Let’s start at the beginning. I’m Ali, 22 years old, born and raised on a farm in North Yorkshire, England. At 20 years old, in my final year of my bachelors degree, I was diagnosed with Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis. From that moment on, life as I knew it – the one of a young, healthy, carefree student – was forever changed.
A lot has happened over the past three years – ups and downs, bad days and good, flare ups and fitness. From not being able to get dressed by myself to be the strongest I’ve ever been, physically and mentally. Looking back at my journey so far, I can only imagine what’s in store in the years to come.
It’s been as much of an emotional roller-coaster as a physical one, which is what has led me to write this. Unlike many others, I know I’m not alone; I’m lucky to have a great family and supportive friends. The purpose of this blog is not to complain, moan or catastrophise but rather to share experiences, support one another and to build a community.
I will begin by acknowledging that I am luckier than a lot of sufferers out there. I don’t have anywhere near the worst-case scenario and I am so lucky the doctors made a quick diagnosis and referral, and that my body accepted the medication straight away.
But this is not a competition, life is not a competition, and every sufferer is different - be it condition, comorbidities, responsibilities, lifestyle or mindset.
It is my hope that this blog will not only be a platform of support, but a way to raise awareness and fight the stigma. As a community, we do not deserve to feel ashamed or embarrassed and we should NEVER feel that we must try to hide our condition. Let’s join forces and face it together.
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I look forward to getting to know you all and hearing your stories.