How Psoriasis May Affect Self-esteem
The National Psoriasis Foundation reports 60% of women and 52% of men expressed that psoriasis interferes with their ability to enjoy life [Reference]. Due to the physical appearance of the disease, people who have psoriasis may often experience feelings of shame, embarrassment, and depression. For some, quality of life may be severely affected.
I was one of those people who allowed psoriasis to take control my life. Everything I did (and did not do) was centered on my comfort level with psoriasis. The disheartening part is that I was NEVER comfortable with my disease. I would take extra precautions to hide my psoriasis. These are some of the disempowering thoughts that would come to mind when I thought about my skin. Do any of these sound familiar?
“No one will ever love me!”
I felt as though no one would or could love me with all these flaky patches on my body, which would affect my ability to be intimate. The insecurity that I wouldn't find anyone to love me would prove to be false. Thus far as it relates to my disease, I have had positive relationships with men, who have supported me in some way. Read: Dating and Psoriasis - Relationship and Emotional Intimacy.
“I'm not attractive!”
We live in a world that sends the message that perfect skin is what's beautiful, and anything outside of that is not attractive. Every time you turn on the TV or look in magazines you see people with flawless skin. Growing up I thought I was unattractive because of my terrible skin. Little did I know those people I envied on TV and in the magazines had on a ton of makeup on and, in many cases, had plenty of help from photo-retouching. Aside from that I had to learn that beauty is only skin deep. When we die, people will remember how we made them feel, but not how we looked.
“If I didn't have psoriasis I could…”
I let my psoriasis stop me from achieving a lot. In hindsight, it wasn't the psoriasis that stopped me, it was my fears that got in my way. Psoriasis doesn't actually stop you. You can do anything you want despite the disease; it's just a matter of letting go of fear and shame. Are these feelings you can relate to or have thought about? Here are some tips that might help you boost your self-esteem:
Find a community
Finding a psoriasis community is key to building your self-esteem. In my experience, one of the biggest culprits behind low self-esteem is the feeling that you are alone and that no one can relate or understand you. A support group will help you realize you are not alone and there are others who know exactly what you are going through and support you. You will also find ways to cope when you are having a particularly hard time and tips and tricks of living with this disease.
Any suggestions made are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified medical professional. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to making any changes to your treatment, exercise or diet routine.