My Mental Health and Psoriasis
Last updated: May 2021
The effect psoriasis has on mental health
Those living with psoriasis also have frequent visits to the doctor with numerous examinations and therapeutic procedures. These are a few examples we go through during treatments that can be really tiring and time-consuming.
If you have ever done phototherapy, you know it requires seeing a doctor several times a week, and the procedure itself can be lengthy. We have to take long commutes back and forth weekly.
All of these can have a significant impact on our day-to-day commitments such as school and work. Most jobs don't want you missing time from work to take treatments and this would not look good on your school record.
The journey of psoriasis and mental health
Back in the day just seeing psoriasis on my skin significantly affected my self-image and my self-esteem. There are still many people that are still stigmatized by the ignorance and misconception that we are contagious. It’s not uncommon to develop a sense of shame, that can later result in clinical depression and anxiety.
I have had psoriasis for 56 years. You can feel helpless, lonely, sad, and hopeless at times. Depression was on the top of that list for me. Not one doctor treated me for depression or even felt like they needed to ask how I was doing.
Didn’t anyone ever think that if you are covered over 70 to 80% of your body that you would be an emotional mess?
Working through the psoriasis stares
It is a myth that psoriasis is contagious. This affects other people's behavior and makes it very difficult to feel relaxed at times. Situations can become quite bitter and difficult to handle. We have been asked to leave the pool or gym. There are some that experience situations where colleagues at work respond negatively to them.
All in all, psoriasis can significantly affect relationships with people in their environment. Psoriasis makes it tough for many patients to establish emotional and sexual relationships with a partner. It can also affect your family life.
We sometimes avoid places that other family members like to go such as the beach or family reunions. I never wanted to hold babies because I knew deep down what that parent was thinking. I just did not want to expose my skin or feel ashamed.
How mental health affects psoriasis today
Today, we know that people with psoriasis suffer psychologically due to negative environmental reactions. Many people who often point out that the biggest cause of their psychological problems is the way people respond to their illness. We have to deal with the pointing and the stares.
Others have viewed folks strangely and made inappropriate comments in a mean way to them. We have the people who are brave enough to ask uncomfortable questions like we don't have feelings. My favorite people are the ones that don’t want to sit near us or touch us.
Develop methods to improve mental health
Since psoriasis is a chronic illness that might last for a lifetime. It is extremely important to learn how to develop methods for coping with the disease. Learn how to organize your life as best as possible. You want the treatments to feel as painless as possible.
Join a support group and find people who understand. This community is always here if you ever need to chat.
You are not alone in your psoriasis struggle
If you’re struggling with psoriasis, you are never alone. Psoriasis is a huge part of our lives. Remember, you are still the same person you were before the disease. We have desires, dreams, problems, and obligations just like everyone else.
Psoriasis should be accepted as part of yourself. Don’t let this define who we are. Embrace and emphasize the positives you are proud of before. They still exist with psoriasis.
Are you recently diagnosed with psoriasis?