For some people finding romance and building intimate relationships is even more challenging than for others, especially for those who suffer from psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. About 5 million Americans suffer from psoriasis and even though it’s not life threatening or contagious, it is not curable, only treatable. Psoriasis occurs when skin cells rise too rapidly from below the surface and stack up on top of each other before they mature. This produces blotchy, red or brown patches of thick inflamed skin often covered with flaky scales that can be painful and irritating. Some psoriasis sufferers also experience joint inflammation and arthritis, resulting in psoriatic arthritis. It’s no wonder that single people with psoriasis feel insecure about meeting people for fear of their negative reaction.
I had a client, Sally, who confessed that she didn’t feel worthy of being loved because of the way her skin looked. Consequently she hibernated in her home, over-ate and fell into a deep depression for over 5 years before coming to seek professional help. I helped her to reconnect with herself by persuading her to reward herself on a daily basis. She started to pamper herself with little things like getting her hair done, and then revisited some old favorite pastimes she used to enjoy, like going to an afternoon movie matinee. In short, she was doing things that made her feel good. Before long, Sally had a positive attitude that allowed her to let down her guard. With her newfound self-love and confidence, Sally was ready to join in some social activities. She started by joining a book club, but began to feel uncomfortable when some of the other members looked curiously at the skin breakouts on her hands. Sally took my advice and made the first move by saying, “Have you ever heard of psoriasis? It’s a skin condition that I have, but don’t worry because I’m not contagious and I promise I won’t drop down dead from it either.” One person laughed and then everyone else warmed up to her. Sally had educated them in a matter of moments and made herself a lovable person at the same time.
Open, honest communication is always the best policy as opposed to trying to hide the fact that you have psoriasis or any other disorder for that matter. If you meet someone that you care for, let them know about your condition, but also tell them that it is manageable so that you don’t alarm them. Your attitude can make the difference in how others respond to you, so make the choice to have a positive attitude because that is positively infectious.
If you’re in an intimate relationship and suffer from psoriasis, communicate openly and honestly with your partner. If you’re not in the mood to make love because you are in pain or discomfort, don’t just reject your lover, which will make them feel unwanted and helpless, instead, compromise by suggesting some other kind of intimacy such as hugging, kissing, caressing, listening to music or any other activity that will give you quality time together.
Always remember that people cannot read your mind, so you need to communicate your wants, needs, desires and fears.
The good news is that there are support groups like the National Psoriasis Foundation and more treatment options available than ever before. For more information on psoriasis and to connect with experts and get the facts on the very latest treatments go to: www.psoriasis.org