This content reflects the views of the individual blogger and is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
Having had psoriasis for the length of time I have (20 years and counting), one of the most important things I have learnt is that it is ok to not feel ok all the time throughout your journey. As honest as it sounds, your journey with psoriasis is likely to be full of changes. And as you probably know, living with psoriasis is more than just a skin condition. It’s a condition that involves your mental state and emotions. So it’s important to address your overall health and wellbeing, and not just solely focus on your skin.
Having psoriasis as a child
I was diagnosed with psoriasis from an early age. At the time of my diagnosis, there was not a lot of information and awareness around psoriasis. In particular, information around the emotional and psychological aspect of living with the condition. I grew up with a mind-set that you weren’t allowed to feel upset about a skin condition. I was repeatedly told that psoriasis was just a skin condition. And so, as I grew older, and I was faced with serious outbreaks of my psoriasis, it came to my attention that psoriasis was a lot more than just a skin condition. It was a condition that took over my mind and mental health, and consequently dictated my personality and behaviour. And to be honest, I did used to give myself a hard time that I was letting a skin condition have such a control on the way I was feeling. Over the years and as an adult, I have learnt that there is no easy way other than accepting that sometimes you’re not ok.
So here are a few steps I follow in order to work on my emotions:
Step 1: Identify and feel the emotions
With having psoriasis, it is common to feel low self-esteem and anxiety, as well as feeling quite low and upset. This can have an impact on your general wellbeing. And even though it can be difficult, something that I have learnt is that it is really important to feel these emotions, identify and accept them. By accepting and understanding them, it’ll help you move on to the next stage of process; working on overcoming your emotions. If you’re feeling down and depressed, then feel down and depressed. Give yourself a few days to feel like this. It sort of helps you ‘get it out of your system’.
Step 2: Find a way to deal with the emotions
Once you have accepted that your psoriasis is making you feel a certain way, the next step is the ‘acting on’ part. Acting on your emotions to find ways to make yourself feel better.
The way in which I deal with my emotions is having some ‘me time’ and resetting my thoughts, to get myself back into this positive aura. To be honest, very recently, I have been feeling quite stressed, which was causing the psoriasis on my face to flare up, which then consequently has been making me feel quite down about my psoriasis. I gave myself some space and took time to do the things I enjoy. I enjoy reading a lot of positive and motivational books in my spare time. These books also help me to find ways of dealing with my emotions. I also look to take long walks, this gives me a sense of peace. These are just a few of my own techniques, but you can find your own things that can help you deal with your emotions.
Step 3: Take your time
I say this in a lot of my blog posts, but baby steps are key. It is beneficial to push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in order to work on your emotions and build yourself up to a good place. But at a gradual steady pace that suits you. And it doesn’t matter how small the step is, as long as it is taking you in the direction you want it to.
Step 4: Don’t compare
It is important that you don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. Every one has a different relationship with his or her psoriasis, and what works for you, may not necessarily work for someone else.
Step 5: Talk to others/ get involved in the psoriasis community
However, it can be really helpful to get involved with the psoriasis community and the online supportive network. Although peoples' journey will not be the same, it’s important to share your experiences that can help others who are struggling. The online psoriasis community is such a warm and welcoming place, and it’s constantly expanding. And remember you’re not alone. Having psoriasis can make you feel alone. It certainly has made me feel that way at times.
I personally find instagram to be a great place to connect with others going through a similar journey, as it is quick and accessible, and people are just a click of a finger away. It’s a great place to find and build encouragement.
Other charities and organisations, such as the Psoriasis Association, can help you find psoriasis friends and get involved with the psoriasis network. Or talk to friends and family who might be able to help. Or seek medical advice, if you need someone professional to speak to.
I hope these steps come of help to you. And don’t forget – it is ok to not be ok.
Article developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.
MAT-32935 Date of prep: March 2020