Dealing with Others
Psoriasis has a way of bringing more negatives to your life. When you study your body, you track the changes with disappointment. You warily wait for the next flare and predict its location and severity. Dealing with psoriasis and its impact on you is a demanding job.
There is another task to complete, though. You also have to cope with the reactions of others around you. When it comes to psoriasis, friends, family and even complete strangers on the street can impact your experience. An odd look from a passerby can raise your anxiety. A misinformed reaction from a coworker can create some annoyance. A cruel comment from a loved family member can trigger rage and anger.
Since psoriasis makes it challenging to deal with yourself as well as others, you need a two-pronged approach. If you only deal with your own views or only on the feedback from others, there will be a gaping hole in your coping strategy. An approach that addresses your own self-esteem while finding new ways to combat the unwanted attention and ignorance of others will go far to improve your life and overall well-being.
Dealing with the Inside
Psoriasis and high self-esteem are not mutually exclusive. With effort and consistency, your self-worth can exist independently from your psoriasis. This means that even when flares are more obvious and problematic, you can continue feeling strong and confident in your own skin. Here’s how:
- Seek out acceptance. Self-acceptance is such a profoundly important step towards self-esteem, but feelings of denial, sadness and anger stand in the way. Without acceptance you cannot have confidence. People with psoriasis often avoid mirrors and their self-image becomes more negatively distorted. You may begin to imagine that your psoriasis is actually much worse than it appears to others. Standing in front of a mirror is an appropriate intervention to familiarize yourself to your actual appearance. By doing this often and for longer periods, you will desensitize yourself to your skin condition. Having accurate perceptions reduces denial and creates progress towards acceptance.
- Find separation. Now that you are moving towards acceptance, make efforts to acknowledge that psoriasis does not define you. If you had diabetes, would you be “the diabetes guy”? No. Psoriasis is not you. It is only a part of what makes you a unique individual. You are a fully functioning person that is multidimensional. You are a parent, a child, a friend and coworker and a church member that so happens to have psoriasis. Your diagnosis does impact your life but no more than the color of your eyes or your style of dress.
Next page: coping with the world around you.