Advice from Diane
There’s more to handling psoriasis than dealing with the physical repercussions.
- Doubting self-worth
- Low self-esteem
- Being your own worst enemy
- Find a support group
Advice From Patient Advocate Diane Talbert
AN EMOTIONAL JOURNEY: DEALING WITH SELF-WORTH AND PSORIASIS
I have had psoriasis for over 55 years and psoriatic arthritis for over 30 years. I have often wondered what makes me get ticked?
I have been an emotional roller coaster since the beginning of time. I’ve finally got it together, but I wanted everyone to know some of my emotional journey.
Doubting My Self-Worth
I got psoriasis at the age of five but carried a chip on my shoulder for years because I had psoriasis. I had decided that people didn’t like the way I looked so I was not going to like them either.
We have all heard of abuse which I experienced with myself, but it wasn’t from other people. I did it to myself. My mind kept attacking itself.
I couldn’t understand myself or the way I treated people in my inner circle. I went a long time not knowing my feelings, my thoughts, and emotions that were causing me problems.
I would doubt my own self-worth every day. I spent so many years with people pointing at me, calling me names and humiliating me. I believe all these things caused me to have a lifetime of scars.
I kept to myself for years because I didn’t have a lot of friends which caused me to put myself down. I thought I wasn’t worthy to have friends. I could turn off the whole world with a switch in my brain. I was also a person who could cry at a drop of a dime which I did often.
Growing up With Low Self-Esteem
I know that when I was in grade school, I always felt like someone was always after me. I feared my own shadow. I couldn’t understand why I was always so confused. I got good grades in school, but I was crying on the inside all the time.
I was more ashamed of my psoriasis than most people were. I didn’t give people a chance to get to know me. My head was so full of lies. My worst days were those teenage years. It’s hard being a teenager, but it was harder for me because I didn’t have friends.
This should have been the best time of my life; getting to notice boys for the first time. I did notice them, but they never noticed me. I just couldn’t see anybody liking me.
I couldn’t see how people truly saw me. I thought to myself that no one wanted to be around me, including my family. I went into a deep depression.
My Own Worst Enemy
When I got older, everything magnified itself. I always covered myself from head to toe because I was covered in scales all over.
In my head, people could see every scale on me and they were always pointing.
This was the impact of me having emotional abuse for so long. I became trapped and had drastic mood changes.
- I felt like I was walking on eggshells for years. Just keeping to myself helps me get away from the person hurting me the most, which was myself.
- I am a grown woman now and can handle things a lot better. The abuse I have done to myself has worn me out over the years.
- I decided years ago to stop playing hide and seek with myself and my mind. I had to fight back, and this was no easy task. I decided I didn’t want to live a life in my head.
Finding a Support Group Was My Saving Grace
The first thing I did was to start a support group. I knew I needed to be around people like me who understood. Over the years I have offered support to people who need it, help raise money for research, talked to the media, spoke on Capitol Hill and at the FDA.
I attend Town Hall Meetings and educate others.
Just changing my mindset helped me a lot. I had to change my way of thinking and change my conduct and performance. Believe me, your thoughts and your attitude can affect what you think.
I learned a long time ago that I can affect how healthy I want my mind to be.
This disease can do a number on your emotional body, but you must be stronger. Sometimes the thoughts in my head can get strong, but I can be stronger.