Mental Health And Psoriasis
Last updated: May 2021
If you are newly diagnosed, I am sure you are struggling to get your head wrapped around the fact of having psoriasis. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed or scared at the thought of it all. It could be that you are feeling like your life is virtually over now.
My journey with psoriasis and mental health
One thing is sure, having psoriasis can and will do a number on your mental health. The toll it can take can define you every day. It is with the sincere hope that as I share with you my story you will find a bit of your own story in these lines.
By telling you my journey, I want you to understand you are never alone. I wish I could say it is an overnight process but in my case, it took me several years.
A new diagnosis
Seventeen years is how long I have been living with psoriasis. It started as one patch on my left leg. Oh, how it spread. After that one patch and at my worst, I soon was 80% covered in plaques.
I can still remember vividly the day I was diagnosed. Psoriasis, are you sure? What is it and how bad will it get? I had never even heard the word. My mind was swirling around in every direction possible. The more I learned about psoriasis the more I wanted to crawl in a hole.
The thought of it being an incurable disease was devastating to me. It just made everything I was going through at the time seem like it was suddenly so much worse. All I could keep thinking was the word, incurable. At age 33, an incurable disease seemed like a death sentence. I truly felt my life was over at that point.
The embarrassment that comes with psoriasis
For years all I could do is watch my psoriasis spread to more and more areas. As if the word incurable was not enough, now I had to watch my body under siege from this terrible disease. The more it spread, the more my mental state suffered.
I was humiliated by my own body. No way was I going out in public where someone could see it. That would just make me feel worse. The stares were unbearable. Whether they were truly there or only in my imagination, I felt so embarrassed. I sure bet you can relate to that one.
Holding on to false hope
As if all of this wasn't bad enough, the worst of the mental state came six months into being put on my first biologic. You see, I just knew that this biologic was going to take care of my plaques.
Boy, was I wrong. This treatment did nothing. I was hit rock bottom. A deep depression is what followed. Believe it or not, I even went so far as to tell my husband I would give him a divorce if he didn't want to stay.
I felt ugly, useless, and just lost all hope. My days were spent crying. Nothing would make me feel better, not even my husband saying he would never leave me. But you see that was then and this is now.
Finding a psoriasis community
One of the best things I ever did was contact the National Psoriasis Foundation. It truly turned my life around. I got to meet other people who also had psoriasis. That within itself was life-changing to me. Getting involved also was another change for the good. I now feel like my psoriasis had a purpose.
You see by getting out of my mental state, I can now help people by mentoring those that need it. I totally understand if you feel you are not ready for that. I did say it took years.
If you are struggling mentally I get it. Please find someone to talk to. Whether it is a psychiatrist, the National Psoriasis Foundation, online support groups, or whatever way you find to cope with psoriasis. I implore you not to stay stuck in the mental health anguish that we find ourselves in. You can get out of it and live life abundantly.
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