My arthritis story

By hiding my disability, I was denying a huge part of what makes me, me.
It took over 20 years, but I finally found a voice for my arthritis story.

Joel Nelson – creator of

Hi, I’m Joel…

I’m a man in my mid-thirties, from Norwich, the UK who has had some form of arthritis or autoimmune disorder most of my life. Essentially my body’s own immune system attacks itself in various parts of my body.

I have had Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JiA) since I was 11. Later, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) when I was 14 and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) in my 20’s.

My condition, unfortunately, progresses with age and due to treatment to suppress my immune system, I am also vulnerable to infection – But I won’t let this stop me.

A voice for my arthritis story

I have always struggled with talking about my challenges and disabilities. So after a difficult year in 2019, I created this blog to share my experiences, raise awareness, provide resources for people fighting autoimmune disorders. I am also a contributor and community advocate for and regularly provide content for notable charities and organisations, such as Versus Arthritis. and NASS.

I am stubborn and do as much as my body permits. So although there will be posts when I’m struggling or having a bad day, I hope that I can:

Inspire, demonstrate the positive side of those of us fighting arthritis or living with chronic pain and show that anything is possible with the right attitude and motivation.

Whilst living with arthritis for most of my life, I have:

  • Played league hockey
  • Played league rugby
  • Completed RideLondon100 for Cancer Research
  • Completed the Great North Run for Arthritis Research
  • Toured the country in a band
  • Achieved a BSc (Hons) in Computing and IT Practice when I was unable to play sport

Finally, I will not shy away from the associated challenges of living with an autoimmune disease. I hope that by openly talking about mental health, relationships, parenting and employment it can help others in a similar situation or newly diagnosed.

You can read more about what prompted me to start this website and writing about my arthritis story here: Pain and Parenting; when the happiest year of your life becomes the hardest

Get involved

Feedback and guest contributions to help build what I am trying to achieve with this project are always welcome. As well as a home for my arthritis story and freelance writing, I want to give others a platform to tell their story and raise awareness. So please do get in touch if you think you can help.

If you enjoy your time on this site or in any way find it useful, please don’t forget to subscribe to receive notifications of new posts and like, share and comment on any articles you enjoy. It really does help!

Thank you for visiting – Joel.

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