Educating Friends and Family About Psoriasis
Many friends and family, unfortunately, think psoriasis is just dry skin. However, you know it is much more than that, and it is important that your loved ones understand how psoriasis can impact your everyday life. Once they understand this skin condition, they are in a better position to support your needs.
Don’t make your psoriatic skin the elephant in the room. Instead, you can be the one to start the conversation, and here are a few tips to guide this discussion.
1 - Don’t expect others to know what you are thinking and feeling...
It is not always obvious to others how psoriasis affects you. If your plaques are covered by clothes, friends may not know you are having a flare up. Family may not be aware that you are taking medications. Those closest to us do not always know the emotional affect that psoriasis has on our mental health.
When you feel comfortable talking about the disease, you give your biggest fans an opportunity to understand.
2 - Go Over Psoriasis 101
Many individuals think psoriasis is eczema. Some people think it is contagious. While others may think you are having an allergic reaction. Take the time to go over the facts and falsehoods associated with psoriasis.
A good place to start is by explaining how psoriasis is a disease that causes plaques in different parts of your body. In addition, let them know that they will not “catch” psoriasis by touching or hugging you.
Once they know the basics, you can teach them that psoriasis is an autoimmune disease and although it comes and goes (also known as “flaring up”), it is a disease that has no cure and will be with you the rest of your life.
Because there is no cure, you have to spend extra time taking care of your skin which can include special creams, pills, shampoos, soaps and even more frequent visits to the dermatologist.
3 - Tell the Truth about the Struggles
Don’t say life is easy with psoriasis. Make sure to give clear examples. Your friends want to know how psoriasis affects your daily life.
Maybe you do not want to take a vacation where the focus is around a pool because you don’t want to take your shirt and pants off, thus exposing your plaques to the world. Maybe there are some tasks or activities you do not want to do because it will irritate your skin. Tell the truth about what you do and do not feel comfortable doing.
4 - Help… it’s okay to accept it
Your friends want to help you on your psoriasis journey. They want to be there for both the ups and downs.
Let them be an ear to listen to your complaints on a bad day. Let them be a high five when your skin is having a clearer day.
Instead of getting angry or upset, let them know the best ways to help you control your psoriasis.
Remember… your friends and family want to help.