What I Love About My Psoriasis
First of all—thank you for opening this article! I am sure there are many out there that rolled their eyes at the title and thought to themselves, “we have a Pollyanna on our hands!” That is completely understandable. I would have thought the same thing even just one year ago.
Recently someone asked me: “If there was a cure for psoriasis, would you jump on the opportunity to make your disease go away?” This question actually gave me pause, which surprised me! I would never try to downplay the hard things about psoriasis; after all, there are a lot of them! I spent close to a decade loathing and mourning all the terrible things about this disease. However, in the last year, I changed my mindset and realized some amazing things that have come out of my sufferings.
The first thing I love about my psoriasis is how it has allowed me to form deep connections with others. Whether it is a stranger at the supermarket that notices the patches on my skin and bravely displays their own to me or the follower on social media who shares their diagnosis with me, there is an instant connection. This isn’t a shallow, acquaintance type of interaction; it is a moving bond of two people with a shared, deep experience.
The one reaction I hear time and time again when I share my disease is, “I am so happy to finally meet someone like me.” Even though there are nearly 8 million people in the United States alone with this disease, it can feel like one of the loneliest diseases there is. We cover up our plaques to conceal them from those who don’t understand, but what we end up doing is also hiding from other suffers, which perpetuates the feeling of isolation. Because of this, those moments of discovery are so profound. It is akin to finding a long lost sibling. A shared journey creates an indescribable tie.
I am a very humble person because of my disease. In fact, I am the most humble person in the whole entire world! Ok, just kidding there. But really, having such a visible often-criticized disease has molded me into the person I am today. The whole “don’t think of yourself higher than you ought” philosophy was easy for me to follow.
Again—not trying to be a Pollyanna here—I acknowledge that this part of myself took an unhealthy turn at times. There were years I hated my appearance and constantly compared myself to others. I grew up during the Baywatch years, and for the life of me couldn’t comprehend why I didn’t get to look like The Hoff! Thankfully as I matured, my mindset grew with me. I started to focus on the aspects of myself that were not visible. I realized I was kind of a funny guy, had a knack for remembering pop culture and was able to execute movie lines or trivia at the exact right moment to pad my social interactions.
Without experiencing hurt, it is difficult to show compassion. I think it is probably an age-old question to decide what is worse: experiencing misery or the inability to show compassion. Fortunately, I didn’t have to make that choice. I was served a double dose of misery the day my skin turned against me. Because of that, having compassion for others has come easy.
This doesn’t just extend to others with psoriatic disease. It applies to the teenager struggling with acne all the way to the elderly woman with cancer. I understand the embarrassment, the fatigue, the sick of being sick feelings. I hurt to see their hurt because I know intimately the emotional and physical pain that comes with having a disease you did nothing to deserve. This, to me, is what life is about. My mother-in-law may have a lot of quirks, but I love the saying she constantly quotes: “We are not put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.” I don’t think I could have ever comprehended that saying before, but it is now my mission.
Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been living with psoriasis for years, I hope that you can find the good in your disease. My hope for all psoriatic patients is that they live their lives fully and positively. This is a serious disease, but we don’t have to take ourselves too seriously. Enjoy life.
Does your psoriasis skin feel out of control? How are you managing?