Five Things I Need to Remind Myself About Psoriasis on a Bad Day
Last updated: December 2019
The easiest thing to do when my psoriasis is bad is to lock myself away in the house and pretend the world doesn't exist. This is not a great long term strategy.
What to remind yourself on bad days with psoriasis
Over the years, I've learned some coping lessons that provide me comfort when I'm having a bad day with psoriasis. These are some of my five reminders to make sure I stay healthy in the long term.
1. I am not alone in my psoriasis battle
It's so easy to feel alone when struggling with psoriasis. Yet, 125 million other people are living with psoriasis too. MILLION. Just think how happy we would be if we won just ONE million dollars.
Let's remember there are 125 million other people just us in our world to meet, share with and learn from. I remind myself that people like to hide their patches if they can, so how would I know who they were? When I started sharing my psoriasis blogs on facebook, several people approached me online and at my daughter's playgroup to share that they also had psoriasis. People I have seen frequently, and yet I never knew.
There are even people online if sharing on facebook isn't your thing. Groups online, where people share challenges and wins. Do you want to complain about the woman who just challenged you for being at the swimming pool with 'chickenpox'? Then go online and share. It's can feel pretty good when people say 'Oh my goodness that happened to me too!" Especially when you feel isolated, misunderstood or lonely.
There are also increasing numbers of celebrities talking about psoriasis now, which is raising awareness though I have yet to find anyone I would class as a role model. If you have a good suggestion - let me know in the comments!
2. My doctor is here to help on bad days
I have had doctors I hated, but I have now found someone who understands that psoriasis is more than just a rash on my skin. I should make more doctor's appointments if I'm struggling. Even when I know there's nothing else he can prescribe me. Doctors can help identify steps to support mental health.
Plus, doctors have the power to help skip waiting lists for consultant appointments and transfer out of healthcare trusts. Keeping a strong doctor-patient relationship is worth the investment.
3. Moisturizing is my psoriasis friend
I sometimes don't moisturize on purpose. I class this as self-destructive behavior alongside the chocolate bingeing. It's a fact of my life that everything is better when my skin is hydrated.
Moisturizing helps me look younger and better; clothes don't hurt, my skin doesn't crack and flaking doesn't happen so much. The only downsides are time and cost. If I work out the cost per application, then I know price is just me being stubborn. It probably costs more to wash the blood out of my white t-shirt from cracked plaques in winter (or to buy more chocolate).
Time? Also, a terrible excuse because I now use moisturizing as quality me time. Candles, music, and enjoyment of silence. I apply the moisturizer slowly and if my skin is sore, I say positive affirmations to remind myself that my skin isn't evil and that my body doesn't hate me. When I'm very wealthy, I will pay someone to apply my moisturizer and emollients luxuriously twice a day, but until that day arrives, this will do nicely.
4. Stress makes psoriasis worse
I get into stress loops. I am doing well and then I realize I have more client work than childcare days and my podcast is already a week late. Then I start trying to fit the job into places it shouldn't be - like checking emails in the bathroom and while watching 101 Dalmations with the kids on a Friday night.
I get that reminding myself that stress makes psoriasis worse is droll. But I don't like psoriasis getting worse, it makes me sadder, moodier and stresses me out more and so this reminder helps me escape the loop.
Some of my escape loop strategies include sitting in the car for 10 minutes and listen to a meditation or shopping online. Another would be finding the time for yoga stretches, which sometimes leads me to more physical exercise. Making a lunch date with a friend who makes me feel good or booking in with my beautician. Seriously, I get less nail psoriasis with gel nails; therefore, it's not even a luxury expense.
5. Don't stop being who you are.
This sounds obvious, and if it hasn't happened to you yet, it may seem unlikely. However, it happens all the time, and it is so easy to do that you don't even realize it's happening.
It starts like this: Your skin is flaring, so you start covering up and stop meeting your friend for the monthly shopping spree you had every month on payday. You also don't replace it with anything, like just meeting for a coffee. You stop going to the gym because you don't want people looking at you.
You're trying to heal with diet, so you have stopped eating nightshades, alcohol, gluten, and dairy. It's so confusing for friends and for eating out, that so you stop accepting invitations where food is involved. Just because your skin is getting worse, doesn't mean you need to stop anything.
Getting through a bad day with psoriasis
Avoiding things makes everything worse because you usually end up giving up things that supported your mental health and relieved your stress levels. It is especially critical in healing from psoriasis (and having a happy life).
Yes, you may need to adapt. Everything has a workaround. Don't give up. Ask other people for suggestions if you can't think of any yourself.
Are you recently diagnosed with psoriasis?