It wasn’t until I was sitting in the infusion room reclining chair that it hit me: This was going to really hurt. I remember my psoriasis was burning and my veins were flat from my hangover.
Between 2012 and 2014, my biologic infusions were usually done while I was hungover. Anyone who has had an IV or had blood drawn while hungover knows that dehydration flattens veins, making it harder to find a good one.
Drinking made my infusions more painful, my psoriasis symptoms worse and my flare-ups more frequent. Yet I wouldn’t stop drinking. My drinking was more important than self-care. Frankly, because I didn’t care.
I’ve had severe psoriasis since I was 4 years old. Anyone who has the disease knows the psychosocial burdens that come along with it: isolation, anxiety, depression, embarrassment, shame. The fact that a flare-up could happen at any time caused a paranoia that I was desperate to numb.
I started drinking at 14. I used alcohol like you would use the reset button on a video game. Hit the button, no matter where you are in the game, and boom. Blackness. Clean slate. Anxiety wiped. I drank to numb my anxiety or lift the depression for even a little while.
But when I woke up the next day my skin burned, my anxiety was heightened and my sadness kicked in. I needed to feel better, so I would start the drinking cycle all over again.
Most studies conclude that people who have psoriasis drink more. The severity of the disease correlates with the amount of alcohol consumed. At age 20, my body was 90 percent covered. After years of using only topicals, I began taking a systemic. I was told that I could not drink alcohol at all as it carried some serious side effects.