alt=a woman with psoriasis receives stares from people at a swimming pool

My Fears of People’s Stares While Swimming

Summers in Louisiana are legendary for being hot and miserable. Being born and raised here, you learn to look for anything that brings temporary relief from the heat. One such relief would be going to the lake or a swimming pool.

Getting in the water for a little while can help you keep cool. I used to love to swim until psoriasis took control of my body. I haven't been swimming in years. So why is the fear presenting itself now? Grandchildren do not understand why Nana doesn't want to go swimming.

Having my psoriasis exposed...

My grandchildren are older now, and they all enjoy swimming. I thought I was okay when I bought a blow-up pool for my grandchildren. I figured since so many public pools have rules about swimming with open sores, this was the next best choice. With the blow-up pool I bought, the grandchildren can swim, and I would be able to sit and watch.

When the grandchildren go home, I could splash around by myself and keep cool. However, at this time, we are coming up on the July 4th holiday, and our family is planning a gathering at a house on a lake. There is no doubt that swimming will be on the agenda.

I know I could tell them no, but I know it will bring a barrage of questions as to why not. I have experienced the why not before - just not from my grandchildren.

Feeling uncomfortable in my own skin

I have explained my psoriasis to my grandchildren before. I'm often met with a stare of confusion all over their faces. Maybe it was too soon. Most of them just refer to my plaques as a booboo. They do not understand that psoriasis is an autoimmune disease.

It's one thing to explain my psoriasis to my grandchildren - I'm met with love and compassion. But showcasing it to the general public and answering questions from strangers usually strikes fear. They can all agree and see one thing: Nana has terrible sores all over her body.

It makes me feel uncomfortable still after all this time.

I still haven't gotten used to the stares. Have you?

I know my grandchildren are going to want Nana to go swimming. And, of course, I want to. However, going to the beach strikes the fear of being on the receiving end of stares of the people that will be out there.

I have come a long way in my journey of living with psoriasis. While I am stronger in a lot of sense, I am still bothered by people's stares and comments. It's just not something I've gotten used to. My ankles and feet are still heavily covered in plaque psoriasis. It's not pretty. People can be cruel.

This newfound fear is showing me something I thought I was stronger than. I guess not. These types of insecurities just won't seem to go away. Has your condition taught you a similar lesson? I would love to hear it.

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