This Invisible Illness Awareness Week, I’m choosing to keep positive. I don’t want to let rheumatoid arthritis, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, osteoporosis, bronchiectasis etc define me. They are part of who I am but my identity is much more than that. And I’ve said it before, jars need labels, not people. It’s easier said than done to remain positive, and there have already been lots of ‘lows’, but that means the ‘highs’ will be even sweeter. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people with invisible illness have depression secondary to their condition – as it is pretty awful at first when you can’t do the things that you used to. Particularly when it’s a chronic condition and someone told me recently ‘it’s for life’, almost sounding like a prison sentence. That’s not how I want to live. I want to find a ‘new normal’ and have daily goals – starting out small. For me, walking and physio are making a difference to my joints – while I wait to start anti-TNF treatment. I’m actually excited and optimistic about what the future holds when I start Humira. Knowing that it has worked wonders for other people helps keep me positive – while remembering that improvements won’t happen overnight but that it’s about ‘comparing myself to myself’. By this, I mean seeing what progress I’m making on a daily and weekly basis, compared to how I was before starting this (fourth) drug in October. I plan to take it slowly – to see if over time the joint stiffness and muscle pain lessens, the overwhelming fatigue and brain fog start to lift, and I start to have the energy to do more every day. Of course, this is all theoretical right now, as I haven’t started the new drug yet, but rather than seeing it as an evil treatment I have to take, I want to see it as a positive thing that should (hopefully) improve my quality of life.