Are You Coping With Psoriasis?
I’ve seen plenty of patients over the years who were embarrassed about their psoriasis and who have tried to hide their lesions with long sleeves, scarves, pants and other items of clothing. It’s harder to hide psoriasis when this chronic skin problem affects your face, hands, above your ears or hairline, and even harder for those who are sensitive to hide the embarrassment they feel when out and about in public. Many people with moderate to severe psoriasis may even dread the warmer months, spending time at the beach, going to the gym, playing golf or even just being seen out in public in general in summer clothes.
I remember a male patient in his fifties a few years ago asking me how he could explain to people that his guttate psoriasis was not contagious, and a young woman in her twenties who was finding it hard to establish an intimate relationship with a male partner because of the way she felt about her scalp psoriasis.
So what are some solutions if you want to be seen out and about, to be able to relax when going to a restaurant, on holidays near the pool or at a shopping mall? Just how are you going to explain to people that your psoriasis is not a contagious skin condition? Some people with moderate to severe psoriasis believe that the only option open to them is rather aggressive psoriasis medical therapy, and for a small percentage who are very severely affected with severe psoriasis it may well even be worth it because of the adverse psychological effects, and how they feel about the quality of their life. For many patients with major psoriasis, a reduction in their severe skin symptoms will most probably change the way they feel about their life significantly for the better. Always bearing in mind however, that their psoriasis may flare up at any given time, being the unpredictable condition that it sometimes can be.
Here are several psoriasis coping strategies for you, ideas that may well help you to adjust your life more around people who don’t have this annoying complaint.
Understand Your Psoriasis
I always encourage patients to become aware of their condition, especially chronic diseases like moderate to severe psoriasis that don’t go away in a hurry and can come and go throughout their lives. This is one of the big reasons I wrote The Psoriasis Program, to help educate my patients. The more you know about the signs and symptoms, and particularly your particular triggers, the more likelihood there will be that you will be more easily able to respond to people who know a lot less about psoriasis and who make comments based on ignorance.
Some people who are blissfully unaware of what psoriasis is may even be afraid to sit close to you thinking that psoriasis is contagious, they may make rude comments or inadvertently stare. A good tip to become educated as much as you can about your psoriasis, that way you will be able to educate others, thereby reducing the stigma associated with skin diseases.
Change The Way You Think About Psoriasis
You may not be able to change or control the way others think about your psoriasis, but you can certainly change the way you think about it. One of the best ways to cope with those skin flares is to accept the fact that there will always be somebody out in public who may inappropriately stare or makes a comment. It’s not your problem; rather it’s their problem if they have any issues about the way you look.
The same may go for people who are short or tall, those who have a different skin colour, those who make look “different” and maybe don’t fit in with norm, and there will always be that one person who will need to make it obvious. Discrimination is certainly not new; and by adjusting your attitude and changing the way you think about your psoriasis rather than expecting an ignorant or misinformed person to change theirs, you will be a whole lot happier the sooner you accept this rather than later.
Don’t Hide Your Psoriasis
Life is too short not to enjoy it to the full, and by living your life with fear and worry about what others may think about you because of your skin is to compromise. I have certainly noticed that stress is one of the key psoriasis triggers for many, and self-imposed stress caused by concern about what others may think about how your look can be one of the most significant of all the emotional triggers.
By not hiding your skin under layers of clothing and “coming out”, understanding that you have nothing to be fearful about, you will be surprised that everybody who cares about you will understand about what you are going through and how you must feel.
Look For Support
I’ve always encouraged those with major psoriasis to join a support group, especially if they are sensitive or easily stressed. That way you will be in an environment with like-minded people, and learn many different tips and tricks that work for others who are in the same boat as you. One of the key reasons I created this website was to encourage you to take charge of your own psoriasis not only from a self-treatment perspective, but to seek out professional help when needed and not to be afraid to put your hand up for help. I’ve seen more than a few chronic psoriasis patients over the years that were too ashamed or embarrassed to seek help.
Many of the “secrets” you will find on this website come from psoriasis sufferers who were kind enough to share these secrets with me, their doctor. They asked me for support and shared their successes. Remember, you are NOT alone with psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Institute, psoriasis affects up to 7.5 million people in the United States, or 2.2 percent of the population.
You should most certainly seek professional help if your psoriasis is causing you to become depressed or very anxious. Proper treatment and support can help you cope and help you understand not only what is happening to your body, but why you feel the way you do about it. You can develop excellent skills for coping and learn to fight back.
Children With Psoriasis
Children with psoriasis are particularly prone because of the teasing and bullying that may occur in the school playground. Kinds tend to emotionally a lot more vulnerable than adults, so it is very important for moms and dads in particular to speak with their child’s teachers, and especially their physical education teacher or coach about their psoriasis so that they are not ridiculed around other children. There are also support groups around for children with psoriasis, where they can feel safe and supported.
It is important to remember that discrimination is not a new thing when it comes to psoriasis, people with skin conditions such as psoriasis have ben stigmatized for many thousands of years. But with the right mind-set, strategies, knowledge and understanding of psoriasis and a good level of personal and professional support you can enjoy life just as much as a person without psoriasis.