Psoriasis is a frequently misunderstood condition. If you have the disease, you know that talking about it can be challenging and frustrating.
Understanding more about your psoriasis and thinking ahead about ways to address questions or handle conversations can help make the process easier.
Benefits of Talking About Psoriasis
Talking about your psoriasis can be intimidating. You may find that your family and friends have questions about your chronic illness, but are embarrassed or nervous to ask them.
Maintaining an open dialogue is important for multiple reasons, including:
- helping put you, and those you spend time with, at ease
- keeping you in control of the narrative
- clearing up any preconceived opinions or incorrect facts about psoriasis
- helping you feel less alone in dealing with your disease
- fostering an atmosphere of understanding and compassion
- preventing you from “bottling up” your emotions
Talking about your condition can also help alleviate stress, which is a psoriasis trigger. If you’re constantly anxious and worrying about how to discuss psoriasis, it may worsen your outbreaks.
Things to Consider
There are some things to consider before starting a conversation. Most importantly, recognize that who you talk to is a personal decision. There are resources to help along the way, but ultimately the choice and timing is yours.
- Think about your audience and be selective about who you share your condition with, especially if you’re starting a new treatment.
- Understand that some people will be more receptive and understanding about your condition than others.
- Consider telling family and close friends right away, and educating them about psoriasis. You’ll appreciate their support, and this will help eliminate any awkwardness or misunderstanding.
- Be open about things you can and cannot do. Don’t do activities that may worsen symptoms because you’re embarrassed to be honest about how you feel. Talk about alternatives that work for everyone involved.
- Ask for help and let people know what they can do to assist you. Most people want to help, but may not know how.
Know Your Talking Points
There are questions that are common in psoriasis conversations. Encourage productive dialogue with the following four talking points:
- Psoriasis isn’t contagious.
- Psoriasis is a chronic illness so you’ll be dealing with it to some degree for the rest of your life.
- Psoriasis and its severity vary from person to person. No two cases are alike.
- Psoriasis causes both physical and psychological distress.
It’s important to help people understand the impact psoriasis has on your life. They may not comprehend the daily emotional and physical struggles you face.
A survey conducted by the NPF found that psoriasis affects peoples’ lives in the following ways:
- Psoriasis causes sleep and sexual intimacy issues.
- Psoriasis makes it difficult to walk, sit, or stand for long periods, and to use the hands.
- Psoriasis may negatively impact employment.
- People with psoriasis are compelled almost daily to explain the disease.
- People with psoriasis often receive poor service in restaurants, hair salons, public pools, gyms, or retail stores.
Psoriasis is a visible condition and impacts you and the people in your life. Talking about it may be uncomfortable, but the anticipation of the discussion is often worse than the actual conversation.
You shouldn’t have to deal with psoriasis alone. Most people will be receptive, supportive, and understanding when you talk to them about the disease. As a result of opening up, you’ll receive more of the support and encouragement you need.