When you're living with an autoimmune condition like psoriasis you might find that, although you can control the physical symptoms, the impact on your mental health living with a skin disease can be more difficult to deal with. It's not unusual to feel embarrassed or as if you're a burden to others. Medication can also have an impact and the day-to-day stress of dealing with an ongoing and fatiguing condition can leave you lacking in energy and feeling unable to cope.
If you find that you're avoiding social situations and contact with close friends - stop. You'll need that support network now more than ever. Here are some proven strategies for coping if you feel that your psoriasis is getting you down.
Think about relationships
Who are the people who really matter to you? Who accept you for who you are and make you feel as if you're really important to them? Reach out to them and share those negative thoughts. You'll find that the emotional support and comfort you get from close friends, family and partners will help you to get through your health crises and keep up with your psoriasis treatment. Fight isolation with social activity - it's proven to help us live a longer, healthier life.
Talk to the professionals
Discuss your feelings with a doctor - they'll be able to prescribe medication if necessary, or refer you for counselling or therapy. Talking to a mental health professional can provide you with the mechanisms and strategies to put a stop to those negative thoughts.
Engage with the online psoriasis community
Get support from those who understand exactly what you are going through. There is a growing online community on Instagram and Twitter of people with psoriasis who raise awareness by sharing pictures and life stories, but most importantly by motivating and supporting each other. Search for #psoriasis, #getyourskinout or #psoriasisawareness to join the conversation.
Take some exercise
Adjust your thinking on exercise. It doesn't have to involve visits to the gym or getting out on a bike. Walking as far as you feel capable can help with mindfulness, by focusing on the here and now. And a gentle form of yoga is a wonderful way to exercise those aching joints and focus on relaxation.
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Explore the mind-body connection
Meditation is a wonderful technique for coping with the mental health impact of living with a skin disease. Techniques like progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery can help you to cope with stress and get out of the vicious cycle that causes those angry flare-ups.
Try natural remedies