The Psychology of Psoriasis

Dead Sea

Image via Wikipedia (I promised no gory pictures of psoriasis, so here's one of the Dead Sea instead.)

I’ve come to realize that many people I talk to suffer from some type of medical ailment.  Many people have something, physical or psychological, that makes them self-conscious or makes them feel different from others.  It does not matter how minor or major the ailment is, all that matters is that it makes them feel like they have something to hide.  Think about it.  When you go on a first date with a man or woman, what physical or mental thing do you not want them to find out about right away?

For me, that thing is psoriasis.  I suffer from psoriasis, particularly on the scalp.  I know that I am fortunate that my medical ailment, although chronic, is not one that is extremely life altering or life shortening.  I am also fortunate and grateful that I normally only have it on my scalp and I am blonde so it is very difficult for the average person to see.  I hide it well from most people on a day to day basis.  But when it comes to dating, there’s nothing scarier to me than that moment when you are about to kiss and fear tenses my entire body because I’m afraid he will run his fingers through my hair and notice that under my golden locks, there is something not normal.    (If any of you are asking yourself if this is why I wear hats so much, it is not.  I just happen to really love hats.  😛  )

If you have not yet heard of psoriasis, there are a number of websites to learn from and if you have found this blog then you are all highly capable Google searchers I’m sure.  Therefore, I will not bore you with medical details nor gory pictures.  I will tell you that it is an autoimmune skin disorder which causes red scaly patches on your skin.  Basically your brain tells your skin cells to produce more than they need to.  According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, it is the most common autoimmune disease in the US, so chances are you know someone who has it, even if you don’t know it.  It is not contagious (a common misconception).  It is caused by a combination of genes and triggers, stress being one of the few triggers that is widely accepted as a trigger that awakens the disease from your genes.

It tends to develop most in people in their mid-20s.  I have had problems with it as far back as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I was about 25 and going through a lot of stress (the FL years for those who know my life story) that it started to get bad.  That was 6 years ago.  I don’t remember what a normal scalp feels like anymore.  And as I mentioned before, it is chronic which means that now that I have it, I’m pretty much stuck with it until they find a cure.  There are treatments of course, but nothing that has been proven to cure it fully and permanently.  Of the available treatments, not as many are available to me because it is on my scalp and the presence of hair makes it difficult to go rubbing white creams on it every day.  I use a combination of a liquid prescription steroid and scalp oil to keep it tamed.  It kinda freaks me out because I don’t like the idea of pouring steroids onto the outskirts of my brain once a month, but my case is too strong for any natural remedies I have heard of.

Another treatment that has recently intrigued me is the idea of going to a resort on the Dead Sea that specializes in treatments of psoriasis due to the unique sun and water environment that happens there.  To be in a resort full of people like me, relaxing and getting daily treatments…it sounds like a dream come true.  But dropping a couple thousand between the flight to Israel and the cost of the resort for a non-permanent treatment is not appealing.  Since I am living in Asia, I am currently looking for an oriental medicine specialist (who is highly proficient in English) to see if any of their methods help me.  I could have gotten more treatment in the US, but to be honest, I couldn’t afford to visit the specialists and buy the expensive prescriptions or shots, even with insurance.

I don’t tell you all of this to evoke your pity.  I know there are people in the world who suffer from far worse things than this and I am grateful to be as healthy as I am.  I talk about it because I believe that talking about things that make you uncomfortable helps you connect with others who feel the same way.  I think that it’s ok to admit our imperfections.  The human body is a complicated system and we cannot expect anyone’s physical form to be perfect.  If I were famous, I’d be a public advocate for it like LeAnn Rimes who I think is very brave for telling the vain public eye about a not so attractive skin condition.  So whatever your ailment, disease, disorder or condition is try to talk about it (not necessarily in a public forum like this, but among friends to start) because you might make someone else feel better knowing they are not alone in how they feel.  It might help you feel better too.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1cruzdelsur
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 23:24:59

    Me gusta tu sinceridad y el modo de ver las cosas. Tengo un amigo que tiene esta enfermedad. Cuando entra en stress por motivos de trabajo o metas que a veces son difíciles de cumplir es cuando más se activa su reacción alérgica si así lo podemos decir. El con tratamientos homeopáticos ha mejorado notablemente. Me uno a tu mensaje para que la gente hable de sus problemas de salud, en definitiva estamos todos expuestos a enfermedades, la vida no es eterna y para siempre, mi padre con 80 años tiene cáncer desde hace 5años y el lucha todos los días desde que se levanta hasta la noche. Él siempre tiene una sonrisa¡ Lo puedes ver en mi blog, un día escribí un post para él…
    Muchacha aunque hablamos lenguas diferentes, tus pensamientos son como decimos aquí para sacarse el sombrero “Eres muy buena”
    Cuídate y adiós
    Cruz del Sur
    PD: Bella la foto…


    • ficklefolly
      Sep 11, 2011 @ 14:49:38

      Que bueno que tu amigo ha tenido éxito con los tratamientos homeopáticos. Y voy a leer el blog sobre tu padre. Me asombra la gente que pueden llegar frente a frente con una enfermedad como cáncer y siempre despertar con una sonrisa. Que fuerza tiene él. Gracias por sacarte el sombrero a mi. Me hace sonreir que puedo compartir mis pensamientos con la gente de todas partes del mundo.

      Oh y vi el video. No me gusto tanto el video, pero si me gusto la canción. 🙂


  2. Trackback: Your Questions About Remedies For Psoriasis Of The Scalp | Psoriasis Free Life

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