What It Means to Have Friends With Psoriasis
This is my circus and these are my monkeys.
I do not have a lot of people in life that I consider to be my people. You know, the people you can be your complete self around - and can accept help from. I often feel different from most and do not often make meaningful connections. Although when I do, they are usually lasting.
Since the start of the pandemic, I have connected with people online than ever. I am a part of a variety of online groups. It's fun to connect with people who have shared interests. I met someone recently online, in an alternative music online group. We chatted about all manner of things and subsequently became friends.
This has led to what I am almost sure, will be a lifelong friendship. In addition to sharing a love of alternative music, we also share life with psoriasis.
Wait, you have psoriasis too?!
Within one of our many conversations, my new friend was telling me about his health struggles. I found myself empathizing and sharing with him my own struggles of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
His words were. “Oh my goodness, you have psoriasis - so do I.” This was followed with a small squeal of delight on my end. Pure connection - not someone who thinks they understand. Someone who really, truly, did get it.
We shared this feeling. Even though we experienced things from our own perspective, we were connected by the same afflictions.
Bonding over shared experiences
This immediate connection naturally gave way to an extensive conversation about every single remedy, tip, trick, and idea we had up our itchy sleeves. This connection had a different ring to it, and we had the most wonderful time, sharing hope and ideas.
We rattled off the creams, shampoos, and crazy ideas we've tried. We laughed and we chatted and we connected in a way I had forgotten was possible.
We chatted about the different approaches and opinions that people, even strangers have said to us. There was no embarrassment or apprehension to talk about what we had been through and what we were going through.
A new perspective
This interaction, this connection brought on some external feelings as well. It is unfair and unrealistic for us to expect others to understand what we are going through.
As much as what we want them to, and often as much as they want to understand and “get it”. It is much like expecting a fish to climb a tree.
This realization has helped me manage my own expectations of the people who find themselves in my inner support group. It has also given me the tools and the understanding of what I can expect from them. I've been able to help them manage their own expectations.
The power of friendships
While an online friendship is not a replacement for a physical one, it goes a long way to creating connections. It makes the world a much less lonely place. The connections and friendships you make are real and can be long-lasting.
Some of the friends I have made in the online psoriasis communities have lasted many many years. Some of those people I have never met. Yet every day they add value to my world. You are not alone in this.
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