Psoriasis 101: Protecting Mental Health
Back when my life was still normal and I did not have to deal with my illness along with its unnecessary baggage, I carried my phone with me everywhere that I go. I would always get distracted with my notifications and talk to my friends relentlessly even if I had more important things to do.
But lately, I found myself dodging my messages for hours. Sometimes, it would take me days, while most of the time, I’d forget to respond to them at all.
Setting mental health boundaries
“Sorry for responding so late. I have been quite busy lately.” This has been my default response to explain my absence and inactivity. I found out that it was easier to say that I have been preoccupied with my responsibilities than to admit any of the following:
I don't have time.
On productive days, I really am busy because I try to accomplish a lot of things. Apart from making commissions by drawing illustrations and writing articles, I also study for my classes in law school, and I make time for other hobbies too.
After a busy work/school day, we also have our personal lives to take care of. You are not obligated to use your free time to talk to people when you feel like you don't have the mental space to do so. Sometimes, responding to messages is just not at the top of your priority — and that’s okay. No one should make you feel that they are entitled to your time, space, and energy.
I am feeling overwhelmed
Aside from my personal social media accounts, I also manage a Facebook page and an Instagram account for my advocacy. I use them to raise awareness regarding psoriasis and other chronic illness.
With this, I would usually get messages from people who would tell me how much my art has resonated with them, how much my art has helped them deal with their illness. Some people message me to ask for comfort, some would ask about the products that helped clear my skin, while others would share their interest to collaborate.
Despite the fact that I am grateful to each and every one of them, there are days that I let my messages go unanswered for too long until such time that I forget about them. Then, they pile up and I get more anxious.
I just don’t know what to say
It makes me feel valued when my friends reach out to check on me. But I still find it difficult to answer them because I don’t know what to say. I choose not to respond right away when I feel like I'm bombarding them with so many negative feelings. I answer them when I feel better so I can engage in a more healthy and positive conversation.
It’s a whole lot easier to let the feeling pass than have to explain what I really feel - which is usually emptiness, sadness, or confusion. So I tend to say "I'm okay" or sometimes not reply at all.
How do you protect your mental health?
Do you anxiously anticipate a psoriasis relapse?