may feel cheated. And self-esteem may waver when they find they can’t do things they once did with ease. These are good reasons to feel sad, and prolonged or intense sadness can lead to depression.
The following statements contain subtle cues that indicate the person is depressed:
“I’m too tired to visit the Bensons tonight.”
“Nothing’s wrong. I just don’t have anything to say.”
“It’s Jimmy’s birthday? I forgot.”
“I feel okay. I’m just not hungry, that’s all.”
“I hardly shut my eyes all night.”
“Honey, my joints are just too sore tonight.”
Feeling melancholy is not the only symptom of depression. Loss of energy, decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities, forgetfulness, loss of appetite or excessive appetite, difficulty sleeping, and decreased libido can all be symptoms of depression. But these same symptoms can be caused by RA, so it’s important to clarify their source.
Depression results in further pain, poorer sleep patterns, added muscle tension, and increased fatigue – all of which can lead to deeper depression. This cycle needs to be broken. The primary motivating agent must be you.


Stopping using drugs is simple. Not easy, but simple. Anybody who really wants to stop using drugs or drinking can do so. Thousands of people are living examples of how it is done – and of the happiness that results from a life free from drugs and alcohol. You can do it too. You’ve probably done it numerous times, but with all those past attempts to stay clean or stop drinking behind you, you are probably frightened of what may happen when you do try again.
Cold turkey is nonsense-The first thing is to put out of your mind all the bad movies, harrowing chapters in thrillers and newspaper stories which you have seen and read. Their descriptions of coming off drugs are usually so much rubbish.
The agonies of cold turkey are a myth. Coming off the so-called ‘hard’ drugs like heroin or methadone is not dangerous. Uncomfortable, perhaps – undoubtedly an uncomfortable experience. But not dangerous at all.
Oddly enough, it is the legal drugs that are likely to cause the worst withdrawal problems. Coming off alcohol is worse than coming off heroin, and can sometimes be dangerous. Coming off tranquillisers can be worse still. The only other risky drugs to come off are barbiturates and Heminevrin (chlormethiazole edisylate). Barbiturates are even more dangerous than tranquillisers.
So there is no need for people on illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine and so forth to fear withdrawing; it does help, though, if you understand a little about the process of coming off.



I said a lot more, but the main thrust was that I chose to look at what seemed good to me rather than to anticipate all the gruesome complications that can happen at some point. Afterwards, many in the group asked me questions about my ideas on life because, evidently, no one had shared anything encouraging with them before. I told them that pain is inevitable for all of us, but that we have an option as to how we react to the pain. It is no fun to suffer; in fact, it can be awful. We are all going to have pain, but misery is optional. We can decide how we will react to the pain that inevitably comes to us all.
Since learning that I have diabetes, I have read a dozen books and even watched some video tapes to learn all I could about how to cope with this chronic, debilitating disease. The most important thing I learned is that having a proper mental attitude works wonders. If you take care of yourself and do all the things that you must do to keep it in control so that it doesn’t control you, you can live a happy, productive life.
I didn’t want this disease, and I surely empathize with others who have endured it for many years, but I choose to do all I can to care for myself and enjoy each day that I am here. I constantly remind myself:
Recently I was in Sacramento speaking for a women’s retreat, and a cheerful, perky gal in a wheelchair volunteered to help me at the book table. Her name was Mary Jane. She only had one leg, and I wondered if diabetes might have claimed the other one. But she just whirled around in that wheelchair, getting change and doing a fabulous job of handling customers who wanted to buy my books.
We talked later, and Mary Jane told me that her leg had been amputated because of cancer. Then she began to laugh and told me that for years her doctor had been after her to lose weight. He had put her on diets, which were always unsuccessful, and when she finally went in for the leg amputation, she said from the operating table, “Now you be sure to weigh the leg so that you can remove that amount of weight from my chart!”
What an attitude! Her pain is inevitable, but she chooses to make her option something other than misery!
So does a man I met at the La Habra post office. You’ll be reading a lot about that place because it seems I spend a lot of my life there. My license plate says SPATULA, and the other day when I pulled in to park at the post office, I noticed the plate on the car next to me said: “2 BUM NEZ.” I thought, That’s so cuteā€”the guy probably has arthritis or something.
As I tore around the car with my arms full of tapes and books to mail, I called out, “Oh, I just LOVE your license plate!” Suddenly I saw that he didn’t have any legs! Talk about hoof-and-mouth disease! Someone was helping him out of the car, but he put me at ease by saying, “I’m glad you like it. My wife said I should get one that said, “NO LEGS,” but I would rather have folks get a chuckle out of it like you did than have them feel sorry for me.”
Bill and I See Life Differently
I love that man’s attitude because it illustrates so beautifully how pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot escape having pain in this life, but our choice is in how we react to it. For years I’ve been trying to convince Bill, my darling but melancholy husband, that how you look at life can either bring a sparkle of joy or a handful of gloom.
Recently we had car trouble and had to be towed from San Diego to our home, a distance of nearly 100 miles at a cost of about one dollar per mile. I had never even been in a tow truck before, and it was really fun sitting up so high and looking down at all the little cars whirring by. Being up so high, I could see everything perfectly, even our car attached behind. But Bill didn’t think it was fun at all. He didn’t think it was an adventure. He didn’t think there was anything cheery about it.
Trying to lift his dark and depressing mood, I chirped loudly, “But think of all the gasoline we are saving!” For me, it was a new, fun experience. We probably would never ride that far in a tow truck again, so why not enjoy ourselves since we had to be doing it anyway? But Bill didn’t see it that way. We often view life differently, Bill seeing the glass half empty while I see it brim full and running over.
One thing I love about Bill is that he always lets me be myself. In chapter eight, I’ll explain how God put our personalities together to balance each other and to be a smoothly working team. Bill’s steady, organized ways do much to make our ministry a success!