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Finding Your Tribe

We often hear the phrase, we're better together. Honestly, although it can feel overused at times, it's one of the truest statements. When living with a chronic condition, often times you can feel alone. Many times those of us with psoriasis don't feel understood. This is magnified if you don't have other friends or family that know what you're experiencing. 

Connection and relatability are so important. It can make the difference in how we even cope with and manage our symptoms. Connection is even what led me to share here and also to become involved with support groups and organizations committed to those of us in psoriasis community. Finding my tribe has led to not only support but great friendships and people I know I can turn to if I ever need them.

Finding others living with psoriasis

During the COVID-19 pandemic is when I experienced one of my worst flares. Although I've lived with psoriasis nearly my entire life, this was different. I didn't understand why my body was going through so much, and so fast. On top of that, the world was shut down. We were already quarantined inside, and additionally I couldn't get in to see my dermatologist for several months. That is when I went on the internet to find others who were experiencing what I was experiencing. I also wanted to connect with other women of color with the same issues so I could figure out some tips and tricks to use while waiting to be seen by my dermatologist.

This or That

Do you have a treatment that helps your psoriasis?

Although I was able to join Facebook groups that ranged from just "Psoriasis" to "Women With Psoriasis" I didn't really find or interact with any other black women in these groups. That's when I literally said to myself, if there isn't one, I'll start my own. From there I started my own support group Sistas with Psoriasis and as one by one members joined, I began to grow my tribe.

Different conditions, similar stories

I am so forever grateful to each and every person I have connected with along this journey. Before really finding my tribe I didn't really want to complain too much about my challenges to those closest to me. I never want to be viewed as a complainer, or there's always something going on with me. Having these new found connections gives me the freedom of true vulnerability. Most times we have similar experiences and can share with each other what has worked, what hasn't and more. It honestly feels good to connect with others in this way.

Recently I went to a conference for online health advocates. There were advocates that represented multiple conditions from Breast Cancer, HIV, Diabetes, you name it. What I learned is although we have different conditions, we all share in similar stories. We all need community. I left there with a whole new family of support, and again they represented many conditions. I would encourage you to not limit yourself to just the psoriasis community. There are others with similar struggles that can relate and may be able to support you. Of course, having someone share in your condition matters. But, also having someone who has lived experience with chronic conditions can be beneficial to your life as well.

Starting somewhere

For many, the best way to get connected with others in the psoriasis community is through organizations like the National Psoriasis Foundation. You can start by having a mentor, and then if you choose to get involved start by going to events. There, you can meet others. If it's easier for you to connect online there are so many groups you can be a part of. As always, these groups are not meant to replace or get medical advice, but to get in community with others you can relate to. Having trouble finding your fit? Why not do what I did and create your own. You never know who you may be able to help or impact just by creating that safe space.

Finding my tribe, and even aligning with others who have different chronic conditions have fueled my spirit. I am never alone, there is always someone who understands my challenges. Will you start your journey to find your tribe? Have you found them?  If not what do you think the barriers or challenges are. I look forward to hearing from you!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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