Individuals with psoriasis face unique challenges that those around us may not notice, realize, or understand. Many people with psoriasis live in fear, afraid of what the world may say or think about their disease. I was one of those people not long ago, and these are a few of the unique challenges I faced.
Leaving yourself behind
Since my psoriasis trigger, I have left myself behind in ways I would have never imagined. There was a time I left myself behind on a toilet seat in my dorm bathroom. In another instance, I left myself behind on my desk at work. And there was this one situation, where I left myself behind all over the hotel bathroom floor. I’m not talking about actually leaving my whole self, I’m referring to the shedding and flaking of dead skin, a symptom of psoriasis.
Dead skin doesn’t care where it falls or who sees it, which is one of the embarrassing aspects of having the disease.
Trying to hide psoriasis
“Why do you have on all those clothes, it’s 90 degrees outside?” That was a question I heard often in the summertime. I would do all I could to cover my psoriasis so it wouldn’t be noticeable. Back then, I would have rather been burning hot than to have shown my psoriasis-inflicted skin.
People with psoriasis tend to make their disease as inconspicuous as possible by wearing clothes which hide their disease. Unlike other diseases that don’t necessarily show, psoriasis is a disease that exposes itself to anyone who will pay attention.
When psoriasis medications stop working
All psoriasis patients have to face the fact that one day the medicine being used may say "I quit." The body could potentially build up a resistance to a medicine being used for psoriasis, where the drug becomes ineffective. So far the only medicine that has worked for me are topical steroids. Due to the fear and risk of my body becoming resistant to this medicine I only use them when I have a special event, like for my wedding 3 years ago. Be sure to always discuss the different possibilities with your doctor and pick the medicine that you are most comfortable using.
For some of us, good skin is only around when things are going well. As soon as stress occurs that good skin says bye and psoriasis says "hello." One of the most common triggers of psoriasis is stress. The normal day-to-day mishaps can also cause stress, but sometimes for psoriasis sufferers stress can be skin deep. There are many different ways a body can feel stressed from not eating right, lack of exercise, alcohol and smoking can all play a role in how your body feels and reacts to your disease. It is important to pay close attention to the way your body responds to different situations to see what affects you the most.
Misconceptions about psoriasis
The appearance of psoriasis can be misleading and confusing. In certain situations when people see my skin, they automatically assume I have eczema, another more common disease of the skin. Some have also mistaken it for poison ivy or a rash from an allergic reaction. I remember as a child lying and saying I had eczema because everyone knew what that was and I didn’t have to explain any further. I now realize I did this disease a disservice by not educating others as soon as possible. The easiest ways to eliminate these misconceptions is to talk about the disease
What are some other unique challenges that you face living with skin diseases?
Alisha Bridges is a freelance health writer on the topics of sexual health, skin care, and psoriasis. She has lived and thrived with psoriasis for over two decades. Alisha is the creator of www.Beingmeinmyownskin.com, a site dedicated to sharing what it’s like to live with psoriasis. She is also a student at Georgia State University pursuing a career as a physician assistant with a concentration in dermatology. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @alishambridges.