Often when people find out I have arthritis, they say something along the lines of "Is that very painful?" or "That must be really difficult." My response is usually along the lines of "Oh, no, it's fine." or "Oh, you know. It's not too bad."
That is a lie!
Living with arthritis is incredibly hard. It's not one big difficult thing, it's 1 million small difficult things. Arthritis makes everything hard. Even something as simple as brushing my hair, can be a huge struggle.
I've heard many times from other people with autoimmune arthritis how frustrating they find the misconceptions people have about arthritis. I realised, I'm probably contributing to those misconceptions by downplaying how bad it is.
Of course, this doesn't mean I'm going to go out and complain for half an hour every time someone asks me if it's painful, but I could say something like: "It's very painful, but I cope with it." or "Yeah, it is difficult, but it's part of my life and I deal with it as best I can."
Buckle Me Up http://www.iaamovement.org/ have suggested that instead of saying we have 'arthritis', we say we have 'autoimmune arthritis.' Hopefully, that way, instead of getting the standard response of "but you're too young to have arthritis" or "my mum has that - she takes ibuprofen" people will ask "what's autoimmune arthritis?" If enough people start saying this and follow it up with a quick explanation about the difference between autoimmune forms of arthritis and degenerative forms, it won't be long until we don't need that explanation any more.
Little Miss Autoimmune