The Attitude Makeover - Tips on Overcoming Ignorance and Frustration Related to Psoriasis
Psoriasis is not only a disease that affects you physically and emotionally, but because it is often times visible, it is a condition that can draw the attention of people you encounter. I have had my share of pleasant and not-so-pleasant moments when it comes to living with this condition. When dealing with psoriasis, in my experience there are at least 5 different types of people you may encounter. Here are ways to overcome ignorance and frustration related to psoriasis.
I was always taught that it's rude to stare at people, but psoriasis has taught me that this lesson is not common knowledge to some. Let's face it, having a visible disease comes with unwanted attention, which often times causes people with psoriasis to hide or live in fear. It's always a tough call on whether or not you should address those who are staring. My thoughts are “Are they really staring at me or am I just paranoid?” I’ve had to learn that majority of people aren't necessarily staring to be rude, but are more so curious. That's not to say staring is the right thing to do, but this thought process allows you to not take it so personal. If someone is staring you have a few choices, you can choose to ignore it or address it. I don’t feel the need to address everyone verbally and sometimes it can be uncomfortable to do. To combat this issue I made some info cards to give to people that I see staring! You can print them off here if you would like to use or create your own!
Front of Card
Back of Card
You have some people who stare and then graduate to being bold enough to question. I would say always have an elevator speech ready (30 second response) explaining the aspects of psoriasis. Some people feel as though they shouldn't have to explain their condition to anyone, which I agree with, but I love to use these moments to educate others on my disease to help eliminate the stigma and misconceptions surrounding psoriatic disease. I usually say "It's called psoriasis. It's a non-contagious disease caused by an overactive immune system. Basically my body is creating unnecessary skin cells which die and build on top of my healthy skin causing flakey patches to appear on my body."
The One with All the Answers
Have you ever told someone you have psoriasis and they start to go into what they heard works? Their responses usually annoy me because I've tried their suggestions and my Psoriasis still remains. Although their responses can be quite annoying I have to remind myself that people are just trying to be helpful and say what they think in their mind is best. I usually follow up with the mechanics of psoriasis and inform them that psoriasis is not a simple skin issue, but linked to the immune system which for most is much more complicated. I also reiterate that psoriasis is unique to each individual and what may work for one might not work for another.
The "I Don't Know What I Would Do if I was You" Person
This statement from individuals without psoriasis grinds my gears. I can't stand when a person tells me that they wouldn't be able to handle life if they had psoriasis, as if I have a choice in rather or not I want to deal with this disease. Although some may see it as words of encouragement, I don't agree, but of course a lot of people don't see this statement as being rude. For those who make this comment I usually explain that I don't have a choice and I've learning to use what seems to be negative in turn it into a positive way to help others who may be struggling with this disease.
The "It's Just a Skin Thing" Commenter
Another assumption from some who have no idea what psoriasis is, is that it's "just a skin thing," something that's not really serious. When I hear this statement made by someone I explain to them the invisible effects of having a visible disease which includes emotional struggles, and quality of life challenges. I also discuss other diseases associated with having a chronic disease which can be heart problems, eye issues, diabetes, and much more.
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.