5 theatre masks representing the 5 emotions mentioned in the article.

5 Emotional Symptoms of Psoriasis I've Felt

You've heard of a rollercoaster of emotions, right? Well for me, prior to 7 years ago, there was no such thing as a rollercoaster. Having psoriasis was more like a one-way ticket to hell with no way back up. I hated the fact my body was mostly covered with the flaky, itchy, irritating, inflamed plaques of psoriasis. Most times I didn't understand my emotions enough to truly identify them thus my feelings went unheard. All I knew physically, mentally, and emotionally I felt extreme discomfort.

When it comes to psoriasis, I have felt a multitude of emotions, mainly ones of discomfort and sadness. As a person growing up with psoriasis most of these emotions had a unique place in my life and in my mind were there to either help me to reason, to protect me, or to give me a "reality check." As I stumbled into adulthood I realize these negative emotions were doing more harm than good and today I work to let them go. Here are the 5 emotional symptoms of psoriasis I experienced and the reasons why:

The fear

Psoriasis caused a multitude of fears, which was mostly derived from the insecurity of living with a visible disease. I feared people would assume I was contagious and discriminate against me. I feared I would never find an effective treatment. I also feared no one would ever love, one of the reasons being my psoriasis.

The guilt

Psoriasis has a tendency to make you feel guilty. There have been times I internally scolded myself for not being more diligent with a treatment. Other times I've made up excuses not to do something with friends because I didn't want to have to expose my skin, and I dealt with the guiltiness of lying about why. Sometimes you feel guilty for having psoriasis in the first place and think to yourself what could I have done differently? 

The sadness 

Summertime was always when I felt the most sadness and depression. I was unhappy with the fact I had psoriasis and couldn't show it without stares or questions. It made me sad when people stared or made rude comments. Now as a psoriasis advocate I take advantage of every moment I can discuss and share the mechanics of psoriasis, but back then I lived in shamed and avoided any opportunity to talk about my disease. Due to sadness, I isolated and avoided lots of situations.

The embarrassment

Psoriasis is a very embarrassing disease. I've been embarrassed by the unidentified flakes I left on the restroom at work and at school. I've been embarrassed by the dry up blood on my sheets. I've been embarrassed when someone asked in front of a group of people, "What's up with your skin?" The embarrassment is linked to the shame of having the disease.

The worry 

This can also be called anxiety. I remember locating the little bit of courage I could muster up to wear short sleeves or shorts. The entire time I would be out I would worry about who was looking at me, what they were thinking, or what they would say. I remember almost quitting a pageant because I was overwhelmed with the thoughts of what people would think of me when I walked out on the stage with my psoriasis spotted skin. Worry was a huge component of psoriasis.

There are many more emotions I've felt due to psoriasis. What has helped me thus far is acknowledging these emotions, giving myself self-care, and sharing how I feel with trust people especially others living with psoriasis. What emotions have you dealt with while living with psoriasis? How do you break the cycle of negative thought patterns?

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