Your friends and family are around you everyday. They know everything about you – and psoriasis shouldn’t be the exception. You may not know why you have the disease, but you can understand the science behind the disease and share that with your loved ones. Here are a few things I’ve learned that loved ones can express with their partners to help them open up about psoriasis.
Why do we go to concerts by your favorite band? Or loyally buy clothes from your favorite store or designer? Why do we take our kids to the best cheerleading or basketball coach around? One of the major reasons may be that we have confided in those leaders in their respective fields because they are the best at what they do.
That being said, we know what we’re going to get when we invest in these things. But the same can be said for anyone who has psoriasis or a chronic disease. You too can be an expert in how psoriasis affects you.
How exactly can we get there? It’s time to start confiding in those around you.
Opening up about having psoriasis can be difficult. But I have come to realize that talking about your condition actually makes opening up so much easier. For me, it didn’t happen at first, it took practice – a lot of practice, as well as truly learning to confide in those around you. But it is possible, and I’m here to help those with psoriasis learn to open up to others as well.
The more you know about the disease, the more confident you will feel and will want to tell the world about this chronic disease. When I was first diagnosed over 15 years ago, I didn’t have all the resources that there are now. Because of that reason, I was scared to death to talk to my now husband about this chronic disease that didn’t make me feel sexy at all. But hearing the following phrases from him made all the difference in helping me to learn to confide in him about my skin.
“I’m not dating you for what you look like.”
I remember to this day exactly where we were. We were standing on a deck at a restaurant in Galveston, Texas. Despite the muggy weather, I was wearing a quarter length black shirt and jeans to hide my elbows and legs. My husband and I were talking about what a great night we were having with each other and opening up about a lot of things. Now was time to tell him.
I first asked if he knew anything about psoriasis. He said no. I explained to him that it was a chronic autoimmune disease with no cure yet. I told him that it affects the immune system and appears as red/flaky patches on the skin. I showed him my patches. I told him what treatments I was on, and how it affects my quality of life.
He was extremely understanding. He could tell that opening up was hard on me but was grateful that I was showing him this side of me. He was also thankful that I was teaching him about something he didn’t know about yet. One thing he has said to me that stays with me:
“I’m not dating you for what you look like, I’m dating you for who you are.”
Loved ones should remember this phrase when showing support to someone with psoriasis. Similarly, those with psoriasis should remember this when opening up to family, friends, coworkers or significant others. Loved ones are not there to judge you, but instead care for and accept you for who you are.
To further help you on your journey of opening up about having psoriasis, here are some prompts, questions and psoriasis statistics that can help you when talking to those around you:
“Do you know anything about psoriasis or autoimmune diseases?”
“Psoriasis affects the immune systems and appears as red/flaky patches on the skin.” (Now would be a good time to show your patches.)
“It is not contagious.”
“Psoriasis affects more than 7.5 million Americans and about 25 percent of people have a genetic predisposition to getting psoriasis.” (You were just one of the lucky ones!)
“There are different types of treatments out there, but here is what has worked for me… I’ve also tried (insert what treatments you’ve tried) but they didn’t help, and it really made me feel (explain how it makes you feel).”
“Psoriasis affects my quality of life because…” (it’s extremely itchy, it can be embarrassing, hard to talk about, etc).
“What questions do you have for me?”
Have you opened up recently with your family or friends? What has helped you? What is stopping you? I’m looking forward to your comments below!
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