How I Took Back My Power From Psoriasis
Last updated: March 2021
I have had psoriasis my whole life almost. Can you believe that? I had to move from denial to acceptance that I had psoriasis? It was a process that took me years to except.
I was so much in denial that I filled most of my weekends with social drinking; this was my rebellion against an autoimmune disorder that was taking my life. The crazy part is that I was drowning myself with the very thing that was making my condition worst.
Learning to accept psoriasis
I then decided to see a psychologist because I was always down in the dumps. The one thing he said to me was that I could only take back my power when I made a conscious decision to accept and say yes, I have psoriasis. I had never spoken those words.
Letting go of guilt and shame with psoriasis
Flakes would fall onto my shoulders and face. Sometimes, I would look around quickly to see if anyone had witnessed my embarrassing moment before hastily and as discreetly as possible, dusting off my face and clothes.
A lot of my feelings of guilt and shame was ingrained into me by some family members. They couldn't accept what I had or that I wasn’t doing everything possible to take care of myself. All except my parents. They supported me through my journey of self-acceptance and would push me to live each day as though nothing had changed.
Beginning to tell my story
Brene Brown is a research professor who has dedicated the past decade to studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. There was a line that she used that struck a chord with me when she said:
“People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real fighters.”
I like this line. The fact that she used the word wade. She knew people who are really vulnerable and uncomfortable don’t run into it. But it’s that defining moment as they stand in their own discomfort and tell their stories that they take back their power. This was me.
Self-care and eliminating psoriasis triggers
It took me years to empower myself. Once I figure that part out, I had to practice self-care and lots of it. I had to try and figure out what was causing my triggers and setting off flare-ups.
The first thing for me that I had to let go of was alcohol. I knew that after 3 drinks I would itch, scratch, and flake like crazy for a few days.
I realize that emotional distress was also a trigger for my body. Whenever I notice a new plaque, I try my best not to fight the emotions that come with it. It still makes me freeze but I am okay with the vulnerability. I will continue to live each day as though nothing has changed.
How I handle plaques without getting stressed:
- I try and resist the urge to peel off my plaques. If they’re thick, I apply a thin layer of corticosteroids or something to loosen them and let them fall off naturally in the shower. Constantly picking at them will aggravate my skin and widen the plaque
- I drink lots of water. My body can’t maintain its healthy level of moisture if I don't replenish my fluids.
- I keep my skin moisturized so that I don't give myself any reason at all to scratch. I know this is not easy.
Taking my power back from the condition
As you all know, living with psoriasis makes us feel left out and like we are always on this journey alone. There’s no one to talk too and no one to walk with us. People don’t understand and will never “get it”.
A long time ago I took back my power and never gave it to anyone again. Every day, as I look at my reflection in the mirror, I remind myself that although my skin is broken, I will always be whole. What can you do to take back your power?
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