Advice from Diane
Taking control over a chronic illness means grappling with mental health issues.
- Overcoming depression
- Learning to cope
- Accepting help
- Looking to the future
Advice From Patient Advocate Diane Talbert
PSORIASIS AND MY MENTAL STATE OF MIND ARE ONE FOR ALL. ——TOGETHER WE CAN
People have always said these words to me:
- “You have a personal choice in your life.”
- “It’s your fault when you don’t set goals for your health.”
- “It’s your choice.”
I didn’t want to sit back and be disillusioned as if I had no control…or did I?
Chronic Illness and Depression
I notice that a lot of us with psoriasis have become oppressed, depressed because of our lack of hope with this disease. I have had conversations with those who say they are stuck. They have effortlessly tried to better their health, but can’t seem to do what is necessary. No control over their behavior, lifestyle or determination.
They began to walk in an “I don’t care” mentality. Truly unexpected things can appear that affect our life when we’re dealing with any sickness.
People would say these things to me for years. “It’s up to you to be happy.” I want to tell those people that they were wrong. Some of our brains don’t work the same or something has caused trauma in our lives.
I remember a doctor telling me that I was smiling on the outside but crying on the inside. I was that person who existed in this world without happy feelings. We know now it’s called depression.
Learning to Cope
I’ve learned to cope with the unexpected. My mother passed when I was 19 years old from the complications of diabetes.
Was I affected by the stress of it all? Yes, it took an emotional toll over my immune system:
- My psoriasis was already covering 70% of my body, it totally devoured me at that time.
- No one paid attention to my mental state. They all said I was the strong one. I would watch people laughing and having fun, but I could never get to that stage.
- I felt very different inside and out. I felt like I was in a cage. I could see everything happening around me, but I could feel nothing. I just couldn’t get right on the inside.
Over the past 40 years, I’ve tried to exercise patience, quietness, and prayer. This allows my body to be in balance. Balance is so important when you have psoriasis or anything else going on in your life. How can we be in control of our future with our psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis if we don’t apply basic foundations? It’s not easy.
I was 26 and would find myself getting angry if someone said happiness is a choice. People don’t realize that saying that puts in a message that you are ashamed of me. On the inside, I always thought what is wrong with me?
I did go see a doctor who put me on medications years ago. Of course, people had something to say about that. They thought I was weak.
But my doctor explained it to me perfectly; the medications help you break down that wall. You will feel happy on the inside and on the outside.
It was so weird, but I could actually hear the birds singing and I felt joy.
I didn’t stay on the drugs long, but long enough to connect to the outside world. That was 30 years ago.
Looking to the Future
I have grandchildren that I want to see graduate. I have things I desire to do as an advocate for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I need to be in the right mindset to make a difference in this world. I will do what is necessary.
There is nothing wrong with you if you are not happy. Trust me, people don’t have a clue what you are going through.
We are in 2019 now; but who knows 20 years from now if there will be a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Until then, my hope is in creating a future today that promises the world a greater tomorrow.
We can’t choose to be happy every single day of our life, but we can choose to be together and help one another. Depression is real and remember you don’t have to travel this road alone.