Speak Clearly: Perspectives on psoriasis
I haven’t always coped well with the daily impact of psoriasis. My teenage years were especially tough as my disease was a constant distraction from everyday life and made me stand out from other kids in my class. As I got older, however, I found that rather than feeling ashamed of my diagnosis, I should try to embrace it. No longer would my psoriasis define me! Sounds easy, right? I’d be lying to you if I said that the road to figuring out your psoriasis coping mechanisms is straightforward, but it is a bumpy path I’d travel again to be where I am now.
At first, learning to cope was a case of gritting my teeth—psoriasis is unpredictable which means what works one day might not the next and that can become very frustrating. I remember desperately trying some quick fixes, hoping that my flares would pass quickly. Today I have a much better understanding of my skin condition, so I am more relaxed during flare ups, and I take the time to slow down, get rest and calmly wait for them to pass.
Throughout the years of finding ways to cope with my psoriasis, I’ve come up with a few tricks to help me through a flare. Here is my advice to you:
Research and ask questions: There’s a lot about the condition that isn’t explained to you, which can make it hard to connect the symptoms of psoriasis with your experience. Ask your dermatologist for more thorough explanations of the broad impact of psoriasis, connect with the community to learn more about their experiences and do your own research on reputable websites. Need help finding trustworthy, online sources? Check out some tips from fellow Psoriasis Storyteller, Karin!
Understand your triggers: Take time to connect with your body as a whole and notice how your daily routine, sleep, food, weather and hormones can impact your condition. Pick one area at a time and track your findings in a diary. You may find that small simple changes can make such a difference in your everyday life.
Build a support network: Connect with other people who share a similar journey. Having people to talk to who just ‘get it’ can be so helpful when dealing with the daily impact of psoriasis. It can seem daunting at first, but there are some great online psoriasis communities ready to embrace you.
Go easy on yourself: I spent a long time blaming myself for having psoriasis and letting it feed into a very negative thought cycle. This ultimately left me feeling more stressed. By removing that pressure and embracing my condition, I was able to deal with this disease with the kindness and compassion I deserved.
When you’re in the thick of a flare you can become consumed by the hot burning sensation of your skin. Your skin becomes increasingly red and irritated making it harder than normal to hide. It is impossible to find a position that is comfortable because clothes hurt when touching your skin. It is important to keep reminding yourself that it won’t last forever. Slow down, take a salt bath, prioritize good food and sleep and allow your body the time it needs to heal. Leaning into the flare is much easier than resisting it. Just hold on tight and take the time to find the best ways to cope with your flares.
Get clear with your doctor
You deserve to feel confident in your skin, but how do you have a clear conversation about your psoriasis goals with your doctor? Sometimes speaking up can be the hardest part.
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.