I grew up in the days when there definitely were no cell phones, iPads, tablets or electronic devices to keep you occupied. So here I am, a young girl with psoriasis in the worst way; covered from head to toe, without all the technology to distract me. One of the things I remember clearly growing up was so many years of watching Charlie Brown. I know it had to be at least 40 or more years. As we enter into this new year, I can’t help but be amazed at how fast the last 59 years have gone by. It doesn’t matter how many years have passed by, I will always remember the little girl with the burning, itching, and pain that came with my psoriasis. I had nothing to entertain and distract me, which often made my pain worse. The one constant that I remember counting on making me feel better was watching the show Charlie Brown or the movie Charlie Brown’s Christmas.
I wanted to know what the brain had to do with my psoriasis and my memory of it. Of all the TV shows I watched growing up, this is the only one that would brighten up my day. This is the one movie that if I was sad or crying; it would actually shift me into another place and time. I found this (and continue to find this) astounding. Why? What was it about Charlie Brown and Snoopy? It let me realize that our brain has a lot to do with our emotions. I just finally said well maybe this was my “happy medicine”.
Children with psoriasis
When we visit hospitals and see sick children with psoriasis or other diseases, it’s not uncommon to hear the nurses saying, “This is that child’s favorite book, toy or even television show.” It’s something that makes their brain happy; even in sickness. Even as an adult I have my things that make my brain happy. It could be my coffee, a good book or even a nap. These things really put me in a happy place. None of us ask to have these diseases and we can’t help the fact that we do have them. I think we all deserve to have a happy brain every now and then. I know every day can’t be a happy day and it isn’t for me either. I decided over twelve years ago to enjoy the journey. I wanted to be an advocate for this disease. I had to give myself permission to say that I am wonderful in every way. I found out that I couldn’t have a positive life with a negative attitude.
Rewire our brain
We are always reading about the devastation and depression of having psoriasis. I would like to think that we can rewire our brains to overpower these awful emotions. It’s sad to see sick kids sad and be in pain. I share this story because even the age I am today; if I find myself turning on the TV and pulling up Charlie Brown it really is instant happy medicine to me. I experience so much pain with psoriatic arthritis and sometimes I try to rewire my brain to a good moment; to take my mind off the pain. Yes, it works and we can rewire our brain to help us to not 100% focus on the suffering our disease brings.
What’s your happy medicine?
Snoopy may not be a fond memory for you, but I’m sure you have a fond memory of something. Nobody can remove all the big and little things that cause stress in our lives, but we can refuse to allow our circumstances to dictate how we are going to feel. We can’t control our pain, but we can control how we respond to it.
As for me and my psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis; I know I can’t cure my condition, but I do have a say in how I handle my situation. If you can’t find your happy place, try talking to your doctor or a health professional. They can help you become stronger emotionally.
May your 2018 be a year of happy medicine; fond memories no matter what your disease is.