Psoriasis—it’s not just any disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) characterizes psoriasis as a serious disease due to its chronic nature and the large burden it can have a person’s daily life when not managed. And it’s not the same for everyone – psoriasis can impact each person differently.
One thing many people living with psoriasis often share is a feeling of helplessness. Frustrated with their disease, many tell themselves, "It doesn’t matter what I do, it won’t help anyway.” They may give up and stop caring about how to manage their skin disease; however, this is the wrong approach – and here’s why:
You are in the driver's seat
As someone who has lived with this disease for 25 years, I understand how overwhelming it can be. I remember there were times when it felt like my disease was controlling every part of my life – but it’s important to know that’s not the case. Despite how it can feel sometimes, you can take control of your experience with psoriasis. Sit yourself down in the driver's seat and become more involved in your treatment journey.
Every journey starts with the first step
How do you start, you ask? An important first step of any journey is to pinpoint your destination. It’s hard to know if you’re headed in the right direction if you don’t have a clear idea of where you want to be. With psoriasis, it’s important to know that you don’t have to settle for less or “just a few plaques.” Your goal could be anything from being consistent with your routine to not being self-conscious about your skin – the point is, it’s what YOU want to achieve with your psoriasis treatment plan. There’s no right or wrong answer as long as it’s true for you.
Your doctor can help find the best route for you
You’re not on this road trip alone – your doctor plays a crucial role in giving you the best possible care to get you where you want to be. It’s important to find the right doctor: one who will get involved with you, talk to you in a way you truly understand and help you set expectations – one who feels like a partner. Finding the right doctor can be challenging but it is always worth it.
Remember – your doctor may be the one holding the map, but you’ve got control of the wheel. Your input is just as important when it comes to making the right decisions to manage your disease. With that in mind, take the time to do some research before you talk with your doctor. Go to your appointment prepared with specific questions you want to ask him or her, as well as any concerns you may have. And don’t forget to tell him or her about your ideal destination – your treatment goals – so that you and your doctor can work together to get there.
Doing some research ahead of time may help you find others who have already learned how to approach their doctor with similar questions, concerns and treatment goals. In fact, some of my fellow psoriasis storytellers have their own tips, too.
Your voice is a powerful tool
Sometimes communicating clearly can be hard – but remember that your voice counts. As I mentioned, every person’s experience with psoriasis is different. While your doctor is the medical expert, you are the specialist of your own body – only you know how the disease affects your life. Your doctor needs to understand YOUR experience and YOUR goals in order to provide you the best possible care. Speak up – your voice is a powerful tool, and one that you can - and should – use to actively shape your management journey. Learn how you can start the conversation with your doctor about the best management plan for you here.
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.
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.