Patient Blogs | Psoriasis
Biggest Surprises of Living with Psoriasis: Denial, Devotion, and Destiny
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Sometimes I feel like the last 20 years of my life were spent living in denial and the next 20 will be spent coming out of it. Like waking up from a bizarre and disordered dream that leaves me startled and hypervigilant at 2 a.m., coming to terms with the elephant tranquilizers of denial that fueled my life for so long is a near daily seismic awakening. As I work to unwind the lifelong effects of my conditioning, I shudder with shame to see how blind I was to so much suffering – even in my own skin. Working to prove, aiming to please, and striving for perverse perfection, my searchlight was turned outward and away from my painful truth of unconscious, unhealthy living, and dissociation.

My enraged and angry psoriasis, a genetic fait accompli, was a perfectly pocked and pustular expression of a life and body ignored to the brink – hot to the touch, swollen with excess, and weeping without purpose. Anyone with eyes and interest could see the depth of my dis-ease written all over my skin. Anyone but me. 

Blind to any meaningful lodestar, I simply lived with my screaming skin. I wore myself away quietly over time until a toxic tincture of overwork, anxiety, alcohol, smoking, poor diet, and copious amounts of Liqui-Gels finally opened a hole in my stomach where the light could pour in. What surprises me most is the depth of physical and emotional pain I tolerated before being pushed to pay attention. My raw skin and tender heart were broken open and crying for attention. Yet still I looked away. The dull ache of that cold self-denial urges me to drink from the warm well of worthiness every day. I know it is always full if I can muster the courage to keep my eyes open to it.  

On the days when it’s too dark to see, I feel my way back to center. I return to my breath, lean on my learnings, and devote myself to living well. I embrace my scars, tender and taught like old barnacled bowlines. They are the well-worn tethers of an unwilling wellness journey born of a past life recklessly squandered. The faint smoke from my own smoldering ruins keeps me off the rocks and close to my promises. Promises to eat well, move more, self-regulate, love fully, heal wounds, and stay sober. Day by day, sometimes hour by hour, I surprise myself by keeping my promises, and one by one, they help me build a new foundation for healing. They help me shed the old skin, to accommodate the new.  

On the days when I am blinded by the light, I give thanks for the limitless grace that rushes in despite my limited humanity. Psoriasis has been a defining form of suffering in my life and in many ways, a defining blessing. The incessant pain and itch have driven me to write, to advocate, to serve, and to seek refuge in community – all antidotes to the denial, isolation, and silence that are my deeply grooved defaults. My destiny, it seems, is in the intricate work of decoding the language between my surface and my depths. 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Westend61 / Westend61 via Getty Images

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Krista Kellogg

Krista Kellogg

Diagnosed since 2001

Krista Kellogg has lived with psoriasis for more than 20 years. She is dedicated to living well and humbly shares her journey in service to others on a similar path as a writer, blogger, and WW wellness coach. Krista has served as an advocate and volunteer leader for the National Psoriasis Foundation. She lives in Miami and is the co-founder of Center Content, a mindful marketing and creative content agency.

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