Last updated: May 2018
We all have different ways we decompress from our day. Mine is perusing YouTube for things that will make me laugh. I recently stumbled upon a channel that does a series on mean tweets. Celebrities read and respond to real critical tweets written about them. (One person actually wrote that Emma Stone looked like she smelled like cat pee.)
It’s easy to laugh at these horrible insults, because the celebrities often respond in a clever way or fully agree with the author. But, the more I thought about it, most of these offenses probably struck a chord with the subject and highlighted a part of themselves they are already self-conscious about. It made me realize that everyone is a target at some point or another for rude and hurtful comments.
What are people saying about psoriasis on Twitter?
Those of us with psoriasis are very familiar with this area. We are hyper-aware of the reactions of those around us. When I am in the midst of a flare and walk into a room, I expect there to be stares and comments. In the social media world, those same expectations can creep into my mind. It can be scary to make yourself vulnerable and post a picture or experience related to your disease.
So I decided to go on a Twitter hunt to see what people are saying about psoriasis. I inserted “psoriasis” next to various other words I have heard over the ages. Some of the words I added were “gross”, “weird”, and “yuck”. I wasn’t all that surprised to see hundreds of results pull up. I’ll be honest; I almost abandoned my research altogether. I was afraid of the hurtful things I might see.
What I found was actually surprising. Out of all those tweets, I only found one that was a truly harassing statement aimed towards our community. The insult read “psoriasis is f____ing gross. #gross #cantstopstaring”. Thankfully it had no likes or comments and was posted by someone that only had 1 follower. *cough*troll*cough*
Are we our own worst enemy?
The most shocking thing is that the other hundreds of posts with those keywords were from those with psoriasis about THEMSELVES. This broke my heart more than anything did. Pages and pages of tweets like these ones:
“I'm considering cutting my gross psoriasis foot off”
“How liberating it is to be out of a potential dating pool when you're fat and covered in gross psoriasis scars”
“I hate having psoriasis because I would literally have to wear a burka to cover it all and it’s so gross with tan over it”
“Yuck. My immune system attacks my skin (psoriasis). Which sucks because you can't hide it”
You are more than your psoriasis
Tweet after tweet would show up like the ones above. If these sentiments ring true in your own ears, or you have thought these things about yourself, I want to tell you that you don’t deserve those mean words—whether they are coming from you or someone else. My hope is that the social media world can become a platform for encouraging each other and celebrating our differences. I know this is a little pie in the sky thinking, but take a moment today to write something positive about yourself. Your psoriasis has made you resilient, compassionate to others, and unique. Tweet that!
Does your psoriasis management change with the seasons?