By: S., a Psoriasis Patient
Have you ever seen an ad for a psoriasis support group and thought, “that’s not for me”? Have you avoided other psoriasis patients when you see or hear about them?
I used to avoid it all too. It was easier for me to pretend that my psoriasis was a temporary condition and that it would just go away soon, like a bad dream. I definitely didn’t want to be part of any support group. And yet, I was curious to know more about what kind of interactions people who have psoriasis do have when they finally talk to each other. What do they really chat about? I joined a 7chairs support group, not fully knowing what it was all about. At first, I wasn’t sharing anything about myself. In fact, I used an anonymous profile. It took me a long time, but eventually I realized just how much I needed to connect with other patients living with my own condition. Eventually, I introduced myself and finally felt empowered that I was finally being my genuine self. It made a huge change in my life, and here’s why:
Connecting with other psoriasis patients helped me understand that I’m not alone with my thoughts, challenges or insecurities. I used to feel like I was stuck inside my private hell of psoriasis, and that nobody else knew or understood what I was going through. Now I know that there are other people here with me. It helps just to know that I’m not on my own.
Talking with other people with psoriasis encourages me to live a fuller life. I see so many other people who have psoriasis who don’t let it hold them back. They still go out with friends, try new things, travel, go out on a limb applying for jobs. It made me realize that if they can do it, maybe I can too, and that gives me the courage to stop hiding from new people and new situations. Essentially to live life to the fullest.
What’s more, connecting with other people with psoriasis helps me learn about new treatments and different approaches to handling the day-to-day. I feel free to consult and ask for suggestions about a new itchy patch under my arm, or see what people recommend for psoriasis patches that were overly exposed to the sun and are now even more difficult to deal with. The open dialogue and discussion with others was very helpful and gave me new ideas that I wouldn’t have necessarily found on my own.
By connecting with other psoriasis patients, I gained the emotional support that I needed. When I’m going through a flare-up, I used to hide at home, limit my external interactions and worry about when it would ease-up. Now I have alternatives and choose to reach out to other people who know what I’m going through. They might not have any advice for me, but just knowing that they care about me and offer words of support and encouragement makes me feel calmer. And as you know, feeling calm helps improve psoriasis symptoms and triggers.
Most of all, connecting with psoriasis patients gives me hope. I look at what some other people with psoriasis have achieved, and I feel hopeful that I can follow in their footsteps. I know that when I connect with other psoriasis patients, I’m also helping others to feel like they are not alone, and get emotional support, and that makes me feel strong. It reminds me that I can make a change in the lives of others, no matter what is happening to my body.
If you’re still unsure about connecting with other patients, I encourage you to do it. Reach out. You’ll make your life, and someone else’s life, much happier.