The Psoriasis Mindset
Last updated: February 2020
I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to sort out where my head is at. After spending months lost in a smog of severe pregnancy nausea. I have been slowly clawing my life back, day-by-day.
The most significant life-changing breakthrough since this all started: being able to cook my meals again. Now that my nutritional status is improving, it's time for my motivation.
When is a change in mindset necessary?
I know my motivation is lower. My podcast, The Psoriasis Geek podcast is my passion project. I love it dearly and usually put off paid work to get episodes recorded and out on time. I haven't released one for over three months.
To try to get my mojo back, I've started re-reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I never made it past chapter 5 last time because I was "too busy" but as I struggle, I figure if there was ever a time to pick the book back up, it is now.
What is the psoriasis mindset?
In this book, the author talks about the beliefs of artists. The way of thinking struck and inspired me. This mindset and belief is my same approach towards psoriasis.
An artist's negative beliefs include: drunk, crazy, broke, loners and born, not made. An artist's positive beliefs include sober, sane, solvent, happy, discovered and recovered. In my psoriasis life, I have had two mindsets running, depending on where I am in my life and my hormonal status.
My own psoriasis negative beliefs include: ugly, undesirable, not good enough, unsexy, unwanted, flawed and broken. My psoriasis positive beliefs are: beautiful, desirable, more than enough, sexy, wanted, perfect by my imperfections, whole and more than my condition.
Where do the negative thoughts come from?
I have had psoriasis since I was five years old and I never thought I was unwanted until much later in my life. Do you think that children painting consider themselves rubbish artists? No. Something happens as we grow older.
We listen to comments other people make, we become influenced by society's expectation and we start to measure our worth against the criteria set out by some other party.
I know this, and yet it still affects me now. I need to give myself a good talking to at least once a week as the expectations of others start to affect my judgment.
How do you work through the negative mindset?
When processing and working through negative thoughts. It's helpful to ask where they came from. Here are some of the sources of mine which may help you.
- The healing mindset: My mom talking to dermatologists. Her desperate demeanor in seeking a treatment made me think I was imperfect. Of course, this was totally unintentional as my mom is epically amazing
- Naive teenagers: Boys at school joking about "the girl covered in horrible scaly spots". Cue my obsession with being undesirable. Even though this was against the evidence I had, as I have never been romantically rejected because of my psoriasis.
- Media distorted reality: Seeing flawless women wearing gorgeous, stylish clothes. Not being able to wear certain fashions made me feel frumpy and like I wasn't filling my potential. Dressing like my nana on a hot summer day. It was the 90’s! The era of mini skirts and boob tubes. Yikes.
How about you? Can you think of any negative thoughts you hold against yourself? Where did they come from? Sometimes it's something tiny like a passing comment from a girl in a restroom mirror that embeds itself in your brain and influences you for the rest of your eternity.
How to move towards the positive
The biggest step is knowing where your negative thoughts come from. Then you can start to unravel the spider's web of negative thoughts in your head. Another strategy that I find invaluable is telling a friend these thoughts or writing them down.
I remember telling my friend in passing when I was getting dressed that I felt fat, ugly and undesirable. I had probably just been dumped by my boyfriend or something because I usually keep my thought locked up tighter than a barnacle on a beach.
We forget how awesome we are when we get obsessed with the appearance of our skin, what would your closest friends say about your list of negative thoughts?
We are perfect in our imperfections
If you don't want to open up to a friend, try another activity. Draw three columns on a piece of paper with these headings: negative thought, where the thought came from and the truth.
We are incredible people living with psoriasis. We need to remind our brains of this fact sometimes, and when our minds get swallowed up in the wrong thoughts, we can rely on a friend or a typed document to tell us why we are so great.
Are you recently diagnosed with psoriasis?