How to Deal with Stares and Uncomfortable Questions About Your Skin
Psoriasis can make everyone, especially those recently diagnosed, feel deeply isolated and excluded from the society. Along with the chronic discomfort and pain that psoriasis can cause, your emotions can be difficult to handle, and as a result, it could cause some serious long-term psychological issues. However, it's not easy to stay calm when dealing with stares and annoying questions from strangers regarding the condition of your skin.
So what could, and should you do, in those situations? While the majority of your relatives and friends would tell you to ignore everyone around, and it might seem like great advice, it's also not a very realistic option. I don't know a single person who can completely turn off their feelings resulting in zero reaction after such incidents.
Another advice would be trying to educate others on psoriasis and tell them was it is all about. Explain that it's not contagious, that it's incurable and that it has nothing to do with poor hygiene. However, as long as closest friends and family understand this, it should be enough talking. With psoriasis being widely acknowledged in the media thanks to various celebrities and incidents, some people will never understand the reality of living with psoriasis. Therefore, educating every single person you meet isn't practical in casual situations. No one should spend their life talking about psoriasis all the time, unless you're psoriasis spokesperson, instead of enjoying the conversation about something you're really into.
Another option, that actually happened to help me, was finding a support group on the Internet. Talking to people dealing with the same issues on a daily basis made me feel like I wasn't alone in my struggles. Thanks to various forums I decided to change my way of thinking and try something new...
As a person facing uncomfortable situations for years, I had to come to terms with people's looks as it was something inevitable. But coming to terms wasn't being fully ok with it. I stopped covering my spots and started wearing shorts and t-shirts instead of covering everything with long gloves or black tights that couldn't cover everything anyway. Basically, I changed my internal thinking and I started acting like my skin is completely clear of psoriasis. I was smiling to people before they even had a chance to look at me. And guess what happened?
First, something positive happened what changed my relations with strangers: my psoriasis actually helped me get closer to people a few times. For example, when I was going to Tortuga Bay beach in the Galápagos Islands, a local woman stopped me to ask about my skin. I explained to her in a few words that she shouldn’t worry about me, but she really insisted on me going to her house to try a cream that her daughter uses. I tried to politely thank her, but she kept insisting and I finally agreed to try out her cream while she served me iced tea and cookies and we chatted about some of the locals things to do in Galapagos for over an hour.
Moreover, after a few weeks I realized that people weren't staring at me as much as they were before. I'm not sure if it was the way I was presenting myself or maybe it was all in my head before? Obviously, some people had felt uncomfortable with my skin before, but I'm not convinced anymore if they weren't just staring at me like they would at anyone else. People stare on one another on a subway, in a waiting room of doctors office or any other public place. That's a basic human nature.
Ironically, showing off my flakes made my psoriasis better. No one was making me uncomfortable, or let me say that I wasn't making myself uncomfortable, and as a result I wasn't as stressed as I used to be before. We're all dependent on others. Even the most self-confident among us are affected by how people see us, and so was I.
How often do you experience brain fog?