I am not my spots

| Elissa Weinzimmer

Hello, my name is Elissa Weinzimmer, and I have guttate psoriasis. 

I think my first spots were diagnosed when I was 3 or 4. Growing up in California, they didn’t bother me much, so I didn’t think of the condition as anything more than a nuisance. However, over the past five years, I’ve gone through some major life changes, and I’ve had two big stop-me-in-my-tracks flares of psoriasis. 

I happen to be a very holistic person. I’m a voice and movement teacher, a yogi, a meditator, and on my earthy-crunchier days, a so-called “hippie.” 

Holistic treatment is not for everyone, and it’s not my goal to convince anyone to pursue it. However, I do feel obliged to share my experience with you because taking a natural approach to treating my psoriasis has changed my life over the past six months. 

I went into detail in a recent blog about the changes I made to treat my psoriasis naturally, but in this post, I want to share what I believe is the most important step in my overall wellness: Belief.

I’ve learned that in order to feel better, I have to believe that I will feel better. To put it another way, I’ve learned that if I am attached to my psoriasis, it will stay with me. If I believe it is impossible to feel well, I will be right.

I think that on a subconscious level, we get attached to our health conditions. “Psoriasis sufferer” (or substitute any disease here that you will) becomes a huge part of our identity. This has certainly been true for me. 

I’ve spent years fixating on my spots and staring at them in the mirror. I’ve spent so much energy obsessing over what’s going wrong in my body. I can’t count the number of times I’ve shown up at the doctor’s office in a state of fear hoping to be fixed. 

However, in the past year, I’ve had the epiphany that there is so much going right in my body all the time. If I’m alive, breathing, moving and speaking… well then, that’s got to mean that there are lots of things working well. 

If that’s true, then I’ve also got to believe that my body possesses the innate intelligence and desire to function better.

So the paradigm shift is this: true wellness can only come from within me. And this can only occur after I’ve removed the obstacles obstructing my health.

I know that many people try natural remedies and don’t feel better. My personal experience is that all of the dietary changes, acupuncture, massage therapy and supplements in the world won’t make any difference if you don’t believe they will. 

I believe in practicing the Buddhist philosophy of non-attachment, which is the belief that if we are attached to our suffering, it will persist. 

We must stop wasting our energy on the things we cannot change and instead put it toward the belief and intuition that transformation really can occur.

I’m all for embracing my psoriasis. I’ve put photos on the internet with my body covered in spots. Speaking up and sharing has been a big part of my healing process (I wrote about that here). But there’s a difference between embracing my challenge and attaching myself to it. 

What I’ve learned is that if I can retrain my brain and reprogram my thoughts until I truly believe: I am not my spots. I am not this disease. I am something deeper than what I see on the surface of me. Then, and only then, can true wellness be achieved. 

Elissa Weinzimmer is a vocal coach, director, performer, yogi and blogger living with psoriasis in New York City.  

The opinions expressed by National Psoriasis Foundation Blog contributors are their own and do not reflect the opinions or positions of the National Psoriasis Foundation. The information posted on the NPF Blog is not intended as, and is not, a substitute for professional medical advice. 

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