Psoriasis and Me: Why I Didn’t Play Sports

There are two things that have always stuck out about me, my height and my psoriasis. I have always been tall. I remember a time in the 5th grade when my teacher Mr. Compton lined the class up by height, of course, I was in the very back with the boys, all of us between 5’7”-5’8”. This was also the time I stuck out for other reasons. At that time my body was about 90% covered with psoriasis and I had more psoriasis plaques then I did clear skin. Additionally, at 10 years old I started to become conscious of beauty standards. I was now becoming self-conscious of my disease and started to lie about it and make attempts to hide it.

At that age, I was very athletic. During recess, I would play soccer, basketball, and baseball. I even sprang my ankle in a hard game of b-ball. I also ran on a track and field league that took place at a high school down the street from my house. I remember going to the track meets wearing the required tank top jersey’s and shorts and everyone asking me the golden question “What’s that on your skin.” I hated that question, really because no one knew what psoriasis was and it required me to articulate something I hardly understood myself. I was good at running track, I won several meets and qualified for the junior Olympics.

But with all that being said, the shame and embarrassment of my disease caused me to quit sports. I lost my spunk, my confidence disappeared, I doubted myself and my ability to stand up for my condition. I don’t know if it was the stares, the questions, or the rude comments that broke me, but as I entered middle school I changed.

How parents, family, and others can step up their game

I never really shared my insecurities with my family. I suffered from depression, anxiety, and sometimes panic attacks. No one ever asked about those feelings, I’m assuming because they didn’t know to do so, or even recognize it was an issue. Often times my moment was taken as having a “nasty attitude,” but I was quietly suffering on the inside but expressing it loudly in other ways. People would always ask me why didn’t I play sports or model and my answer was always “Oh it’s not my thing,” when the truth is it was very much “my thing” I just felt embarrassed and did not want to show my condition.

If you are a parent, caregiver, or youth leader please take a look at the following questions you should ask your child (or teen) if they have psoriasis:

  • How do you feel about yourself?
  • How do you view your disease?
  • How do people respond to your disease at school? What do they say? Do they Notice?
  • What are you most afraid of when it comes to your condition?
  • How would you respond if someone asked about your condition?
  • How would you respond if someone was rude to you in regards to your disease?

A lot of parents don’t know what their kids are going through because they simply don’t ask the right questions. Kids often times are not going to volunteer information, it must be a deliberate conversation made on behalf of the parent. I hope this gives you better insight on what your child might be going through mentally and emotionally when it comes to having psoriasis.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.