For most of my RA life, I was of the opinion that when people asked "how are you" they really just wanted to hear "good". Most people don't want to hear anything else, it's a rather superficial transaction - most of the time. Some people want actually hear how you are - but not that many. Really. So, I provided the requisite answer of "good" (insert bright, but fake smile here) and kept trucking along with my RA on the down-low.
For those who really wanted to know, I try for a bit of honesty mixed with some humour to make it not as big of a deal. Even with close friends, I don't really talk about my RA. It can get depressing for me, let alone anyone else.
I'm not so sure I employed the best strategy, but I didn't really see another option. People don't really want to hear about it, so I really didn't talk about it. For years. To anyone (almost). And to see my life from the outside, I would doubt that you would know. But I knew and bottled it all up. Now I'm sorting through all of my feelings, thoughts, ideas and emotions about RA.
But, in some ways, I would be better served in my life if I actually told a few more people when I was having a crappy day and asked for help. It turns out - people like to help. Really. All you have to do is ask.
I think through blogging, sending my blog link to friends and family, I have started a dialogue about where I'm at and what's on my "RA" mind. I can talk, they can listen if they want to. It's a rather passive method of communication, and I'm more comfortable with that. And since I haven't really talked about it for the first 18 years of my diagnosis - some of these posts are rather overdue.