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Joel Nelson

At times, the most life-changing moments pass you by without a second thought at the point of circumstance. So, in fact, at the time, they are not life-changing at all, not like the tremendous jolt of a traffic accident or death of a loved one. For many, these defining moments of one’s life are not recognised as such until many years later. It is a gradual, slow burn towards the inevitable impact that you don’t see until it’s too late.

My life-changing moment came when I was ten years old. When I first experienced that now unforgettable discomfort of your…


There were times over the last 10 months or so that felt like this day would never come.

My experience since March 2020 has been well documented. Since February, I’ve been in one shop with the only other times I have stepped foot in a building being to see a Dr, have a blood test or some other treatment — all with heightened levels of fear and anxiety.

Even when the successful vaccines started making the news, I didn’t allow myself to hope. Over the last year, I’ve only been left depressed and disappointed holding onto such positive thoughts. So…


I’m lucky. I have a large family around me, all within 20 miles of where I live. But when it comes to talking about my chronic pain and illness, I find myself drawing comfort from those I have never met. In this article, I explore why.

You have to experience it to understand

I have a loving family, but over this dark period of my life, this last year where it feels like it has been one thing after another. There has been something that has surprised me above all else since deciding to go public with my story. …


My son’s hand on my wrist

How my mental health and chronic illness are intertwined

In a year that presents an obvious event in which to discuss on what could be the most important World Mental Health Day ever, I wish to tell a story that offers an escape from Coronavirus, pandemics and lack of toilet roll at your local supermarket.

I can’t promise you it will be anymore cheery than what’s going on outside your window right now in this surreal year. In fact, it will almost certainly take you to some uncomfortable places — but it should. Because until talking about mental health is no longer uncomfortable for the general population, then it…


It took becoming a parent myself to realise the strain my juvenile arthritis had placed on my family. Arthritis stole from my parents, siblings, my education and my friendships. For the first time in over 20 years, I’m writing down my experiences as a child with arthritis.

An ‘old person’s disease’ before my 11th birthday

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JiA) when I was between 12 and 13 years old but I had been having symptoms from around my 11th birthday.

I’ll never forget how it started, it’s funny how those life changing moments turn out to be your clearest memories. We were having a family…


Any new diagnosis requires a period of adjustment, time to come to terms with the implications and a good support network around you — however, arthritis is particularly challenging.

The chances are it’s a condition you have to manage for the rest of your life, dealing with pain along with potential mobility issues and any damage caused. Virtually all forms of arthritis cause some type of damage and therefore it’s progressive in its nature, meaning the issues you are dealing with now may be greater the longer you live with the disease. …

Joel Nelson

freelance writer, blogger and arthritis advocate —specialising in parenting, pain and the mental health impact of living with chronic illness.

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