This week, I posted a campaign picture for Versus Arthritis. I saw this campaign whilst I was driving home and it really made me smile. I was glad this was being talked about and I was glad to see it in black and white that I definitely was not alone.
The poster stated that 38% of people with arthritis have difficulty being intimate with their partner, can you imagine the percentage if it included all Chronic Illnesses.
When I first started having symptoms, I was not really seeing an impact on my sex life or intimacy with my partner. I thought we were not really making time for us and thought it happens when you are married and living together. However, when I started comparing my sex life to friends of a similar age I realised how much of an impact Fibromyalgia had on my life. How much of a hit my sex life was taking. I saw what I was failing at. When I first received my diagnosis, I thought I would have issues being able to have a family due to energy levels and how could I keep up with a baby or a toddler. I did not even imagine an issue with intimacy.
I could not believe at 24 years old, I had a problem with my sex life.
I was 24, how is this an issue.
It is also something that we as a society were not talking about. I truly believed this was an issue only I was dealing with; until I saw this campaign. We do not always talk about young people having difficulty with sex or intimacy or individuals with Chronic Illness.
I felt at 24, this should not be happening. I felt I was on my own and I was the only person dealing with this impact. I felt guilty for not being able to provide something for my partner; this was something else I could not do. Something else, I was failing it. Something else that my body was not allowing me to do. Something else, I struggled to do.
When I saw this campaign it made me realise this is not something only I am dealing with, I then posted it on my Instagram to start this conversation and it made me realise I definitely was not alone. However, it is not just Arthritis, it is all Chronic Illnesses. Do not feel alone, start the conversation. Also, communicate with your partner about how you are feeling, it will not mean you are weak or that you do not want sex, it just means we have to adjust slightly. I still do not have the answers to help, however it helps to remember you are not alone.
You are not alone and it is not just arthritis, it is all chronic illnesses.