A common misconception among the general population is that psoriasis only affects a person externally. But if you speak to a handful of people living with this chronic illness, you will quickly find out that is not true. We can feel overwhelmed with both physical and emotional symptoms.
Our loved ones cannot fully understand what it is like living in our bodies, nor do they realize the complications of living with psoriatic disease. In 17 years of living with psoriasis, I have become very familiar with what makes me feel supported, as well as what does not. Unsurprisingly, most of the people I speak to who have psoriasis are like-minded and share a similar interest in support. We all have our own individualized needs, but here are some simple ways to support your loved one with psoriatic disease.
The easiest thing someone who loves me can do to make me feel cared for is to ask me how I’m feeling.
There is a sense of powerlessness that comes with having someone in your life who suffers from a disease that cannot be cured. I have noticed this when someone feels like they can do nothing to help, but there are solutions. You can simply ask someone how they are feeling, inquire how you can support them, and actually listen. This act alone makes a difference. Making yourself available to be a listening ear gives us an opportunity to vent, guilt-free.
Having a chronic illness can be life-consuming. It is very difficult to forget about the disease and enjoy a special moment with friends and family. If you’re interested in supporting a loved one with the condition, consider doing some research on your own. It truly is an act of love for someone to spend their personal time educating themselves in order to understand and be sensitive to the person they care for. Research prevents misunderstanding of the disease and curbs people from providing unsolicited advice, which can be a pet peeve of those of us living with psoriasis.
We are well aware that people in our lives also have needs, which is why we are often laden with guilt. Our bodies do not always allow us to be physically or mentally present. It is not easy to make our bodies a priority at the risk of disappointing a loved one or missing out on life’s greatest moments. Letting your chronically ill friend or family member know that they are loved and that you understand when they need to tend to their health could take the pressure off.
It is important to remember that there are some things we cannot control. Drawing attention to our inability to accomplish a task can cause shame. Similarly, commenting on the amounts of skin flakes or blood marks we are leaving behind is very embarrassing. A little sensitivity goes a long way. Stress often causes flares, so taking the burden of guilt and shame off of our plates can make all the difference in the world.
My Perspective articles discuss psoriasis from a specific point of view. My Perspective articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyPsoriasisTeam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. MyPsoriasisTeam content isn't intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.