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My sixth sense
Having had psoriasis for many years now, I’ve definitely picked up on when judgments are being passed on my skin. It’s like a natural sixth sense now! I can instantly feel the glares and negative vibes around me.
A particular time that sticks with me, even today, was when I was returning from a family holiday in India. At the airport I got stopped by security, taken into a room and was asked questions on ‘what was on my skin’. I was only 13 and didn’t quite know how to deal with the situation. But I do remember it ever so clearly. Of course dealing with judgements and comments can be extremely difficult and it can have a knocking effect on an individual’s confidence. Even just a look can be so painful. And it is really hard to not let those judgements stay with you.
Just as I have trained myself to build up my confidence again (one of my previous blog posts that you can read here), I’ve also managed to learn ways to not allow passing judgements take its affect on me. Some of the ways I deal with passing judgments are… (and I understand this won’t be easy for everyone. These are just based on my personal experiences and opinions):
1. Don’t look frightened
Even though inside I’m completely on edge and uncomfortable, I try not to express that I am frightened, as I feel it shows a sign of weakness, and psychologically, I feel as though I’m more of a target to those judgements. I also feel that I’m more in control if I show that I’m confident
2. Try not to hide away
Even though your instant, natural reaction is to cover up – do not cover up! Again, it comes across that I am confident in my skin and that I’m not going to allow looks and judgements to get to me
3. Having my answers ready
Sometimes judgement can be passed towards us through, what I refer to as, “silly” questions and remarks. Over time, you get familiar with the variation of comments people can make. And having lived with psoriasis for a long time, I now have “set” answers ready when I expect someone to ask me questions about my skin.
4. Give yourself a Mantra
I know it might sound a bit silly, but talking to myself really helps. For example, if I’m in a situation where I feel extremely uncomfortable and I’m dying to cover up, I will keep repeating to myself “you can do this” and it helps keep me focused.
5. Tell them about what it is
Sometimes it can come across as if someone is judging you, but sometimes they are just curious to know what it is on your skin. So if the person looks approachable (and you’re confident enough), start up a conversation with them and tell them about what psoriasis is, that way you use the opportunity to spread awareness and turn a negative situation into a positive one
6. Exit the situation
If all the above tips are a struggle, then simply leave the situation as calmly and as best you can. There have been times, especially when I have been in the middle of a flare up, where I just can’t deal with any looks or judgement. Living with psoriasis during a severe flare takes up all your energy and the last thing you want to do is put on a brave face and put up with judgement about your skin. So the best thing I can do at that time is walk away from the situation (…it doesn’t necessary mean you’re running away it is just protecting yourself in that instance)
7. Try not to be offended
It’s hard not to take offence sometimes. Some comments just stick. It is sometimes easier said than done but try your best to block out those looks and comments out. Find ways to distract yourself at the time and walk away with your head held high.
UK/IE MAT-19412 Date of Preparation: August 2018
Blog post developed in partnership with LEO Pharma