The Spa Day that Never Happened
For about 18 years I had only imagined going to the spa. Ironically, I was scared to go to a place of relaxation and allow someone outside of my family to see my skin. I had never had a professional pedicure or massage until about 2 years ago after I finally decided to get over my fear. I realized I wasted a lot of time because most people who work at spas are familiar with skin conditions such as psoriasis.
About a week ago, I decided to go to the spa to relieve some stress that I was dealing with from life and work. This particular spa is different from most because it is open for 24 hours. I knew that the spa was not really private--there are open spaces with an array of services for people to enjoy. I figured I would go at night, hoping that traffic for the establishment would be slim, and that I would be free to walk around as myself without much worry. Well, when I arrived to the spa at 10:30pm the parking lot was full of cars. That's when I begin to feel uneasy.
I walked into the establishment, and that's when the reality of people seeing my whole body struck me like lightening. My heart started racing, my palms began to sweat, my thoughts ran rampant. Self doubt began to creep up on me like a theft in the night and at that moment took away any self-confidence I had. I was having an anxiety attack, and before that moment I didn't realize I had had many of these dreadful encounters when dealing with exposing my psoriasis.
I walked up to the counter and asked the attendant if the massages were in private rooms. He advised that they weren't and said that the massages were giving out in the open. I told him I would be back and darted to my car. Once I got inside my vehicle all I could do was cry. I was having an internal battle with myself. Part of me wanted to go in and flaunt my skin, but the other half was scared of what others around me would say or do when they seen my psoriasis inflicted skin. After I sat in the car for about 30 minutes reflecting, I decided that the situation was too much for me at the moment and I went home disappointed that I let fear get the best of me. But with more consideration I realize I could have handled that situation a lot differently if I would have just stopped and thought things through.
Anxiety is a common feeling with those who have psoriasis. Many people deal with the fear of how others will view their disease. Here are a few ways you can cope!
Breath, Relax, Think Positive
In the pass when I've dealt with overwhelming situations I stop for a moment and meditate. I close my eyes, think about positive things and reaffirm what I need to happen at the moment. Sometimes it takes a few moments to get my mind back on track but eventually it happens. You have control over your thoughts. If you start to feel overwhelmed with negative thoughts; stop, breath, relax, think positive, and get your mind back to a happy place.
Understanding Your Limits
When I look back at the previous situation. I realize I put to much on myself at one time. I have no problem showing my skin to people who know I have psoriasis, but it's hard for me to expose it to strangers that I can't inform. Do things that make you feel comfortable. It is not healthy to force yourself to do things that make you feel bad or give you an anxiety attack.
Think of ways to do what you love but without being uncomfortable. Brainstorm challenging situations with your psoriasis and how you can overcome them. In my particular situation if I would have taken a friend or my husband as support with me to the spa they would have probably encouraged me to stay. I also could have called a head to understand the layout of the rooms and atmosphere of the spa.
Contact A Professional
If your anxiety becomes more frequent and hard to control it is best to contact a professional such as a therapist. They will give you ways to cope that you may not have thought about. There are many counselors who specialize in dealing with individuals dealing with anxiety!