The Importance of Emotional Support When You Have Psoriasis

A couple of months ago, I was standing in the bathroom, looking at my face in the mirror, examining all the imperfections. I bet I’m not the only one who does this more often than I care to admit. It was around that time that I started noticing some scaly patches around my left eye.

I didn’t like the familiar look of it. I couldn’t stop looking at it, poking and prodding it, while I also wanted to ignore it.

When symptoms are out of control

In the past, no matter how bad my psoriasis had been, it had always avoided my face. It would come close, to around my hairline, behind and inside my ears, on my scalp, and down my neck, but never my face. Since it was almost everywhere else on my body, I considered myself very lucky that it was not on my face.

But after all this time, it seemed like I was going to have to start taking some serious action before it took over. Way back, before I started taking biologic drugs in the early 1990s, my psoriasis was out of control.

My skin didn’t feel human. I felt like a reptile. When I turned over in bed at night, my thick patches of plaque psoriasis would crack and bleed. My skin was covered so completely that movement was difficult. My clothes had to be very comfortable with few seams. Denim was too painful to touch my skin.

Reflecting on times of emotional support

Because my movements were so limited, by both plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, I was in great need of support, both physical and emotional. Fortunately, I shared a home with my friend Peggy during that time. Some of the things that she did for me went so far above and beyond what so many friends would do, and I still think about how grateful I am all these years later.

Peggy knew that it was difficult for me to pick up a large container of milk or laundry detergent, but the large containers were more budget-friendly. We bought the larger sizes and then she would fill smaller containers so I could lift them.

She was always careful to place anything I needed off the ground so I did not have to bend to pick up anything. Peggy knew how painful my skin was when I had to bend over.

Mental health needs protection too

Peggy was also a fiercely protective friend. While she was understanding those who simply wanted to know more about my condition, she never wanted me to hear those questions. She understood how self-conscious I was about my skin and how hard it is to go through life looking so much different than others.

In so many ways, she was like a mother and wanted to protect me from anyone who was being unkind. In the past, I have written about a manager who reprimanded me for my unsightly skin, telling me that my colleagues complained about having to look at it.

Sadly, I apologized for my skin and did everything I could to try to protect my co-workers from the sight of it. If I knew then what I know now, I would have responded so much differently to that situation. I would have provided more education to my manager. I would have reached out to his management to demand more education for the staff and more protection for myself. I was not unworthy of physical and emotional protection because my skin wasn’t as pretty as they wanted it to be.

I will support you too

The psoriasis that recently showed up on my face is still there but isn’t as aggressive as it was in the days before a biologic. I hope that it doesn’t spread, but I feel much better equipped to manage it than I did in the early days of my psoriatic disease, when I needed someone else to be my support for me.

Today, I feel ready to stand up and support myself and if I see someone else struggling with psoriasis, I will do everything I can to support you too.

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