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It is almost 3 am and I am wide awake. A constant symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis is pain. Sometimes, the pain is bad but I take medications to  restrict it. I hurt every second of every day but I suffer from a dull ache and not a sharp stab.

I am used to chronic pain and since I am, shouldn’t I be used to any type of it? No, it’s the complete opposite! I am not used to punctuated burst of pains. I feel agony when my tooth/jaw hurts and as a result, I turn grumpy, depressed and restless (hello insomnia!).


I am in a really foul mood. The weather is cloudy and rainy (but warm! — my favorite) so I am decorating for Fall. I love this time of year but I can’t enjoy it! Cue an even worse mood. A simple conversation or thought triggers my depression but this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day is not brought on by any of the usual culprits. It’s the severe irritation in my gums.


It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it? My tooth aches, so I can’t sleep since the pressure from my pillow creates an intense surge of discomfort. I don’t rest so I flare up which adds a separate sort of pain into the mix. Pain makes me feel sad and isolated. Sleep deprivation makes me fatigued and stressed so I clench my jaw making that pain worse.


RA is so…strange. And, not for the reasons above. I say ‘strange’ because of all the extra things, the extra occurrences I never considered or prepared for! But how can I prepare for a toothache? If I didn’t have an autoimmune, would it feel more or less painful? Would it matter?

Yes, which came first? The chicken or the egg?


Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.