8 Years Later, How My "Suicide Letter" Changed My Life
Last updated: October 2018
"Psoriasis has disrupted my life since the age of 7. I hate it. Sometimes I think it has completely ruined my life. I just don’t have it here and there, it’s everywhere. I try to ignore it, but other people make you notice it with their looks and stares."
-Excerpt from "My Suicide Letter"
I once lived a life where fear, shame, and defeat caused by psoriasis strangled my soul, smothering the self-love and courage I so desperately tried to hold on to. Prior to 8 years ago, psoriasis controlled every aspect of my life which included physically, mentally, and emotionally. No matter what I tried to do to escape the anguish of psoriasis I was always driven to a place of isolation and discouragement. I never felt good enough. I often asked, "Why me?" I resented God, my parents, the other adults around me, and the world for allowing me to go through what I was encountering.
Oftentimes I tried to escape the dank depths of my thoughts through humor, being the class clown, or seeming as outgoing as possible. Honestly, deep down I was only attempting to revert the attention away from my condition and my looks. Psoriasis caused my mind to live in mental solitary, stifling my ability to relate to those around me who were "psoriasisless" and unable to understand the struggles of a visible chronic disease. So, I grieved psoriasis quietly without revealing how it truly made me feel.
Searching for support
In 2011, in a desperate attempt to find emotional relief from the condition, I scoured the web to find others like me who were dealing with psoriasis. I was just tired of feeling alone. I came across Talkpsoriasis.org, an online support group for those living with psoriasis. It was as if the gates of heaven opened up to me and although physically I was still dealing with the effects of my disease, there was a small inking of relief by finding other souls online who could relate to me. Many on the site were faceless and voiceless, but I read their pain and triumphs through the words they typed through the blogs and the questions they prosed seeking help from others like "us."
Finding the courage to speak out
I found the courage to share my own story in the support group in a blog called "My Suicide Letter." It was the first time I could articulate how I felt about my disease earnest and honestly without shame to other people with whom I knew would understand the tears I cried. Although there were things I needed to kill within myself, the letter wasn't about a physical death:
"Today, I end it all. All the doubt, all the hiding when people ask questions, trying to deny who I am. Today it all ends, and it ends by me killing the part of myself that feels so ashamed. I kill the part of me that hides... I kill the part of me that cries out... I kill the part of me that’s afraid of what people will think. Today, I kill the part of me that doesn’t want to explain my condition to people. Today, I commit murder to that part of myself, and I kill all the hurt and fears! And it may be a slow death, but eventually, it will be gone!"
It will be a slow death...I killed my fear of psoriasis by finding the strength to advocate, share my story, and inspire others. Eight years ago the shackles of shame were lifted once I accepted my condition and relinquished my fears. Eight years later my soul is alive, I'm well, and I've dedicated my life to work on behalf of others living with chronic conditions.
What is in you that needs to die in order for you to live?
Are you recently diagnosed with psoriasis?