Psocial Recovery: It Starts With the Small Things
One of the worst things about psoriasis is the impact it can have on our everyday lives. It’s so easy to find ourselves avoiding social contact, which is unfortunate, as the more we withdraw, the harder it is to get back out there.
Experiencing depression with psoriasis
This was most obvious to me as I recovered from my first experience of depression. After holing up and avoiding friends for a long time, I found it hard going out for coffee. I could barely remember what I used to talk about, and this may sound dramatic, but for a while there, I wasn’t even sure who I was.
What I learned during my recovery can help anyone who is struggling to socialize since their diagnosis. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any of the conversations I have with my friends to be about my skin.
Finding self-confidence and fulfillment
One of my strongest beliefs around living a rewarding and fulfilling life with psoriasis, including having healthy friendships and fulfilling romantic relationships is that you know what is great about yourself, and reminding yourself of that.
Last summer I spent weeks researching strategies to improve dating experiences with psoriasis for a dating special on my podcast, and after several interviews, there was one common theme. The more self-confident we are, the less traumatizing dating can be.
When we have interests and hobbies to talk about, they remind us we are much more than our psoriasis. We are more confident in ourselves and the way we hold conversations. Even the smallest things can make us more interesting. A person who is confident that they are so much more than their psoriasis.
I used to find that doing small things seemed a bit pointless. Like I would never get to the goal so what is the point of trying? Then I read a book called The Compound Effect by Darren Brown and it totally changed my perspective. The idea that small things, done often, add up to big things.
The impact of headspace on acheiving goals
One of my goals is to write a book. I bought a course to help me with it a whopping four years ago. I used to feel it was an unobtainable goal, and yet if I wrote 500 words a day (about a page of typed text) I will have written a book in 80 days. Let’s say 3 months with weekends off. I write more than that into social messaging apps each day!
And yet when your heads not in a good place, this isn’t as easy as it sounds is it?
Setting goals and a bucket list
Write a list of all the things you fancy doing or trying. Some people call this their bucket list, but it could include really easy to achieve things like having coffee with a friend somewhere new. If you’re feeling down or depressed then this may be more challenging. If this is you then try this instead: think back to when you were twenty (or younger) what did you want to do then? Where did you want to go?
We really don’t change that much as we get older (although sky diving will never reappear on my grown-up list) I still want to travel to Guatemala, learn to bake bread and complete a running race somewhere other than the last place. If you still need some inspiration, here are some specific ideas to get you going once you have decided on a topic.
- Buy a book/ audiobook about a topic or person you are interested in.
- Do you know anyone who already has the interest you have chosen? Book a coffee date to chat about it.
- Start a Pinterest board or a scrapbook.
- Google events near you linked to your topic.
- Watch a feel-good movie (or five).
Recognizing trials and errors
Here are some examples of things I tried (and failed at) that I find come up in conversation a lot when I have to talk about myself.
- Train for a triathlon- and why failing at this goal was a great thing, I learned I preferred to cycle to the pub with a friend than crank up the miles.
- I attended a writing retreat near my house to make writer friends and found a community of very different women who all inspire me in different ways. While I still haven't written my book, I’m now a regular and being in a Facebook group with these women never fails to inspire me.
- Sharing my story at the Psoriasis Association AGM. I cried writing it, and then cried reading it. The crying felt really good, even in front of a room full of people.
What do you think you will do next? Pick up something you stopped or embark on something new?
Does your psoriasis skin feel out of control? How are you managing?