“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”
It can be hard to deal with autoimmune chronic diseases like psoriasis. They can be frustrating, and sometimes it feels like they’re controlling our lives. But there are ways to live with them without letting them take over.
I’m here to share my story to express my feelings and make sense of Psoriasis, a skin disorder that has puzzled me for years.
I’m not sure anyone can completely answer the question “What is psoriasis?” but I’ll do my best to share what I’ve learned. I hope this helps you find answers for yourself or someone you love.
If you are one of the nearly 7,5 million people in the US who lives with Psoriasis, I genuinely believe you will find some valuable tips you can use to change your life. I do not have a medical degree, and I will not provide medical advice. However, I will show you my steps of managing symptoms as a girl with Psoriasis who’s been through a lot and has learned some things the hard way.
What do we know about Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is one of the chronic autoimmune diseases. When the immune system sends out faulty signals, new skin cells are made too quickly within the life cycle of existing cells, which forms thick red patches called plaques.
Types of Psoriasis:
The most common form of Psoriasis appears as raised red areas covered with a silvery-white buildup of dead skin. It typically affects the elbows, knees, and scalp but can appear anywhere on the body.
This type of Psoriasis appears as raised red areas with pus-filled blisters.
The most severe form causes the entire skin surface to become red and inflamed. Certain medications or severe infections can trigger it. It requires immediate medical attention.
This type of Psoriasis appears as tiny, water-drop-shaped sores on the trunk, arms, or legs. It is usually triggered by a streptococcal infection such as strep throat. It is the second most common type of Psoriasis in children.
This type of Psoriasis appears as smooth, tender pink patches in folds of skin. It typically affects the armpits, the breasts, and the genitals.
National Psoriasis Foundation if you like to read more.
Whatever the cause of Psoriasis, I know a few things for sure:
Psoriasis is a chronic disease with symptoms often occurring on my body and challenging daily living. It is an autoimmune disease in which my immune system attacks healthy skin cells, causing an overproduction of new cells, leading to raised, red patches covered by thick, white scales.
Psoriasis is not just a cosmetic problem; it can affect a person’s quality of daily life by causing a physical and emotional impact.
Stress can cause inflammation in the body, which can trigger symptoms and can cause unstable mental health.
It requires a lot of patience, screaming, and a good sense of humor!
I have been suffering from Psoriasis for 16 years, which is pretty long. It started on my scalp, and it has spread to other parts of my body over the years.
I have mixed feelings about Psoriasis. I hate that it is something that I have to deal with every day, but at the same time, I am grateful that it is not a life-threatening disease. Psoriasis is manageable, and I have been fortunate to live with it without too many issues like heart disease.
I have to confess. It’s an embarrassing condition, and I have felt relatively isolated at times. I’m not sure anyone understands what it is like to live with Psoriasis unless they have experienced it themselves.
At the beginning of my journey, I was ashamed to talk loudly in public or show my skin to anyone, and I felt like I had a dirty little secret.
The first step is to get a diagnosis. It can be difficult, as Psoriasis can look very different from person to person, and you may need to see more than one doctor before you get a correct diagnosis.
At first, when I started getting the patches on my scalp, I went to see my husband’s cousin, who was a doctor. She said it is Psoriasis. My head was spinning, and my stress got high because I didn’t know what Psoriasis was.
One of the things that occurred to me when I first heard “Psoriasis” was how embarrassed I felt. I had always been so confident, but this made me think less about myself.
How did I catch that?
That’s how little I knew about it.
Psoriasis is not contagious, meaning you cannot catch it from another person; it is thought to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. I don’t remember my family members having this, so it was a surprise.
There were days I laughed at myself thinking about family heritage. Some will get houses, cars, or money left in wills. Me, I got Psoriasis – lol!
And other days, I would ask, “why me?” and even feel sad. But one thing was clear – having the correct information about Psoriasis was key to my recovery.
I didn’t know much about Psoriasis in the early days and thought my husband’s cousin was wrong.
I just knew that something was wrong with my scalp, and it would not go away.
The second family doctor I went to just told me it was a dry scalp and gave me some prescription shampoo to use. No matter how much-medicated shampoo I used or strict sourcing guidelines weren’t helping. It was a time to see a dermatologist!
The dermatologist, after medically reviewing diagnosed me with scalp psoriasis and gave me some cream to put on my head.
It Helped for a while, but the patches kept coming back.
What kind of Psoriasis do you have?
I have scalp psoriasis. Skin symptoms can include red scaly patches that appear on the scalp, and these patches are often itchy and can be painful.
Some people with Psoriasis also have arthritis, which is a condition that affects the joints. Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints.
