Handling The Reaction of Others
Psoriasis is a visible condition, and it may make some people uncomfortable at first because they don’t understand it and may even think that they can “catch it” from you. Some people may just be curious. You cannot control how people react to your psoriasis, but you can help them understand psoriasis by giving them accurate information. Use misunderstanding as an opportunity to educate; to help people set aside their fears.
What About My Love Life?
Dating and psoriasis: psoriasis doesn’t have to be a third party in your relationship! Some people with psoriasis feel that their condition is a barrier to forming romantic relationships,but it doesn’t have to be. If you understand psoriasis thoroughly, you’ll be more comfortable explaining it to other people.
The key to a romantic relationship is communication, whether you have psoriasis or not. Being upfront with partners about your condition and how it’s managed is always appropriate, but the appropriate timing of such a discussion will be different for everyone. You may feel more comfortable waiting until a relationship is underway before bringing up the topic, or you can choose to bring it up casually in conversation. Mentioning an upcoming medical appointment can be an easy way to work psoriasis into conversation.
Dating – Where to Begin?
Your mind and your body are connected. The stresses of living with a chronic condition such as psoriasis can get to you from time to time, and this can affect your confidence. When your confidence is low, dating also becomes more difficult. Here are some ways you can take control of negative thoughts that might keep you from exploring new relationships:
- Identify the negative thought and write it down: “No one will ever want to be with me because of my psoriasis.”
- Test the thought: Are you jumping to conclusions or making assumptions? Do you immediately jump to the worst possible conclusion? Are you letting psoriasis stop you from dating or the fear of rejection stand in your way?
- Dispute the thought: Realize that many people with psoriasis or other health problems have good friends and romantic partners. Sometimes you were rejected before you had psoriasis—because that is life and rejection happens to everyone at some point. What’s the worst that can happen ? Suppose you do get turned down and find out that your psoriasis is the reason. Is that person truly someone you want to spend time with?
- Review possible rebuttals: If the person you ask says, “I’m busy.” you can suggest another day. If they don’t like the activity you’ve chosen, suggest a different activity. If they say, “No, because you have psoriasis,” prepare your answer, “Sorry, I thought you would want to get to know me before you made a judgement about whether I’m a person you’d like to spend time with.”
- Carry out the action: Ask someone out.
Tips on Communicating with your Partner
- Explain your medications to your partner. If you are comfortable with the idea, you may even suggest that they help you apply your medication.
- Find a friend (besides your partner) who will listen to you and be honest with you.
- Don’t assume that you know what the other person wants or thinks. Ask!
- Get help. Develop a strong support system of family and friends.
- Say thank you. Recognize that others are trying to help, and let them know you appreciate their help.
- Remember that, while psoriasis is part of who you are, you are more than just psoriasis.
Building a Support System
Your support network can extend beyond your family and friends. Various psoriasis organizations are available, and can link you to other people who have a very real understanding of what you’re going through. They are a great venue to exchange practical information and tips, as well as to decrease your sense of isolation and increase your sense of community. You might prefer face-toface support groups or online support groups; the choice is yours. The following section entitled “Support information” can help you reach out to some of the various organizations available to you, both Canadian and international.
Ways You Can Make a Positive Change!
Active steps you can take for positive change include:
- Acknowledge your feelings. It is natural to feel emotions like anger, despair, and guilt. Psoriasis can be life changing and seemingly uncontrollable, and responding to this is normal.
- Share your feelings with others: You might choose another person with psoriasis, a family member, a counsellor or physician. It can help you cope to have someone try to understand your feelings and to have empathy for what you are going through.
- If your feelings are out of control or you just can’t cope, find a mental-health professional. This is not a sign of weakness.
- Take responsibility for treatment choices, and don’t give up on psoriasis control. You are the primary decision maker for your life. Ultimately your treatment choices, if you decide to treat at all, are up to you.
- Educate yourself about psoriasis and learn to talk about it factually. Psoriasis is a medical term and this is the term you should use when talking about it with others. Calling it something else can belittle the seriousness of your condition and its impact on you. How you speak about your psoriasis can change the way people see you. You have the opportunity to help people understand that psoriasis is a disease you live with and now who you are.