Psoriasis: A Journey Of Stress And Trauma
Those who live with psoriasis know - this condition is not just a skin disease. Psoriasis can lead to discrimination, stigmatization, trauma, and psychological issues.
Can you imagine at a very young age facing your peer’s severe discriminatory behaviors? I can - it was my experience. I was not wanted and found myself very lonely plainly because my peers thought my plaques were contagious. Simply having people stare and make me uncomfortable was enough to hurt my self-esteem.
My mother told me that I was a healthy baby. At age 5, everything change. I was 5 years old when the scales start to grow on my body. No one in my family knew what was on me. They had never seen anything like this. On my first day of school, I was seen by a dermatologist. He said I had something called psoriasis.
Especially due to my psoriasis, I had to deal with a lot of moments in my life where I felt helpless and hopeless. I was rejected, stared at, mocked, and sometimes, asked to move away. This is such a humiliating way for people to behave. Handling my insecurities and self-esteem was very difficult for me.
Finding small areas of support
I found support in people who attempted to understand what I was going through. My mother was a great support. The doctors told her that I wasn’t contagious. I had to get a note from the doctor to get permission to go back to school.
I grew up with pain, dealing with mental trauma, stress, and had suicidal thoughts. With the support of my family and lots of doctors, I was able to accept the fact that this disease was not curable and a never-ending part of my life. I couldn't afford to give up hope and become more destructive for my mental and physical health.
Finding strength for professional help
One of the most effective things in treating my mental health was getting professional help. Seeing a therapist helped me stay motivated, improved my self-care, and validated the many struggles I was going through. I denied it many times. I refused to believe that I had a mental illness and that there was nothing wrong with me.
My mother was very worried about me from the beginning. She was the one who convinced me to visit a psychologist. Everyone knew that dealing with and living with this disease as a young girl wasn’t going to be easy. It still isn't easy as an adult. I knew I had to be strong to cope with this situation for the rest of my life.
An ongoing lesson
When I gained the courage and perspective to see someone, my psychologist was very caring and supportive. She always listened to me and made me feel special. She didn’t react as everyone else did towards the disease. I was feeling less insecure and scared. Over the years, as I have grown older, and now better understand my situation, I have learned to deal with it.
I've learned that most things are just not that important. Learning to love yourself is an ongoing lifelong lesson. People will judge you no matter what anyway. I would suggest people who are struggling with psoriasis and mental health to be strong. Consult a psychologist. Seeking and accepting help is about one of the strongest things you can do for yourself.
Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?