Do They See Me or My Psoriasis?
Last updated: March 2020
Do they see me or my psoriasis? I think this has been a burning question I have had for most of my life with psoriasis.
The usual psoriasis insecurities
I have full body psoriasis so it is pretty difficult to hide my plaques when I have a flare. It is especially harder to hide my plaques in the summertime. When I decide to be brave and wear a sleeveless dress, a tank top or shorts I always wonder if people actually see me when they look or if they are staring straight at my skin.
This is extremely difficult for me. I always try to tell myself that it's all in my head but sometimes I have my doubts.
What's wrong with your skin?
I have actually had people ask me: "What's wrong with your skin?" Of course, this happened when I had a bad breakout on my face. This breakout happened during my senior year of college. It was extremely hard for me to deal with this.
Having visible plaques on my face made it harder for me to believe people could actually see me without seeing my psoriasis. After all, how can they not see my plaques if they are right there in front of their face? I am brown-skinned and psoriasis on my face appears as light spots all over.
I felt extremely sad during this time and I avoided social events as much as I could. Avoiding people was not an easy thing to do as a senior in college with final projects to present and other events I wanted to attend like job fairs and other senior activities.
Learning a valuable lesson
In college, I remember sitting down with my best friend and telling her that I had psoriasis. I remember feeling like I was finally “coming clean”. I started the conversation like, “I know you have been wondering what's on my skin”.
To my surprise, she responded, “Wow, you know I never really paid it much attention”. I remember feeling so shocked. How could this be? How could something I think about every second of every day be so minuscule to other people? At this moment I realized I was probably more aware of my psoriasis and self-critical than those around me.
At this moment I learned a valuable lesson. I learned that I am not just a girl with psoriasis and it is possible for people to see me for me.
Overcoming insecurities and moving on with psoriasis
Sometimes I still struggle with wondering if people notice my psoriasis first. More times than not honestly. I will definitely say some days are easier than others. I definitely think I have the hardest time during a flare. I am more inclined to cover up my plaques with long sleeves and long pants.
Then there are those times that I decide not to cover up. This makes me feel liberated. I know the psoriasis is still there but I feel as if I am owning it. If I could go back to that moment when I was a senior in college feeling ashamed of my skin, I would tell myself to be brave.
I would tell myself that the condition of my skin does not dictate who I am or what I can achieve. I now feel more confident that people do see me for who I am despite my psoriasis but I’ll never forget those times when I was doubtful because it made me stronger.
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