Psoriasis and Me: Why I Didn’t Play Sports
I've always seemed to stick out, and I'm talking about more than just psoriasis skin. In addition to receiving stares and comments about my skin, people always seemed to also comment on my height.
The age where I met psoriasis met insecurity
I have always been tall. I vividly remember a time in elementary when my teacher lined the class up by height. I was in the very back with the boys, all of us between 5'7" and 5'8". This was in 5th grade! Not precisely every 11-year-old girl's dream.
It was also in 5th grade when I found myself covered with psoriasis. I'm talking around 90% of my body - I had more plaques than clear skin! As if 11-year-olds don't have it hard enough - it's around this age that we become more aware of society's standard of beauty and the feelings of self-consciousness that comes with it.
Facing the infamous question about my skin
It was at this age, I started to lie about my psoriasis it and attempt to hide it. It was also at this age that I became very athletic. During recess, I would play soccer, basketball, and baseball.
I also ran in a track and field league. I can painfully recall wearing the required tank top jerseys and shorts to track meets. It was at this time everyone began asking me the golden question, " What's that on your skin?."
I was not too fond of that question. Really because no one knew what psoriasis was, and it required me to articulate something I hardly understood myself.
I began to doubt myself
I was good at running track. I won several meets and qualified for the Junior Olympics. With all that being said, the shame and embarrassment of psoriasis caused me to quit and quit all sports.
I lost my spunk. My confidence disappeared. I doubted myself and my ability to stand up for myself.
I don't know if the stares, questions, or rude comments broke me, but as I entered middle school, I changed.
Letting the insecurity win...
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 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 I didn't play sports or model, and my answer was always "Oh, it's not my thing," when it was very much "my thing." I just felt embarrassed and did not want to show my condition.
What parents can do to help
Many parents don't know what their kids are going through because they simply don't ask the right questions. Kids often are not going to volunteer information. It must be a deliberate conversation made on behalf of the parent.
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 are managing chronic 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?
I hope this gives you better insight into what your child might be going through mentally and emotionally when it comes to having psoriasis.
Do you like to go pswimming with psoriasis?