I was diagnosed pretty young, but there was definitely something going on when I was younger that suggested something serious might be going on. A good example of this is that when I was growing up, my parents always thought I was kind of lazy. I was already very different from the rest of my family, and I suppose that if you looked at me from only one perspective, then I might appear to be a lazy kid. I needed a lot of sleep. I didn't like to clean my room. All sorts of behavior that suggested that I'd rather just not be doing the stuff I was supposed to be doing. But I always felt like something much deeper was going on. It wasn't that I didn't want to do the things I was supposed to do. I just couldn't. It wasn't like I was trying to be defiant or anything like that.
Now, as a grownup, because I've had some success in my life, I've been able to see that, in fact, I'm not lazy at all. I'll have a day or sometimes I'll have a few weeks where I just can't produce at the same level as I could just a week or two before. You know, it's taken me a long time to have compassion for myself, because it's so obvious to me now that, as a kid, I was just characterized in a certain way when in fact I had this chronic autoimmune disease and skin condition. We didn't really understand how much it affected me.
It's still hard for me, though, after all this time. I'm a New Yorker, I'm a doer, and that's a huge part of what brings me joy. So for me to be like, "Okay, you know what, I did the best I could today and I'm just going to stop and be gentle with myself." But it's not easy because I'm in an industry -- in the media, as a talk show host and a wellness entrepreneur -- where I see so many people running around and doing so many things and it's almost impossible not to wonder how much farther I would be in my career if I didn't have this restriction? But you can drive yourself crazy with that sort of thinking, so I try not to waste too much time in that mindset.
I'm on medication, and that has really been the only way that I've been able to survive. I have a little bit of psoriasis, but honestly it's hardly anything compared to what I used to deal with. I do deal with psoriatic arthritis, but again, it's monitored through medication and I would say that while I feel symptoms, they certainly don't control my life. In fact, I'm so fortunate that they don't even come close to affecting my life as much as they used to.
I'm pretty vocal about the fact that I deal with my condition head-on. In the work that I do I get people emailing me all the time, saying they have psoriasis, or some other condition, and asking me what they can do. So I put together a free guide, "5 Ways to Love Yourself When You Have Psoriasis," that lays out steps that I think really help -- or that have helped me -- like paying attention to everything from your mental state, which is crucial, to being really conscious about what you're eating, and more. Basically, I stress how to take care of your mind and body and how to have compassion for yourself.
Of course, with psoriasis, everyone is different, so some people are going to want to go the medication route, some people are going to want to go straight to biologics, and some people are going to want to hold off and try something else. Personally, I couldn't hold off anymore because for 16 years, my psoriasis was debilitating, and after a time my bones were starting to get deformed, so the fact is that I really had to go on medication.
For everyone, though, it's a step by step process. Me? I've done it all. Part of why I created my guide is because I get asked about treatments by so many people, and while I honestly don't have the bandwidth to tell everybody all the things that I've learned over the years, I still really, really wanted to help people. And I hope I have.