As with any disease or critical condition, the mental health side of things gets tested. I can remember back to the first few days that psoriasis spots started covering my body from head to toe. It was devastating. I was in denial about the spots and my circumstances. At one point, I had healthy and clear skin, which meant I never had any confidence issues about my self-image or appearance in front of others.
After several years since the diagnosis, I’ve made progress in my mental health. During the winter seasons, particularly freezing cold weather, I stick to long sleeves and pants because the marks are fresh and concerning.
But as time has gone on, I’ve gotten more comfortable with allowing my peers, friends, and family to see them. My girlfriend has helped support me throughout the journey. She told me, “No one is going to judge you or treat you differently just because you deal with this.”
Soon after that conversation, I’d gone out with friends who asked about “the marks.” I told them. They acknowledged me, and nothing really changed after that.
Having a support group definitely helps me overcome my feelings about my psoriasis. But at the end of the day, it comes down to you, the individual who has to deal with it and take it everywhere you go.
I know that my skin will never be as smooth or unmarked as it once was, but that’s life. I think about what burn victims go through. You could have scars all over your body, even your face, but life goes on.
I could have easily shut the world out and hid the true side to me, but then I would be living a lie. At some point, you have to come to terms with the reality of the situation and accept it for what it is.
After nearly 4 years since the diagnosis, I’ve become a much stronger individual who is open about what I go through, and the response has been extremely supportive. Why go through the trouble of hiding something that is now a part of you?
It’s more exhausting to pretend like nothing is going on rather than to be open and vulnerable. Reading blogs, joining psoriasis Facebook groups, and talking to people have all played a major role in my life.
People who care about you won’t stop caring about you because you deal with something. Opening up and communicating can save you from making a big deal about something and normalizing it instead.
Many of the people I am closest to know about my condition and nothing changed. At the end of the day, you are the only person who’s in control of your mental health, and you can either let it break you, or you can rise above the situation and accept it.
Photo Credit: Juan Ignacio Rosauer / EyeEm via Getty Images
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