Avoiding Isolation With Psoriasis
Living with psoriasis, you are subjected to a great deal of criticism. The criticism comes in many forms including misunderstandings, confusion and the ignorance of the people that surround you. Fear of this criticism and judgment from other means psoriasis and isolation can easily go hand in hand.
Some people find the stress, frustration, worry and fear of dealing with mistaken beliefs too great to endure. Rather than working to advocate for the disease and raise awareness, they withdraw.
Rather than finding ways to cope with others, they isolate. The thought is that interacting with people has become too negative and harmful, and because of this they choose solitude with the goal of reducing negative experiences.
It’s not such a bad idea. After all, if you want to avoid the undesirable elements of the outside world, the safety and security of your house is a great place to be. But problems begin to arise when you consider that life is not only about avoiding the bad – it is also about pursuing the good.
If you don’t pursue positive aspects in your life, you will be resigned to a life of neutrality with neither highs nor lows.
Assessing Your State
Before deciding how you need to proceed, check in with yourself. Thoughts, feelings and behaviors of isolation are related to a range of mental health disorders like major depression, generalized anxiety and agoraphobia (a fear of open spaces).
Symptoms typically fall on a spectrum of intensity where some isolative tendencies are normal and expected. As symptoms move down the continuum passed the middle and towards the higher side, the experience will be more atypical and pathological.
Using your self-monitoring skills to note the impact of isolation on aspects of your life will allow you to know the severity of your symptoms and what action, if any, is needed to improve your state.
- Work life – How has your work been affected by your isolation? Has your employer noticed any changes in your performance? Have you missed days or attended consistently for weeks and months? If you are not working, has isolation played a role? Do you make excuses about lack of work available when isolation is the real explanation for your unemployment? Rate the impact of isolation on work from zero to 10.
- Social life – Everyone needs social connections to reduce stress and find supports in life. Do you have as many friends now as you did before your symptoms? Do you see your friends often? Do you look for excuses and reasons to get out of gatherings? Does the thought of being in a social situation trigger unwanted feelings? Rate the impact of isolation on you social life from zero to 10.
- Family life – Is your mom worried about you? Have you been missing family functions that you previously attended? Have you been avoiding your own children? Remember, you can isolate yourself even if you are living in the same home as your family. Lack of connection is a form of isolation. Rate the impact of isolation on your family life from zero to 10.
- Community life – Do you leave your home? If you do leave home, how anxiety-provoking or stressful is your experience? Do people tell you that getting out more would do you some good? When is the last time you took a walk in the park or had a conversation with a stranger in the grocery store? Rate the impact of isolation on your community life from zero to 10.
Next page: changing the way you think, and putting those thoughts into action.