Someone Touched My Plaques and I Didn't Know How to React
Something has been happening to me a lot recently and I'm not sure how I feel about it. It's no secret that my scalp psoriasis has been out of control. Flakes all over my very long, very dark hair. Recently, friends have actually said, "Hey, you have something there" and then they pick the flake out of my hair!
Whoa, you touched my plaques
The first time this happened I was absolutely stunned. Someone is touching my psoriasis. But no one ever touches my psoriasis. Do they know it's psoriasis? Do they think it's dandruff? Or do they just not care and are just really good friends. Consider me baffled. But to be honest, it felt... nice.
Sure, it was only a small gesture to remove something from my hair but it really was a big deal for me. If you have psoriasis anywhere that is visible, you know that people aren't running to inspect it. They aren't rubbing it or touching it or even getting too close to it. In fact, they might even be slowly creeping away from it. This is a behavior I am used to. I am not used to someone acting like it's no big deal. Even when I informed them that it was in fact psoriasis, they just shrugged it off. What's happening here?
Is the psoriasis stigma subsiding?
In the past (and still today, I'm sure), psoriasis was seen as disgusting, contagious (false), and dirty (also, false). We don't have psoriasis because we don't clean ourselves properly or because we did something "wrong". Why we have psoriasis is still pretty unknown but we do know that it's something that is genetic, and we do know that it has to do with our immune system. But I can't help but wonder, is the stigma subsiding a little?
I can sit home on the couch all day watching TV and easily see at least one, but typically more, commercials for psoriasis treatments. Some commercials show what plaque psoriasis can look like and even feel like. And some commercials even go as far as to state that it isn't contagious and it is an autoimmune disease. I think about what my life was like 5 years ago; not having my hair done, no massages, no pedicures, long sleeves in the summer.
It was a lot of work to just leave the house, let alone interact with other people. And, don't get me wrong, people aren't perfect but I think we have grown a lot in our acceptance of people and their different conditions.
Be proud of your psoriasis
If you have psoriasis, advocate for psoriasis, write, voice your opinions about psoriasis, I think now is the time you should give yourself a pat on the back. It's because of you that people are more aware of what psoriasis is.
It's because of your voice that those commercials are so accurate and people are beginning to understand that we can be touched. This spread of awareness is what allowed a simple interaction, like someone picking a plaque from my hair, happen. And it meant a lot.
Get involved with your psoriasis community
When I was first diagnosed several years ago, I went right to the web. I read blog after blog about my disease. I cried. A lot. A lot of stories that I read were sad. But a lot of them were motivating. So I started my own blog because I had something to say. When I was searching the internet for blogs about psoriasis, there were maybe 10 tops. I can't even tell you how many there are today.
Don't want to start a blog? That's fine. Reach out to organizations like The National Psoriasis Foundation. I have been volunteering with them for years and it really is a special organization. There really is nothing like meeting someone who is going through the exact same thing. There are all types of ways to get involved.
Not ready for that? That's cool. Find a psoriasis Facebook group to join. Talk to other members of the group. Exchange stories and get advice on how to do more for yourself and your psoriasis community.
Spreading psoriasis awareness
You don't have to have tons of time, money, or skills to spread awareness. All you need is a voice and a desire to use it.
I would love to see a day where we can all love one another despite our differences. And every little step made is a step towards that day. Have any recommendations on how to get more involved? Post them below. Have a story? Post that too.
Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?