Most people have never heard of psoriasis when they are first diagnosed with it. It’s a funny
word that uses a silent “p,” which makes it a bit clinical sounding, like psychology or
psychiatry, or even slightly religious sounding, like psalms. All that most people know is that
it’s itchy and unsightly, and sore when the skin cracks.
It takes years of living with psoriasis to eventually bed down with it and intuitively understand
what works and what doesn’t, and what gives the most relief. It’s quite a revelation to
discover that most doctors and nurses have no idea what it feels like to have the condition.
It’s also hurtful to try and not notice the people who meet you for the first time cringing when
they are about to grasp your hand to shake it, seeing the silvery bulbous lesions at the last
moment and realizing that there’s no way to avoid them.
Emotional hurt is a part and parcel of living with psoriasis, but you get over it eventually –
more or less. You instinctively don’t expose too much skin on summer days to lessen the
stares from others.
In your lighter moments, you might even laugh at the thought of you
visiting a nudist colony, imagining the terror that might induce. It’s understandable of course
how anyone who hasn’t seen a body that’s at least 80% covered in psoriasis might react in
fear if confronted with the sight.
Perhaps the worst part of living with psoriasis is trying new treatments. Just when you’ve
become familiar and reasonably comfortable with one treatment, your doctor suggests that
you should try another one, something new that he’s been encouraged to try out on his
guinea pigs – sorry, patients.
The change is always a traumatic time. Your psoriasis invariably gets worse before getting better – or maybe it gets even worse still, depending on the effectiveness of the new treatment.
There’s also the problem of knowing that certain enjoyable things will make your psoriasis
worse for several days if you partake of them. The biggest one is alcohol. It’s all right to have
one or two drinks, but if you take more than that, perhaps at a birthday party, or at Christmas
or New Year, you will suffer.
Hangovers are the least of the problem for someone trying to live with psoriasis who also
takes a few drinks. The lesions flare up red and angry, get even itchier and scaly, and
generally make the whole experience just not worth it.
Living with psoriasis becomes a way of life after 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. There are
good times and bad times. Occasionally when life eases up on its pressures, your psoriasis
will slowly fade away.
One day you’ll look at yourself in the mirror coming out of the shower
and realize that your body is almost psoriasis free. It’s temporary of course, but times like
that make you want to go out and celebrate, but breaking out the champagne would only
make it worse again. Living with psoriasis can be a challenge, to say the least.