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I have always said that opening up about your psoriasis is so important. Especially when it comes to your friends. Talking about something so personal and sensitive may be difficult to do at first, but it might actually help you more than you think. Psoriasis is a condition that affects so many aspects of your day-to-day life. So it’s important to let the people close to you know how the condition affects you.
I thought it was difficult to do at first, as I wasn’t sure what they’d think. I thought they wouldn’t understand why I would be so hidden about something that gets seen as ‘just a skin condition’.
And when I was younger, talking about my psoriasis was a lot harder. The conversations have gotten easier as I have gotten older. Here are some of the tips that have helped those conversations:
1. Choose the right time
Ideally, when or where you feel most comfortable. You are more likely to open up in an environment you are more comfortable in.
2. Start with the basics
If your friends are not aware of what psoriasis is, start by educating them on the condition.
3. Plan what you want to say
It might make it easier for you if you plan out in your mind what you want to say and how you want to say. Also whom you want to say it to. It might be easier for you to break it down to each of your friends individually, or in smaller groups, rather than bigger groups.
4. Tell them how it is
Express to them exactly how it is, how your psoriasis makes you feel, the good days and the bad days. Tell them how the condition affects your day-to-day life. The more you tell them about your condition, the more they can try to understand. I have been completely open to my friends about my psoriasis, and they try their best to understand what I go through. And now I’m totally comfortable with my psoriasis I can talk to them about it without hesitation.
For example, I used to hate going out to parties and certain social events, because going to those events meant I would have to wear a dress, which at that point in my journey was something I was not comfortable with. It was a conversation that took me a while to get through to my friends, more because I was scared they wouldn’t understand, but once I explained it to them, they were completely understanding and would help me pick alternative outfits.
5. Look at your support system
Once you’ve comfortably told your friends about your psoriasis, they somewhat become your support system. They kind of understand how you cope and work. If I’m going through a bad phase, my coping mechanism is to have to some space and have some “me time”, which they now understand and will respect whenever I’m going through my “bad phase”. Or if I’m feeling uncomfortable about wearing something or certain situations, they will help encourage me and give me a boost in confidence. Or if I feel like I am in a place where I actually just need to feel down and let myself have a little vent, my friends will allow me to do that too.
6. Have honest friendships
Having an honest friendship can help you get honest opinions about your psoriasis, when needed. They will be able to give you opinions from another persons view. I always think my psoriasis looks a lot worse than it actually does. Equally if my psoriasis is extremely flared or dry, I can always trust them to tell me.
7. Have friends who help you forget about psoriasis
I can be me around my friends. And actually most of the time, it allows me to forget my psoriasis for sometime, which in turn helps to reduce my stress.
8. Your friends should be your biggest fans
Since opening up about my psoriasis, my friends have become my biggest fans. They support and encourage my blogs, send me any psoriasis articles and information that comes their way, and tell me about products they might’ve heard of or seen that have benefited other people with psoriasis. In some ways, they kind of live through and experience the journey with me. It really helps to keep me motivated and encourages my confidence levels.
Your friends can really play a big part in your journey with psoriasis. I hope some of these points help you to open up and get the support from the people that are close to you.
UK/IE MAT 26781 Date of Preparation: July 2019
Blog post developed in partnership with LEO Pharma