The First Word Is the Hardest: Talking About Psoriasis
I don’t have to tell you how life with psoriasis can be incredibly challenging. Itchy or painful skin, self-confidence issues, and side effects from medications can be a daily crushing burden. These frustrations, coupled with a lack of support from those around you, can sometimes feel like too much to bear. People with chronic health conditions talk about how it is so important and valuable to create lines of open communication. Talking with those around you about your experiences, in order to seek support, validation, and guidance, can have many positive benefits. However, psoriasis and its impact on your life can be difficult to talk about. Here are some tips that may help you start conversations between you and those around you about what you are going through.
It may seem silly, but often the first person you need to get past is yourself. While it may not be possible to be 100% accepting of yourself and your body at all times, it is important that you find the strength and energy within yourself to start a conversation with others. Even if you are seeking support in someone else to help raise your self-confidence, starting conversations with the mindset that you want to become more comfortable with yourself can make all the difference.
While many of us know our family loves us, it can be hard to get them to understand exactly what we are going through. However, when you are living with a condition that can affect your mind and body on many levels, it is important to communicate to your family exactly what it is you need from them. Pointing them towards general information resources like this online community, and asking them to spend a few minutes reading about what’s going on in your life, can be a great starting point. Additionally, taking family members to your doctor appointments or a support group meeting can allow them to gain a small glimpse into your world and what you are going through.
Friends, Acquaintances, and Strangers
How you decide to communicate with those you encounter in your daily world is totally up to you. You may have some friends who treat more like you would your family, and that’s great! You can decide how much information you want to share with others, and it may even help to have a couple pre-practiced phrases on hand that you are comfortable sharing with anyone around you or anyone who asks. Basic facts or silly phrases that make you comfortable could make all the difference in an awkward or difficult situation.
Talking to a significant other about psoriasis can be terrifying for many, especially those who have more private areas affected. It is important to remember that you can control when and how you want to talk about your body, and those who respect you as a person will ask you how they can best support you.
If your psoriasis symptoms are severe enough that it interferes with your work, or if you need to take time off for doctor’s appointments or treatments, it can be helpful to open a line of communication between you and your supervisor at work. As with your friends and acquaintances, you can decide how much you want to share, and don’t need to divulge any more than you are comfortable with.
Not the Last Word…
Starting with an online community like this one, or a support group of others going through the same experiences, can help you build up the courage to talk to those around you about what you are going through. This can be the first step to building up your self-confidence. You may find it easier to engage others in conversations that end up helping you manage psoriasis and your life over time. Let us know how you communicate with others about your plaque psoriasis and what helps you!