Dear "Suffering Alone"
To my fellow psoriatic sufferer sitting in the shadows:
First off, I want to say that I have been there. I can relate. I have sat at home for days on end because it was easier than going in public and facing the stares and intruding questions. I have let myself slip into boredom watching old reruns because it’s more bearable to leave a scaly trail on my own couch than on the bus or restaurant chair. I have faked being sick with multiple ailments to avoid social events where I would have to uncomfortably conceal my constant need to itch. I too had a wardrobe that was absent of white that shows bleeding and black that shows flakes.
I get it. I know how hard it is, and I want to say that I am so deeply sorry. I am sorry that you are enduring these sacrifices. I am sorry that you feel isolated and lonely. There is nothing you did to deserve to have such a burdensome disease. This is not your fault. It didn’t happen because you ate junk, or drank too much alcohol, or exposed yourself to something unhealthy, or got a vaccine, or any of the other million reasons that you or someone else has blamed for your condition. You may have done those things, and something may have triggered the onset, but they didn’t cause this. Please give yourself grace.
I want you to know that you are of great value. Your worth doesn’t come from your appearance, even though I know there are days when it feels like it. This disease does not have to hinder you from what you dreamed your future to be. If you want to be married and have kids—do it! There is someone out there that will love you, all of you. If you want to be a business tycoon—do it! Your savvy mind is not altered by psoriasis. If you want to climb Everest—dot it! Just bring plenty of moisturizer. Dry, cold weather can really make your skin itch.
Most importantly, know that you are not alone.
I spent 15 years feeling alone and isolated. Yes, I got married and held jobs during this time, but I hid. Most of my body never saw daylight for 15 years. I covered up and lived life minimally to avoid any awkward situations I thought my skin might cause. As I look back now, I realize that wasn’t living. I wasted the prime of my youth in a big pity party.
Then I met one person with psoriasis as severe as mine. One person that understood the painstaking fatigue and constant scratching. One person led me out of the shadows. From there I found a whole community of others just like me. Online, locally, globally, there are others waiting to talk to you. Others suffering from the same chronic symptoms as you long to share their story and hear yours. You don’t have to walk through this by yourself. You are already so much stronger than you realize.
Start by checking out the community right here at plaquepsoriasis.com. Then, when you feel strong enough, seek out support groups in your town, or start one yourself. Just remember to be gentle with yourself. Cut yourself the same slack that you give others. I hope to see you around!
Your Spotty Friend, Chris
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