Speak Clearly: Perspectives on psoriasis

The Power of Telling Your Truth

November 20, 2019
Written by AbbVie, featuring Francois, Lianne, Sascha and Karin

You’re making coffee in the office kitchen when your coworker comes by and asks how you are doing. What do you say? Something about the weather, most likely; you, in all likelihood, aren’t about to go into great detail with them about how isolated your psoriasis makes you feel or how you are sweating because a flare forced you to wear long-sleeves today.* 

Even though we regularly post parts of our lives to social media, people are still generally private—especially when it comes to the less-than-ideal moments in life. People living with psoriasis know about those moments. They’re the flare on your vacation, the extended stare from a coworker, the short-lived hope that this would be your last plaque. They may not be fun, but these are the moments that are a part of life—your life. And that makes them special.

So why don’t we share them? First, it can be scary to feel like you’re the only one who understands how you feel. And, while keeping our emotions, thoughts, and insecurities private can seem like a way to protect yourself, in reality we’re most likely missing out on opportunities to reduce isolation and build connections with others who are experiencing similar things.

“You’re not alone, there are a lot of us, and actually we know how to help each other. And that’s good, because it’s a lifelong disease. It often makes you feel despair. And despair is not the solution, because now there’s a way to make your life better and to be positive. And know we’re always stronger together.” – Francois, a person with psoriasis, on what he’s learned since opening up to the psoriasis community.

Sharing your story can help build connections with others who feel the same as you. Telling your truth to others can help you learn more about yourself, provide you with useful information and can reveal a new kind of courage: empowerment. 

“Being involved in the online psoriasis community has affected my life in a positive way because it’s nice to feel like you’re helping other people, it’s nice to hear their stories and it’s nice to feel normal. My favorite part of being part of the online community is some of the people that I have met. I’ve made some really nice, lifelong friends who share my journey and I share theirs and we understand each other.” – Lianne, a person with psoriasis, on her favorite part of the online psoriasis community.

“We started the blog because we recognized the importance of sharing different views for other people living with psoriasis’. When you talk to other people with psoriasis, you always hear about new advice and experiences—and end up learning something new, too.” – Sascha, a person living with psoriasis, on why he started his blog and podcast. 

Another benefit: discussing your life with others who have similar condition has been linked to improvements in emotional well-being, including improvements in anxiety and depression.

“To be honest, it wasn’t until the first time I met others with skin diseases and decided to come out of my shell and talk about my own experience, saying, ‘Okay, I have a skin disease,’ really helped me cope better, develop better self-confidence and, in the long term, also helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin.” – Karin, a person with serious skin disease, on the impact of sharing her story. 

By telling your story to others, you may find healing through talking about shared experiences. And by reading others’ stories, you may find renewed hope that the hard moments of life won’t break us—they only make us stronger.

*Of course, at your office may not be where you feel most comfortable talking about your psoriasis – so share it with the Let Me Be Clear community! Submit your story today.

 

Reference:

1. Bellver-Perez, A., et al. Int J Clin Health Psychol. 2019 May; 19(2): 107–114. Published online 2019 Mar 15. doi: 10.1016/j.ijchp.2019.02.001.  

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Your voice makes a difference

Be clear about your goals. The power to speak up, feel confident and demand the best care is within you. Sharing your story could be your next step to feeling free from psoriasis—and possibly inspire others to do the same.

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