I have also developed psoriatic arthritis, where the joints in my fingers are inflamed. There is significant pain in my hands, especially when I wake up in the morning. I had this for several months before discovering what was wrong. It is only one of the health conditions this psoriatic disease can trigger.
For me, this means I have good days and bad days when it comes to my arthritis symptoms since I’m one of these people who have both.
How have you dealt with Psoriasis?
I have tried many things to deal with it and have had varying degrees of success. I am fortunate that my Psoriasis is not as bad as some, but it is still a significant part of my life. I have made some choices based on my symptoms, but I think the most important things are to find what works for you and be kind to yourself!
We are all different and have our way of dealing with Psoriasis, with no visible Psoriasis sometimes coming in waves.
There is no cure for Psoriasis, but there are ways to manage the psoriasis symptoms.
In my experience, managing Psoriasis has been a trial and error process. I have tried different treatment options, creams, ointments, and shampoos, but nothing has worked for me 100 percent. The best approach has been finding a treatment that helps keep the cracked skin under control.
Over the years, I have tried many things, and this is what has worked for me:
- Avoid stress as much as possible, learn to relax, and take good care of myself (yoga has been a lifesaver).
- I always try to remember that Psoriasis is “just one part of me, not all of me.”
- I avoid triggers as much as possible, which means staying away from using non-irritating soaps and shampoos, and keeping skin moisturized.
- I’ve also found that a healthy diet goes hand in hand to keep my psoriasis flare in control. I try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water and get plenty of regular daily exercise. Here is the diet I follow that helps control my psoriasis flares and keep my weight in check.
Psoriasis is unpredictable
The thing about Psoriasis that I find most difficult is its unpredictability. The patches can suddenly appear and disappear for no apparent reason. The disease can go into remission for weeks, months, or years, but I guess the older we get, the more it tends to stick around.
The other thing to remember about Psoriasis is a lifelong disease. There is no cure, so we have to learn to live with it. It means making some adjustments to our health, but it is not impossible.
I know that even if my Psoriasis gets worse, I am still me. I don’t let stress control my emotional health. I’ve learned not to let it rule my life, which is easier said than done at times!
How long does each flare-up last?
When I have Psoriasis flares, It usually lasts 4 to 6 weeks, and I have them on my scalp.
Sometimes the flares are short-lived, lasting less than six weeks, but they often last eight to 12 weeks. But this varies significantly from person to person — it can last for days, weeks, or months.
How long you have Psoriasis will determine how often you will get flare-ups. Not everyone experiences the same symptoms, but I have some common signs. The skin starts to itch and burn, and I also have a tingling sensation on my scalp. Red patches will begin to form from my hairline, and then over time, the scales will build up.
Living with Psoriasis.
When I was diagnosed with Psoriasis, my dermatologist gave me a leaflet and told me there was no cure and not to tell anyone about it. Kind of like a joke.
I was agitated and didn’t know what to do. I felt like I had a disease, and no one wanted to talk about it.
It was hard to keep it a secret because I wanted to tell everyone, but I was scared they would think I was dirty or something.
I remember thinking: if it’s not infectious, why can’t people know about this? It doesn’t change who I am on the inside.
When you have Psoriasis, it can be challenging to explain what you are going through to other people.
Living with Psoriasis can be tricky because it is often misunderstood, and people are often uneducated about it.
As much as we try to educate the public about Psoriasis, there will always be someone who knows better than you.
Many people did not know what Psoriasis was when I first got it. Some thought it was a contagious condition, and some told me, “oh, don’t worry about it,” or “you have scales on your head.”
Others would ask if it hurt and how I caught it. If you have Psoriasis, there is nothing you can “catch.” Over the years, I have had to fight every step of the way to be taken seriously. It seems that people are much more comfortable knowing what you have than when you are in the grey zone.
People seem not to understand what Psoriasis is, which results in many weird conversations about it. Some of my friends were trying to advise me on how to get rid of it. A friend told me that I should rub garlic on my head and wear a shower cap; what great medical treatments. That was funny, didn’t you think?
People also often tell me: “Oh, you should use this cream to manage symptoms, and it will go away for sure.”
I guess giving advice is another way to show that they care. But it can be frustrating because Psoriasis is a condition that many people don’t understand, and that’s why they give the advice they do.
It is just a skin condition that we deal with for most people, but they do not understand what we go through every day to keep good quality of life.
The most important thing I learned was that maybe I should not focus on what other people say or think.
Not everyone will understand, and that’s ok!
For us, Psoriasis is very personal, and the last thing you want to do is discuss it with everyone.
On the other hand, when someone understands what you are going through, they are there for you no matter what.
Over time, I have learned to accept Psoriasis as part of my identity. It is a part of my life, but it does not define me. That’s why I started this blog. To help connect people with Psoriasis and share information and resources.
