Are You Scared to Talk About Your Disease?
Psoriasis isn't contagious and for the most part, not life-threatening, although it can have detrimental effects on mental and emotional health, be extremely uncomfortable, and very expensive to control. So for those of us with psoriasis why is it so hard for us to share with other people we have the disease? There is an unfortunate stigma that accompanies having a visible disease which includes it being contagious or unattractive.
We live in a world where perfect skin is deemed as more desirable and accepted thus those of us who can't live up to that standard feel less desirable and rejected. I guess it's fair to say that the world around doesn't help these insecurities but instead perpetuates our feelings. So in a world where we feel judged and at times unwanted how can we "come out" to people about our disease? Check out these four tips on how to come to terms with your disease and to share it with others:
Counseling can help
If you don't want to discuss your issues with friends and family there are professions who can help you, and no you aren't "crazy." Some people tend to avoid counseling due to the stigma of if you talk to someone you are insane, but it's not insane for you to get help in the area of your mental and emotional health. Psoriasis can cause chronic depression. It can be helpful to talk to someone who is looking from the outside in as opposed to those around you. A counselor will see things from a viewpoint that most friends and family members can not. Counseling can provide ways for you to cope with certain feelings and how to break old habits. Most insurance companies provide free or cheap mental health services. If you don't have insurance most local Good Samaritan centers provide counseling which is charged based on your income and can be as low as $25.
Don't say a word, spread the word
When I was the most uncomfortable with my disease I had my share of awkward moments when trying to explain the components of this disease. Depending on where you are in your journey with living with psoriasis you may be uncomfortable too. It can be hard to vocalize the full story of your disease. I remember the hardships of telling my college roommate about my psoriasis, introducing the disease while on a date because I just couldn't hide it, or explaining to my co-workers why my desk had so many flakes. If you aren't at the point where you want to tell people verbally about psoriasis there are pamphlets and brochures from the National Psoriasis Foundation that will tell the story for you.
Find those who you can relate to
After I started opening up to my friends about what it's really like to live with psoriasis, they started opening up with their own issues and fears. Although they didn't deal with psoriasis our struggles shared a common ground. This helped us to be empathetic to each other's situation. If you don't have anyone close to you to share your struggles with there are online support groups specifically designed for those of us with psoriasis.
If you know of any other support groups, please add them in the comment section.
Utilize online platforms
Back in 2011 when I first started blogging it was originally a safety net. I could share bits and pieces of my story online, shut the computer, and never go back to look at the comments. I initially thought sharing my story online would attract mean and negative people, but to my surprise, I've received more compassion and empathy than I could imagine. The safety net I once placed myself in has now become so much more, and I'm now able to share my experience off and online! Check out these ways you can share your story and maximize your reach.
Does your psoriasis skin feel out of control? How are you managing?