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Managing Your Psoriasis

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What I Would Tell Someone Who Has Just Received a Psoriasis Diagnosis

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The word “diagnosis” itself can be very scary. The entire process of experiencing symptoms, going to doctor’s appointments, getting bloodwork, and all that comes with it can be nerve-wracking. If you’re anything like me, waiting to hear results can lead to increased fear and anxiety. What are these spots on me? Why do I have so many flakes on my scalp? Why am I so tired? These are just some questions you may finally have answered when you receive a diagnosis of psoriasis. You’re given the medical definitions, brochures, treatment options, etc. You hear all of these words, but inside you may be saying, “now what?”

I received my psoriasis diagnosis as a child, so although I’ve lived with psoriasis almost my entire life, having a major flare as an adult, unlike any other flare I was used to, felt like a new diagnosis. I had many questions and felt completely afraid. The only way through, was through. Crossing that bridge was one of the toughest times in my life. Knowing how that feels has pushed me to support others, especially those newly diagnosed. I wish I had someone back then to share more than the medical jargon and offer support and tips. My hope is to be that encouragement for you by sharing three things you should know if you’re newly diagnosed. 

You’re not alone

Living with psoriatic disease can feel very isolating. Some people have no idea how it can impact you mentally and physically. Psoriasis is so much more than just a skin disease. Often we tend to feel misunderstood, which can lead you into believing that you’re alone and unsupported. I am here to tell you there’s a world of others sharing in our diagnosis who truly get all of what you’re experiencing. You are not alone.

Finding your community is critical especially for those newly diagnosed. I found my tribe by joining psoriasis support groups online, getting connected with the National Psoriasis Foundation, and later creating my own support group. We learn from each other with our lived experiences. We encourage each other and we can relate to one another on a different level. Finding your tribe offers more than just support, but a realization that you have others that you can truly lean on. 

Research responsibly

Hearing a diagnosis immediately puts most people into research mode. If you are newly diagnosed, I want you to know it’s okay to learn more. However, although you should find out more about your condition, it’s critical that you research responsibly. It is very easy to go down a rabbit hole, especially on the internet. Misinformation can lead you down the wrong path that can do more harm than good. 

When learning more, start with your healthcare team. Ask many questions, and leading up to your appointments, have them already written down. Get connected with groups and organizations such as the National Psoriasis Foundation; those organizations can give you accurate information and resources. Steer clear from seeking medical advice on the internet and stay away from anything that sounds too good to be true. We’d all love for there to be a magic cream to fix everything. That unfortunately is not the case. Everyone is different, and each of us responds to different treatment methods uniquely. Take the time to learn about treatment options and make informed decisions after connecting with your medical team. 

Manage more than just your meds

Managing day-to-day life with psoriasis is about way more than topicals and biologics. If you’re newly diagnosed, over time you will see that it involves a multi-faceted approach. For me personally it involves including self-care within my daily routines. Stress, anxiety, and depression can all impact our bodies and lead to flares. I would encourage those newly diagnosed to find ways to simply just be good to your mind and body. Find something you enjoy doing and work that into your treatment plan. Whether it’s journaling, exercising, or a favorite hobby, it all contributes to you doing what you need to do to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.  

You’re going to be okay

I want to say to you that you’re going to be okay. Knowing that you’re not alone, and that you can be an active participant in your treatment plan, can help you know this truth. Will there be times you don’t feel like it’s going to be okay? YES! That’s normal, and I’ve had to remind myself of this many times. The road can be winding at times, and there will be highs and lows, but you will make it through. Lean into your community, ask questions, and create the space to take care of yourself. It can truly make the difference as you learn to navigate this road of living with psoriatic disease. 

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.