If you’re reading this and struggling, please know that you’re not alone. Others have psoriatic disease and support groups you can join.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to cope with Psoriasis, as everyone’s experience will be different. However, there are some things you can do to help yourself.
Educate yourself about Psoriasis and the different options available. It will help you feel more in control of your condition and make it easier to control the flare-ups.
There is no absolute cure, and treatments aim to control the symptoms and prevent Psoriasis flare-ups rather than completely getting rid of the skin condition.
No matter what treatment you choose: cream, ointment, salve, gel – it won’t work miracles. As an autoimmune disease, I learned how important a healthy diet is for me and my body over the years. I watch what I eat, take my vitamins, and try not to invite stress into my life.
I also avoid common triggers, like drinking, smoking, and extended sun exposure, making my Psoriasis worse. So I’m preventing the higher-risk treatment plan as prescription medication. I’m not saying the drugs will not improve symptoms, but certain medications will suppress the immune system.
But over time, I have learned to accept Psoriasis as part of who I am. It is a part of my life, but it does not define me. I have come to terms with the fact that there is no cure for Psoriasis, and I have to learn to live with it. It doesn’t mean that I am resigned to a life of misery and depression. I can do things to make life easier, and I would like to share some of these with you.
“Challenge days and Find Happiness.”- depression is not an option.
I was disappointed at first to find that there was no quick fix for my Psoriasis. Even if I could clear up all the patches, I would not be cured. Psoriasis is just one part of me. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Psoriasis, and it will come back from time to time. But this does not have to be the end of the world! I have learned to live with Psoriasis and stopped asking, “why me”? When I started thinking Psoriasis is “just a skin disease”, you can still live with it. I won the fight!
Accepting the skin we live in is a question of self-confidence. How you feel about yourself is more important than how others perceive you. When I started to believe in myself again and accept the skin I live in, this was when my healing process began. You can do it too if you want it!
I have compiled a few helpful tips for those who have Psoriasis. I am sure they will help you too!
12 self-improvement tips to change your life:
1. Find your way of coping with Psoriasis and live life the way YOU want. Some people say that there is no point in going out, especially in summer, because their Psoriasis worsens after being out in the sun for too long. I say, “Challenge yourself and find happiness!” If you want to go out, do it. Maybe take your umbrella with you.
2. Do not let Psoriasis take over your life! I know it is hard when the skin is red and inflamed, but try to live every day. You can still go to work, meet friends, etc. Just be careful with what you eat and how you treat your skin.
3. Be open about your Psoriasis condition. If people do not know what is wrong with you, they cannot help! Once my friends found out about my skin condition, they understood me more and offered me support which I appreciated. You can start this process by telling your family and friends.
4. Do not be ashamed of your skin! I know it is hard, but you are not the only one with Psoriasis in the world. Many forums and online groups share your experiences and support others going through the same thing as you.
5. Do some research on Psoriasis and learn as much about it as you can, and it will help you better understand your condition and treat it. Nobody knows your own body better than you do, and you will find your own best ways of managing your situation worse.
6. Be positive! And do not lose hope that someday you will find a way to manage Psoriasis and live everyday life. I believe in people and my ability to help myself even if my Psoriasis comes back again, no matter what. You can do it too!
7. Take care of yourself both physically and mentally! Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. It will help your body cope with Psoriasis and make you feel better overall.
8. Make sure you eat right and drink enough water, significantly if your Psoriasis worsens after eating certain foods or drinking alcohol. You can also use dietary supplements to help your skin get better, which you can learn about on this website.
9. Don’t blame yourself for having Psoriasis! No one wants to have this condition, but complaining will not make it disappear! The sooner you accept your skin conditions, the easier it will be for you to move on with your life
10. Don’t let Psoriasis stop you from having fun! Go out dancing with your girlfriends, have a drink at the bar, and try bike riding or tennis. You name it. If you like water, go swimming or sunbathe in your bikini. I do it all the time.
11. Be patient with the treatment process. It may take some time to find the proper treatment for you, so don’t give up easily. There are many ways to treat Psoriasis, both conventional and alternative, so do some research and find the best treatment for you.
12. Embrace your Psoriasis! It is a part of you, and it makes you unique. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable in your skin (no pun intended). Don’t be afraid to show your Psoriasis patches to your friends and family. They will understand you and support you no matter what, I’m sure of it!
Don’t lose hope even if your Psoriasis is back after clearing up. You can always treat it again and move on with life. Remember: Psoriasis is only a skin disease! Learning to live with is the first step, and then you will learn how to love yourself, including your Psoriasis.
I hope these tips were helpful, and I wish you a speedy recovery. One last thing, please learn to love yourself! You are beautiful no matter your skin condition!