Well, it really depends on the AoE and the boss for both how easily I die playing arcane and what my DPS is.
My particular troubles with dying come from bosses like Loken in the Halls of Lightning and Anub-arak in Azjol-nerub and for those, I simply use frost now. I suppose that, if I'm not paying enough attention, then the final boss of the Nexus with Intense Cold can sometimes also be troublesome.
As far as DPS goes, where mobs are in ones or twos, such as Violet hold, I can usually end up at the top of the damage charts with arcane, but if the mobs are in larger groups, then I'm not even close to the top.
Gearing wise, I acknowledge I'm still not in the best gear, but I can safely say that I don't tend to stand in the fires unless there is no choice (as with Loken).
Anyway, it was great to hear from a healers perspective on this. I try to never blame the healers for my deaths because I know their main focus is on the tanks. After all, they are keeping me alive all the time simply by keeping the tank alive.