This question is more complex than it may first seem. Psoriasis affects you both physically and psychologically, so there may be times when it could make you feel less manly. But this doesn't mean that you are less of a man.
Situations where psoriasis can take over
You may reach a point where you avoid changing rooms. The rugby team, football team or local gym may have to do without your talents for a while and that's ok. It'll all be there when you reach a point that you can face it again. You will get to that point, trust me.
We psoriasis warriors have all been there. The paranoia in the changing room. The feeling that people are staring at you in the pool. To be honest, yes, sometimes people stare, but most of the time it's in your head. That's what I've found anyway. But whether people stare or not, it's how you deal with it that makes you a man.
Missing out on 'manly' activities may dent your ego, but look at that as a positive. A time to realise that modern men don't need to constantly prove their masculinity. No matter how good you are with a football or how many kg you can bench, there's someone out there somewhere that can play better than you and lift more.
Of course if you see that as a challenge then all power to you. Get that psoriasis under control, go out there and try your best.
It's incredibly important to remain in control of your psoriasis
Why? Because out of control psoriasis can not only have an impact on your physical health, but on your mental health too.
In my experience, psoriasis has a way of consuming you mentally if you let it, taking your focus away from what's important in life. Your health is not only important to you but to those who care and love you. As a man, you sometimes need to step up and take responsibility for your actions just as you do for your inactions.
Failing to act is not only letting yourself down but letting those around you down.
This is an example of when I failed to manage my psoriasis properly in comparison to now with it under control.
Let's not forget that from a physical health side, the dangers of out of control psoriasis aren't just to your skin. The comorbidities of this condition are all too real. Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, Crohn's disease, diabetes, skin cancer and lymphoma to name but a few.
My father had psoriatic disease. He had diabetes, skin cancer and passed away from lymphoma. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your psoriasis under control as best you can and please be aware of the comorbidities associated with our condition.
Tips on how to take control of your psoriasis
To deal with psoriasis you need to be mentally and emotionally strong. You need to be able to deal with the pain it can bring. Blood running out of your scratched patch may look very manly but having the mental strength to know you need to act to get that patch under control is a far more manly act.
If you really want to feel manly, never miss a GP or Dermatologist appointment. Ensure you have an annual review with your GP. Continue to try everything until you find something that suits your skin. As we know, this can change. What works at one point may no longer work at another.
Tell people how you're feeling. Don't bottle things up. This may feel manly but it isn't. Talk not only to your GP and Derm, but to those closest to you. I know that this can be difficult, I've been there. If you want to overcome those changing room challenges this will help, believe me. The bravest and most manly thing you can do is share your feelings.
Let's not forget that psoriasis affects both men and women equally. Both sexes have to deal with the same pains, the same itch, the same social and psychological barriers. So there may be times that you feel less manly just as there may be times women feel less womanly, but in the grand scheme of things these moments are brief and will pass. You are more than just a man. You are more than your psoriasis. You are strong in both body and mind even if you don't yet realise it.
If you can manage your psoriasis you can manage anything. Be a man, talk to people and get that psoriasis under control!
This content is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
UK/IE MAT-08590. Date of Prep: April 2017