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Advice:
Family of RA patients
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My mom found out she has RA recently and all of the pills and their side effects are driving her nuts. Lately she's been getting really irritable and just a few minutes ago she threw some pans onto the floor and stormed upstairs.

I just want to know if this is normal behaviour or if it might be stress. Either way, how can i help her? I do what she asks and try to stay out of her way when she's in a bad mood...

I just feel, lost. I..I don't know what to do and I just need some help....
Posted on 11/23/10, 12:07 am
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Reply #1 - 11/23/10  2:19am
" Awwww, sorry to hear of her diagnosis. One of the things they prescribed for me was the prednisone. That is to reduce the inflammation, however at higher doses, it can do a number on you mentally. Made me irritable for sure. Also made sleep a joke.

Getting RA as a diagnosis is not something anyone wants. Just love your mom, and ask her what can you do. Tell her about this site and tell her that she can find lots of answers here. And support. Knowing that the irritation is a side effect of the meds may be most helpful. Hugs -daizy8 "
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Reply #2 - 11/23/10  10:24am
" I'm so sorry about your mom, she will come to terms with it all, meminas. Give her a hug and be there to listen and help. People forget that RA goes beyond the pain, the depression and fatigue can be hard on a person. And then there is the frustration.....I can remember trying to cut meat at the dinner table and the pain being so bad that I burst into tears and threw down the knife. It is very hard for an indepedent person to suddenly be faced with a debilitating disease. "
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Reply #3 - 11/24/10  4:04pm
" Lovely daughter. Agree with Daizy and Idudish. This site is really good place for her if she is willing to look at it. I have recommended to three people I have come across with Ra and not one of them interested. Not all people computer minded or have time etc. But you could look at it occasionally yourself - even feed some of her questions or grumblings in and report back. (eg 'Is this side affect on drug x normal?' etc)

In response to your question it is 'normal' to be angry and upset. When you get a diagnosis like this and start dealing with it shock and adjustment can take many forms. Remind her of her pain before the drugs (which I hope are helping - if not she should go back to specialist and you can report via this site). If she is receptive she could look at diet etc changes which help some people a lot.

Masses of info on here - feed in the questions and wonderful you have taken the trouble to join yourself for her. I appreciate sympathy from my children but dont burden them with it - often have deep fears about the gene I may have passed on too. Also it is a disease where you often look ok and she will find that many outsiders dont realise what she is going through. But dont bring yourself down either!

All the best. "
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Reply #4 - 11/25/10  12:03am
" I'm sorry to hear about your mother's diagnosis. It could be the meds effecting her behavior, but chronic pain is an extremely depressing state to be in. I recall having frequent tantrums or fits of sobbing uncontrollably when my mom was out of earshot- I avoided taking it out on my mom/other people- but there are times when I'd fumble something or have to ask for help to do the easiest things and its absolutely infuriating- not to mention humiliating. And I don't take the meds FYI.

When you mentioned your mother throwing the pans on the floor... I've taken my frustration out on inanimate objects that 'gave me a hard time' lol- particularly clothes that I couldn't button... like snug jeans. I don't know if her RA is in her hands or not, but wherever its ailing her, if she's beginning to experience a loss of mobility then her frustration is understandable.

Over the last few years I've developed patience, but in the early stages its especially hard to accept, its even worse if you were very athletic or someone that had a career surrouding physical prowess/activity.

I wouldn't consider your mother's behavior 'normal', but more akin to the strain of being in pain consistently. What makes RA harder to cope with is that its 'invisible'- we don't always have a visual like a crutch or a wheelchair- but the pain is QUITE real and crippling none the less. I hope your mother feels better soon. This website is a great resource and we'd be happy to have her- and you too of course. God bless. :-) "
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Reply #5 - 11/25/10  1:36am
" Sorry to hear that about your mom. I went into a depression sometime i was happy, sad and just down right angry. I started taking cymbalta in late June and my kids say i am alot better. It also helped with the arthritis pain. They told me when I got diagnosed with all my issues that people with diseases will go thru depression and need med to help them control it. as long as i was working i controlled it good sometime i would cry or throw something but not like it was when i went on disability. So she might need something to help. but just give her all the support and love she needs. good luck to you and her. "
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Reply #6 - 11/25/10  10:14pm
" Meminas....your mom is very lucky to have a daughter like you who cares so much that you come in here to ask for help. Whether you know it or not, she is thankful for you.

When I was diagnosed I was HORRIBLE! I was irritable and angry and depressed. Plus, the new meds were making me sick and I looked and felt like death warmed over. I was 19 and I had known I had RA for years but the final diagnosis was like someone was taking away my choices in life. I didn't like myself and I don't know how my parents and friends put up with me.

We all deal differently. Your mom is going to have to go through the stages of grief at her own pace and in her own way. It may take years even but don't give up. Your unwavering love & support is what will get her through some days. It took me about 10 years and Graduate school for counseling before I truly realized how much my parents and family supported me where I can say thank you. When there is a life altering change to one's health, it is very hard and having loved ones there to help absorb some of that struggle of emotion helps alleviate that full weight off of the person who's diagnosed.

So be there for your mom, sometimes there are no words. She might need to see a counselor or get on some antidepressants....most of us with RA in this group have gone through that ourselves. Word of warning...(depending on the severity, success of meds, or remission) it's not always a one time thing in this diseases progression to experience a lot of ups and downs.

If you ever need to talk, just give me a yell. I'm a good listener.... Take care and good luck. "

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