I’m a mature woman now and don’t think there was ever a day in my first 40 years of life that I didn’t feel bad or worthless. I used to be angry all the time in my earlier years, but I always held it in.
Crying on the Inside While Living With Psoriasis, but I’m Smiling on the Outside.
It was extremely difficult living with a body covered with the scales of psoriasis; people didn’t understand and were frightened by what they saw. If you want to see how bad it can get, WebMD created a visual guide to understanding psoriasis.
Living With Psoriasis as a Teen and Young Person: The Toll It Took
- I remember, as a teenager, wanting to hold a relative’s baby. She didn’t say no, but I could see terror and fear in her eyes. I was 13 at the time.
- I remember asking friends if I could help them cook. They would always refuse. I sometimes felt like people were avoiding me.
- I used to ride the train a lot and have lost count of the times people have moved away from me.
I was very active as a teenager. On the track team and even tried out to be a cheerleader. But I gave up both because showing my skin was too much for me to bare. I would have rather died than for anyone to look at me. I was already an outcast and the idea of having a group of my peers shun me when they saw my skin made me feel utterly hopeless. (If you want to read more about what it was like for me to grow up with psoriasis, take a look at this blog post about my first job.)
When I was in my early 20’s, I went to see a psychologist because I was depressed. It’s funny now when I think how my having psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis never entered the conversation. Could being covered with scales my whole life make me angry and frustrated? Would it cause a lack of confidence and cause me to not want to be around people? Could it even cause depression?
If you’re feeling alone, you could consider attending one of the events in the psoriasis community. Let me know in the comments if you need more information about any upcoming event.
As I Got Older, I Became Wiser: Dealing With People Bothered by Psoriasis
When people first met me they never saw my kind heart. I was clean, well-dressed, and well-mannered. The only thing people saw were my scales. I knew what it literally felt like to be treated like a leper. Psoriasis made me feel alone and like I was the only person on this earth. People shunned me and I had to deal with my emotions all by myself.
But then as I got older, when people would pull away or make remarks, I didn’t shy away with hurt feelings. I would explain to them that I was not contagious and that I have had this disease my whole life. I think that educating myself and others is the key to acceptance and to one day finding a cure for us.
While there isn’t a cure for psoriasis available yet, there are many treatment options. This video below is made by the Mayo Clinic. It goes over some of the top treatments recommended by physicians at the Mayo Clinic to treat patients suffering from psoriasis. The video is presented by Dr. Alina Bridges, a dermatologist for the Mayo Clinic.
Sharing My Experiences: Treatment to Clear My Psoriasis
When I finally started getting the proper treatment to clear my skin, I still didn’t felt like I was part of the group. I had so many psychological scars to heal. Having psoriasis brings on lots of anger, and I had a lot of anger. When I did get the courage to speak to someone about my feelings, they told me I was crying on the inside and laughing on the outside. That was definitely me.
If you feel like your psoriasis is ruining your life and making you miserable, try to seek professional help, talk to friends, family or join a support group network. The one thing I have learned in past few years is talking to someone helps. This is part of my healing process. Reach out to me about how I may assist you as a patient advocate by going to the contact page of my site for more information, or simply put your comment below this article to start talking about your situation now.
I feel I have so much to share with the world; remember we are not alone in this fight. One thing I have said my whole life: “You will never understand my struggle unless you have walked a mile in my shoes.” I know that ignorance of this disease is hard to overcome but letting people know how we feel is the first step.