There’s no doubt about it: Psoriasis is stressful, itchy, and painful, and it can be incredibly frustrating to live with.
When I have a psoriasis flare, I feel like I am less than myself. It makes me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. At work, I’m anxious around clients and colleagues who don’t know about my disease. I’m wondering if they’re actually listening to me and my awesome ideas or if they’re focused on my skin.
I spend a lot of time standing in front of my closet trying to give myself the confidence to wear what I want and not let my psoriasis dictate my choices.
Because psoriasis can be so visible, the focus tends to be on treating the physical symptoms of psoriasis, rather than the emotional ones. I truly believe that one of the most valuable approaches to treating psoriasis is to focus on both the body and the mind.
When it comes to treating the emotional side, there are a few things that I have found to be helpful.
Find your (psoriasis) people. Your support person could be a friend or family member that you feel comfortable talking to about psoriasis, whether or not they have it.
You can even join a psoriasis support group virtually or in person. This can help you meet others living with a psoriatic disease who know what you’re going through. They can share their own experiences and trade ideas and tips for what has or hasn’t worked for them.
Establish a network of people who understand what you’re dealing with. This can be incredibly beneficial for your mindset and spirit.
Take control. It’s not easy to accept that psoriasis and flares are a part of your life. With each flare, my initial reaction is a feeling of helplessness, annoyance, and a little bit of anger. Taking control of your psoriasis treatment can build your confidence and allow you to feel somewhat at ease.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a nutrition and exercise plan, can be incredibly beneficial to your mindset, as well as your health. Have a plan for how you want to approach your treatment when you visit your doctor and keep track of questions you may have.
Knowing that things may not always work the first time and keeping an open mind can go a long way for your psyche.
Find an outlet. A journal can help you pinpoint stressful scenarios or days. It can also help track what you’ve been eating when you have a psoriasis flare to see if a pattern emerges. Sometimes you just need to get it out, so a journal is a wonderful place to vent about your day.
If you feel like your psoriasis is becoming unmanageable, do something that makes you feel good. This can be as simple as calling your bestie, going for a walk in the park, painting, or scrolling through funny cat videos.
Living with psoriasis has been challenging, but it has also shown me what I’m made of. I’ve found a way to turn it into a positive experience by writing about it on my blog. Plus, hopefully I’m helping others by sharing my journey. It has introduced me to a community of some of the most amazing, inspirational, and accepting people I have ever met.
Getting involved with the psoriasis community has shifted a negative aspect of my life into a positive and meaningful one. Even though psoriasis will most likely always be a big part of my life, it absolutely will never be the main focus.
Love and spots,
Joni Kazantzis is the creator and blogger for justagirlwithspots.com, an award-winning psoriasis blog dedicated to creating awareness, educating about the disease, and sharing personal stories of her 19+ year journey with psoriasis. Her mission is to create a sense of community and to share information that can help her readers cope with the day-to-day challenges of living with psoriasis. She believes that with as much information as possible, people with psoriasis can be empowered to live their best life and make the right treatment choices.