Rheumatoid arthritis, unlike the more common osteoarthritis, is not the natural result of time and normal wear and tear or due to a build-up of calcification in the joint. Rather, it is an autoimmune disease in which your body's immune system attacks itself, causing painful joint inflammation and swelling even during sleep.
The degree of seriousness is relative to the degree of emotional, mental, and spiritual blockage. Generally, if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, you are very self-critical; you have difficulty doing what you enjoy and asking others for help. Although you seem amenable enough, you let resentment build up while you wait for others to figure out telepathically what you need. You may even have thoughts of vengeance when others don't figure it out. Just as this disease is paralyzing physically, it also indicates emotional paralysis.
Pay attention to the location of your symptoms. If the inflammation is in your hands, for example, you need to examine your attitude while working with your hands. Do you need help with the work you are doing? Then say so.
Why do you think it is so difficult for you to express your needs to others? Do you feel that you will be viewed as selfish if you do what you enjoy? Is that really true? What is "being selfish" for you? Listen to your own body and learn to say no when you are asked to do something that you do not feel like doing. But if you decide to say yes, experience greater enjoyment of the things you are doing without criticizing yourself.
Heaping responsibility on yourself simply to gain the recognition of others is OK, if you accept the fact that you're doing it only for yourself and not because someone is forcing you. If you want and need recognition, acknowledge and accept this in yourself without judgment or criticism.