When I got the diagnosis, I sat in the truck and cried. I realized that this was something I’d probably have to deal with the rest of my life. And that was overwhelming, especially since I didn’t know anyone who had been through it.
I felt very alone, very frustrated. Like most people in the general public, I just thought psoriasis was a skin condition and didn’t know it was an autoimmune disease that can affect not only the skin, but organs and joints and eyes and your whole immune system.
As I learned more, I got very scared.
A condition like this can take a great emotional toll. It’s hard to put into words how much of a stigma the psoriasis, along with the psoriatic arthritis, has been. The psoriasis alone can make me afraid to meet new people.
When it’s severe and you can’t hide it, you feel so embarrassed and you feel that people are just watching you and watching your skin flake off. You feel incredibly sensitive to other people’s perception of you.
I was disgusted with myself. And I thought that’s how everyone else viewed me.
I would tell others to find a balance. Be aware of your limitations. Push the envelope, but don’t push it too hard.
Find the center in yourself that will help you deal better with the day in, day out frustration and anxiety of living with psoriasis.
Don’t feel guilty when you must say no. Be proud of who you are on the inside. I have learned there is so much more to me than my outward appearance.
Helping others has become very important to me, through volunteering and working with various non-profit organizations. I've recently gone through training with the International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis. I'm looking forward to that.
I'd also tell people to find something that brings you joy and make that a priority in your life. Just hold on to it and don't let go.
It has really helped me to be around my horses and my dogs. They constantly put a smile on my face.
I can’t be unhappy when I’m with them.