The Art of Being Compliant
Last updated: June 2019
I do not like needles. I really, really don’t like needles. That is why I was shocked to be talking with some friends with psoriasis that disclosed they would rather have infused or injectable treatments as opposed to being able to take a pill. I love what my injectable medication has done for my symptoms, but if there was a way to get those same results without a sharp piece of metal assaulting my skin, I would jump for joy.
However, as the conversation continued, I realized most of them felt that way because it was easier to remember. They only had to worry about their treatment once or maybe twice a month at most, whereas with pills they would have to remember to take them daily. Now, that is something I can completely understand. Being compliant with psoriasis treatments before the days of shots was tough. Whether it was slathering on ointments or soaking in concoctions, I never was able to sustain doing it long enough to notice the benefit.
Thankfully, the longer I have had the disease, the more tricks I have developed to help me stay on track with my treatments.
Change my mindset
The first thing I had to do was to change the way I viewed my treatment regime. Seeing any treatment application as a chore, then I am just setting myself up for failure. (Because who likes chores, right?) It’s akin to going to a party. If you convince yourself it is going to be a lame event before you even get to the door, chances are you are not going to enjoy yourself. So, instead, I tried to get myself pumped up for the slather-time (like hammer time, but cooler)! I would put on some of my favorite music, or simply enjoy a little alone time away from the kids as I turned myself into a greased pig. The more I made a conscious effort to be more positive, I noticed that I stopped looking at it as a mundane task, and instead viewed it as a way to love myself.
The joy of technology
I am a tech geek. I always am eyeing the latest phone, video game system, or gadget. Yeah, yeah—there are a lot of downsides to technology, but no one can deny that it makes our lives a lot easier. One of the most-used features on my phone is my calendar alerts. All I have to do is set a timer to go off 1-2x a day to remind me when I need to reapply or take my medication. It takes the guesswork out of remembering if/when I last treated. Bonus tip: set the alarm sound as the Rocky theme music to make you feel like you are really accomplishing something.
Once I mastered my attitude and was becoming more and more consistent with my reminders, the final thing that motivated me to stay compliant was seeing progress. I likened it to working. I wouldn’t be motivated to keep showing up at my job if I never saw a paycheck. Managing a disease is the same way. As I mentioned earlier, I am a bigtime nerd, so I like to keep pictures on my phone and make a collage with side by side comparisons. I usually do this every 2-3 weeks to help remind myself that the effort I am putting into my skin is not for not.
As with most things in life, consistency and perseverance pays off. The longer you are dedicated to making a change, the easier and easier it will be to keep the change happening.
Does your psoriasis management change with the seasons?