Angry face with pink hair, mouth, and shirt, Skin is dried and cracked.

Lashing Out at Psoriasis

The one thing that burns more than my skin is my anger. When I am in physical pain due to tight, cracked, dry skin it translates to mental and emotional pain. I feel gross and inadequate. I start to lose hope that I will ever find a treatment than gives me extended relief. I get caught up in a downward spiral that has me believe I will never escape all this pain.

All of these physiological and psychological byproducts of psoriasis cause me to lash out—usually at the people I love most. I find myself getting irritated with my kids for being too loud or accidentally knocking something over. I will pick a fight with my wife because it is easier to blame the hurt on someone else than owning up to the fact that it is internal. As my disease spreads, my temper shortens. If you are reading this and nodding your head along with me, then I have some words wisdom that I have learned from years with this disease but often forget.

Own your anger

If you are like me and don’t want to continue to isolate yourself and alienate your loved ones, then there comes a time when you must pull up your pants and take responsibility. This is a crucial first step, but it is the hardest. This is so hard that I have spent many a wallowing month avoiding it. I did not do anything to cause this painful disease, but I am responsible for my reactions. I choose the words I say to those around me. I choose to focus on the bad instead of finding some good. I choose to withdraw from my loved ones. Just like the dog isn’t responsible for your missing homework— psoriasis isn’t responsible for your unkind words and actions.

Dig deeper- where is the anger coming from?

Most strong emotions come from a place much further down than meets the eye. Yes, the physical pain takes a toll and definitely impacts my mood, but there is usually more to it. If I am being honest with myself, I have a huge fear of rejection. I worry that my wife is going to get tired of taking care of all my health issues. I worry that my kids won’t want to invite friends over to our house because they will be embarrassed by what their friends will think of my skin. I worry that I am not worthy of love when I am at my worst. So, what do I do? I reject them before I think they will reject me. The key word there is “think”. None of this is based in reality, and if I dig even deeper I will find it is most likely tied to some childhood lies I believed about myself due to bullying.

Ask forgiveness

I never said this process would be easy and asking for forgiveness isn’t easy either because it means you have to admit you hurt someone. However, if it makes it any easier, I have never had someone not accept my apology when I am truly open with them. Sharing about those things you discovered when you dug a little deeper can not only be healing, but it can create even stronger bonds with those you love.

Know when to go further

A few times I have realized that I needed extra help to get out of my funk (as I liked to call it). Depression goes hand in hand with psoriasis, and if you have it, it isn’t something you can talk yourself out of. Don’t be ashamed if you need to get help from a counselor or ask your doctor about medication. Even if you have said hurtful things, I guarantee you that your loved ones love you dearly and want you to be in their lives for a long time— so take care of yourself. As always, reach out to the community if you ever need to talk.

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