(Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Psoriasis Advance.)
It has been about three years since I was diagnosed with psoriasis. I never hated it, but there was nothing in it to like, either.
When I first learned that it would stay with me for most of my life, I was devastated. I started looking at life differently. I felt maybe I was unlike the other healthy, physically fit people around me, like I was behind in the race. I started underestimating myself and hid it as much as I could from as many people as possible. It was sad.
I knew I had to fight it alone because every time I talked about it with anyone, all I got in return was sympathy. I feared that people wouldn’t understand when I told them about it, that they would either laugh about it like it’s just some common skin condition and think I’m beauty conscious, or they would make a great deal of it and discuss it to a level that would make me feel unwanted. Sympathy sometimes can be hurtful.
There were a few people who helped. They pushed me to stay strong and constantly reminded me not to consume myself with worry. In a matter of a year, my mind changed. I actually accepted my diagnosis. I considered psoriasis a part of me. There was no point in denying it anymore.
Listen when your body tries to tell you something
This condition made me realize that not every food, clothing and footwear suits my body. When I don’t listen to it, my psoriasis becomes angry, and the patches change to darker shades of red. It’s like a silent built-in alarm system; it tells me what’s right for me and what’s not.
Over the years, psoriasis has helped me both psychologically and physically. It has made me a stronger person, a person who is more sensitive. My priorities have changed. I never cared about myself before. Now, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is what matters to me the most.
I choose the foods I eat carefully and, above all, psoriasis has taught me self-restraint. This condition has a direct link to stress. I’ve observed that staying happy makes it go away in days, and stress has the opposite effect.
This disease has made me learn how to stay happy and taught me stress management. I can’t stay sad more than a day because the alarm starts buzzing.
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.