By: S., a Psoriasis Patient
Talking about psoriasis isn’t easy. In fact, it can be painful and embarrassing to talk about the condition that you’re living with. Talking won’t change the fact that you have psoriasis, so you might wonder whether you want to do it at all.
Sometimes, talking about psoriasis is much harder when your condition isn’t visible or noticeable to the average person. If you’re able to hide your psoriasis most of the time, you might feel like you don’t want to bring up the topic at all. You’d rather project a pretense and act as if everything is fine rather than admit that you have psoriasis. Maybe people around you won’t even know what psoriasis is, and the last thing you want to do is explain it. You might feel scared that your friends will treat you differently, that relationships will get awkward, and that talking about psoriasis will stigmatize you in some with your peers. Even people who are open about their psoriasis might feel like they don’t want to talk about it much or have it as a topic for public conversation.
While talking about your psoriasis won’t make the physical condition any better, it will definitely help you feel better about it. I used to put so much effort into hiding the fact that I had psoriasis. I used to wear long sleeves and long pants to hide the patches on my knees and elbows. I opted out of numerous activities, for example, I never went to the beach. I was scared I’d have to explain why I wasn’t wearing a swimsuit. I had a range of tops with high necks that I would wear when lesions broke out on my neck.
But now, I’ve left most of that behind me. While I don’t bring up psoriasis to every new person I meet, I do feel comfortable talking about it with my boyfriend, my friends, and my boss at work, who all know that I have psoriasis. I didn’t even realize how exhausting it was to keep hiding my psoriasis until I finally stopped doing it. Here are some of the ways that I benefited from talking about my condition:
I get the emotional support I need when I’m going through a flare-up.
If I feel uncomfortable when I’m out with my friends, I can excuse myself and go home instead of forcing myself to stay put and pretend everything is fine, when it really isn’t.
I don’t have to choose my clothes based on what covers the itchiest patches, because I’m no longer scared of someone asking me what my psoriasis patches are.
My friends can help me keep track of key triggers for flare-ups, for example, have I had too much alcohol during a social outing.
If I’m trying out a new treatment or having a bad day, I can tell my boss and get some time off work, instead of suffering through a full workday.
I’m less stressed because I don’t spend so much time thinking up excuses for why I won’t be joining my friends somewhere or for wearing a turtleneck in June. The physical benefit is that reducing my stress level means fewer flare-ups.
I feel more in control of my situation, so my day-to-day is calmer and I know I can turn to someone for a short chat if I need it.
If you’re like me and you’re wondering if it will help at all to talk about your psoriasis, I’m here to tell you that yes, talking about psoriasis can make a big difference in your life. Give it a go!