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Psoriasis Catch-22

Wikipedia defines a catch-22 as “a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules.” They give the example of not being able to find a job because you don’t have experience, but you can’t get experience until you get a job. It’s the perfect conundrum! If you’ve lived with psoriasis for any length of time, you may also be familiar with these psoriasis-related catch-22s.

Stress makes my psoriasis flare, but psoriasis gives me stress

We’ll start with everyone’s favorite. It’s well known that stress is a huge trigger for many of us – some can even tie their first flare to a stressful event in their life. And so, we are told time and time again to destress. Decompress. Meditate. Take some “you” time. But what if the BIGGEST stressor in my life is my psoriasis?! When you’re in a full-on flare there’s plenty to stress about. Will I have to take time off work? Will this cause my psoriatic arthritis to flare as well? Is everyone looking at psoriasis on my face? Not to mention the inherent stress that comes along with being in a constant state of itching and pain.

Sun helps my psoriasis, but I don’t want to wear bathing suits

There are a small percentage of those with psoriasis who don’t respond well to sunlight, but for most of us the sun is super beneficial. So much so that many of us talk about moving somewhere tropical where we can reap the benefits of sun and saltwater all year round. Here’s the thing though... if there’s psoriasis on my arms/legs that would benefit from sunlight, that means I have to EXPOSE that skin to the world. I don’t know about you, but when I’m flaring, the last... the LAST thing I want to wear is a bathing suit. This presents quite the dilemma.

Medications might control my symptoms, but medications might create side effects

Psoriasis symptoms can at times feel unbearable. But how do you weigh the known against the unknown? Reading the laundry list of potential side effects for the new medication your Dermatologist has recommended can be totally overwhelming. Is it worth controlling the itching if I might get migraines? Do I really want my joint pain to go away if it means I might increase my risk of cancer, however slight? This situation isn’t made any easier with the knowledge that not controlling the underlying inflammation also increases your risk of things like heart disease and other autoimmune conditions. It sometimes feels like picking the least of all the evils.

Psoriasis causes fatigue, but I can’t sleep because psoriasis keeps me up at night

This one to me represents the height of frustration. If you didn’t already know, chronic underlying inflammation can cause fatigue. Not just “feeling a little tired,” we’re talking all-consuming exhaustion. This makes it extra important that we get lots of rest so our bodies can heal. But what happens when that same autoimmune disease that causes the fatigue also causes terrible itching and pain that prevents you from sleeping?! During my worst flares, I’ve headed to bed at 6 pm, in the hopes that sometime in the next 13 hours I might be able to grab enough hours of sleep to make me functional the next day.

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