5 Things Kids with Psoriasis Aren't Telling You
Last updated: December 2022
As a child living with a visible disease like psoriasis, everyone could see what was going on with me on the outside, but the battle I combated internally remained unseen. I found it hard to put into words how psoriasis made me feel, so many times it came out as denial, avoidance, or irritability. Looking back, there were a lot of situations where I feel I was misunderstood due to my inability to say how I really felt. Every child, living with a condition which affects the skin, attitude will be different and unique. Some kids with psoriasis can live relentlessly in spite of the condition while others mourn for normalcy. Here are 5 things a child with psoriasis may not tell you.
They want to show more but are scared
Anything that required me to show my skin was usually avoided at all cost. I have always been very tall which usually attracted coaches who would ask me to play on their different sports teams. I always desired to play sports or to model but I was scared to wear the uniforms required for me to participate. I was scared to show others my disease so most times I made up excuses to help me escape the pressure of doing a task which would require me to live outside my comfort zone. Lots of children living with skin conditions aspire to participate in various activities but may avoid doing so due to fears of being rejected or teased. The key to getting to the source of a child's behavior is to ask very specific questions or by offering solutions on ways to make them more comfortable.
Psoriasis may affect how they view themselves
Psoriasis severely affected my self-esteem, but I didn't know how to share that I didn't feel beautiful, with psoriasis being the main culprit as to why. We live in a society where the shallow expectations of beauty are shoved down our throats on consistent bases. Unfortunately, any imperfection with the skin is deemed as a flaw, so for kids living with something like psoriasis, receiving the messages of the media around them can have a negative impact on how one feels about him or her self.
They may create believable excuses but really it's due to shame
People would ask me why was I wearing long sleeves in the summer or why I refused to get into the pool. I always made up believable excuses that would explain why I was doing something unorthodox to those around me. If I had on long sleeves in the summer and someone asked about it I would lie and say I was anemic, cold, or allergic to the sun. I strived to create stories which made sense and helped me to avoid revealing I had a chronic disease. In regards to psoriasis, if a child is giving an answer that seems somewhat believable but doesn't make complete sense, it's probably them attempting to avoid revealing their true feelings about their condition.
They want to be around other kids like them
A lot of kids living with the condition will never meet someone else with psoriasis, however deep down inside they wish they could so they don't have to feel so alone in dealing with this disease. Growing up I only came across one other teen with psoriasis until I became involved with the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) in my early 20's. There are ways for kids to meet others just like them through Camp Discovery, a camp designed for kids living with conditions of the skin, and the NPF has "My Spot" an online platform dedicated to children living with psoriasis.
They may get bullied or teased at school due to their disease
I remember one time I was at school and one of my classmates happened to see the spots of psoriasis on my back. I heard him whisper to the girl next to him, "that looks disgusting, what is on her back." I had many awkward encounters with psoriasis as a child that I never revealed them to the adults around me. Part of it was the shame that I was experiencing this hardship in the first place and the other part was the fear that me telling would create a bigger issue among my classmates.
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