Things I'd Tell Someone Recently Diagnosed with Psoriasis
After I was diagnosed with psoriasis more that 10 years ago, my life definitely changed as I had to adapt to the new situation. I was scared, confused and felt alone, but now I know that almost anyone newly diagnosed with psoriasis is probably feeling the same way.
Over the years my condition grew up with me, or shall I say that I have learned how to deal with it. While every experience will be personal, there are a number of things I've learned while living with psoriasis that I would tell a person recently diagnosed with the disease.
Psoriasis isn't going anywhere
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that causes your body to produce skin cells much quicker than usual and as a result patches of red, flaky skin show up at different parts of your body. As there is currently no cure for psoriasis, the symptoms can be managed and limited but the condition will always be there. You might calm it down, but unfortunately not cure it. As a result, depending on the condition of your skin you need to adjust how you dress or what you do. However, I have learned that nothing is impossible with certain adjustments made.
People will stare, no matter how understanding they are
One of the challenges that I think anyone with a chronic skin condition has to come to terms with is the fact that people will stare no matter what. Some will stare because they are concerned about your skin, others won’t stare at all, but you'll see the concern in their eyes. You need to get used to it, but it shouldn't stop you from going out. My psoriasis never stopped me from making my dreams a reality such as visiting a waterpark.
Being open about your condition helps
One of the most successful strategies to deal with people I met was being open about my condition. Especially when my skin got very bad and the newly met people kept staring at me I would say ‘Hi, it’s my skin condition – It’s not contagious’ and that would usually help to put people at ease.
Traveling with psoriasis is more than possible
Traveling with psoriasis is possible if you plan ahead and get prepared. I have travelled to more than 70 countries so far for shorter and longer trips, but I always follow a few steps before I go anywhere.
First and foremost, I make sure that I stock up on any medication and creams I might need. I speak to my doctor to make sure I have an additional prescription in case of emergency and I research what similar medication could I take in case I need to go to the local GP (general practitioner) and explain. I make sure that any medication I take with me is securely stored in several places and I have an additional waterproof bag in case of rain. That way I can be sure that even if my purse gets stolen, I won’t be left with nothing.
It's important to relax
Stress makes my condition worse. It's a well-known fact and many people can probably up-vote this statement. If I put myself under too much pressure I get a flare-up and I instantly become a ‘snowman’ as my skin flakes. Therefore, I had to find a way to relax. For me, it was an additional exercise that helped, but it can be something else for me. I started training aerial acrobatics classes. It was not only a good way of stress release, which made my skin better, but also a fun way to meet new people.
Healthy diet helps, but won't cure you
I know that I will not surprise anyone by saying that a healthy and balanced diet helps to manage psoriasis. When I can, I try to focus on lighter meals and food that's good for my heart such as fish or fresh fruit and vegetables. You will rarely see me eat red meat or products high in gluten.
You're not alone!
Last thing that I would like to mention here is that ever since I got diagnosed I've come across a huge number of people who also suffer from psoriasis. It made me realize that I'm not alone. Being understood by people with the same condition has helped me a lot, especially because I could learn from others who go through similar struggles on a daily basis.
All in all, living with psoriasis means that there are some adjustments to make, but by no means should it stop you from doing anything in your life. The condition should not define you and you're no worse than anyone else.
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