Explaining JIA to other people

Living with JIA can be tricky for a number of reasons.

One reason is that JIA is quite rare and other people rarely know about JIA. When people think of ‘arthritis’ they are usually thinking of a condition called ‘osteoarthritis’ which is very common in older people. But that type of arthritis isn’t the same as JIA. The confusion in other people’s minds can make it hard to share your experiences.

Another reason is that JIA symptoms come and go. Every day is different. You may have lots of good days then a really tricky one when it’s hard to do things. The problem is that other people are not you, so can’t know that today is a tricky day for you.

This leads onto a third reason why JIA is tricky. Symptoms such as pain or tiredness are invisible to others which makes it hard for them to know that you may be having an off day. And sometimes you may not feel like explaining how you are to other people.

Having a few handy phrases to explain JIA can be useful:

“JIA is a condition that involves your immune system”.

“JIA is a relapsing-remitting condition which means that it changes all the time. Sometimes I have good days and sometimes I have bad days. That’s normal for JIA.”

You can also tell some of your friends and family members about JIA so that they can explain things when you prefer not to.

Website such as the NRAS JIA site include leaflets for other people, for example there is a leaflet for teachers. Having something like this can take the pressure off you having to explain it to everyone.

It is important that you get the help and support that you deserve to help you to live well with JIA. Having a bit of information about JIA can help you to talk about it with other people when you need to.