Thursday, July 29, 2010

How it feels

     There are many sides to living with psoriasis.  The first thing that I had to do when I received my diagnosis and started learning more about this disease was to change the way I thought.  Before, I had been trying to deal with the problem and figure out how to get rid of it.  When I was forced to realize that there is no cure for psoriasis, I decided it was time to learn how to live with it instead of just fighting it.  This can be a difficult thing for some people to do, and I am no exception.
     It was not exactly thrilling to hear that my body would likely be forever covered with bright red patches of skin that often grow thick, white scales which flake off, and that these patches can occur on pretty much any region of the body.  Needless to say, I was less than amused at the thought.  This is where the emotional aspect of psoriasis comes in to play.
     Many people who live with this disease become frustrated, upset, self-conscious, develop low self-esteem, even become depressed.  We worry about what our "problem" looks like to other people.  We often concern ourselves more with what everyone is thinking when they see us, than we do with how we should be seeing ourselves.  People who know little about psoriasis really frighten us; they frequently cause us to skip social functions and even pass on job interviews/opportunities.  Too many people are afraid of the unknown and this causes them to react negatively, with or without meaning to do so.  When we see these kinds of reactions it makes us feel unwanted, useless, helpless, sometimes even hopeless.

What can you do to help ease our frustrations?
      When you see someone you think may have psoriasis, please remember that it is NOT contagious.
      Try not to make any negative or reproachful glances at the person, that will only make them feel even more self-conscious.
      If you are curious, ASK!  Personally, I would much rather that someone ask me about my psoriasis so that I can explain it to them and help them feel more comfortable being around me, than for them to give me looks of sympathy or fidget nervously in my presence.    
     Most importantly, accept us for who we are, not for something we did not ask to have.

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