Coping with eczema and psoriasis
Psoriasis and eczema are not only a matter of skin. There is a lot going on behind the scenes: from being overly self-conscious to suffering from lowered self-esteem and depression. Many psychological issues seem to tag along with these conditions, making them stubbornly hard to deal with.
The good news is that they do not have to control you. You can regain your confidence and happiness, simply by making some adjustments to the way you perceive your condition and yourself.
Happiness, after all, isn't something that comes from some distant place, or as the result of some arbitrary future event or accomplishment.
It comes from within you.
It is an active choice that you can make when faced with the difficult circumstances of life. By being aware of the present moment and everything that unfolds from it, you can accept things the way they are without seeking to change them. This unconditional acceptance is always with you, at every waking moment.
You do not need to change. You ARE change. You are part of a complex and ongoing universal process, wherein everything has achieved a kind of perfection by the very fact of its uniqueness and interconnectedness. In one very important sense, there is not one thing out of place in the whole of existence. I have found that a deep appreciation of this interconnectedness and impermanence has brought me a lot of relief from worry and stresses in dealing with these conditions, as well as with everyday affairs.
So breathe. Breathe deep. Everything is in its right place. Lets take a look at some of the few coping strategies to help!
First thing first: Love yourself!
This may sound a bit misleading at first and I don’t mean that you should become selfish and inconsiderate of other people. This is a far more egoistic interpretation of the phrase. Instead, I suggest that you foster a deep and well-intentioned appreciation of yourself. This can be harder than it sounds, but is an incredibly significant tool in generating self-esteem and a positive self-image.
So often with psoriasis and eczema, a cyclical series of negative attitudes and impressions will crop up when people think about their condition. This is an unproductive process that often ends up causing harm to a person’s emotional well-being by unintentionally cultivating self-hatred and enmity.
The first important part of the process is recognising the cycle, and the second part involves breaking it.
Try to examine these thoughts and feelings if and when they arise. What are they really? In some ways, they are merely part of a story; a construct of your psyche.
One way of breaking this vicious cycle is by generating an if-then scenario. This is a hard and fast rule that you can adopt which bears tremendous positive influence: whenever you notice yourself getting caught up in negative thoughts about your psoriasis/eczema or self-image, override that thought with a positive intentional one.
For example, if you catch yourself thinking about being embarrassed by a social event where you were self-conscious about your skin, try immediately thinking about three positive personality traits that you exhibit regularly. Maybe you are generally compassionate, considerate of other people’s troubles, or perhaps you are very generous. Developing the habit of shifting the emphasis from negative conceptions to positive ones is difficult, but is immensely rewarding, as the shift eventually happens of its own accord.
Aim for positive thinking
Another useful strategy (which is related to the previous one in some ways) involves accentuating the positive outcomes and consequences of having a skin disease. You may be surprised that anything good could come out of such a nuisance, but I can assure you that dealing with such a condition often results in the development of a great deal of positive personality traits for many people.
If you suffer from eczema or psoriasis, you may likely be:
More Considerate: Dealing with frustrating and painful aspects of psoriasis or eczema can be a tremendous hardship, but it can also attune you to the adverse situations and suffering of others. I know that when I see someone who is visibly disfigured or impaired in some way, I am much more sensitive, considerate and accommodating of their needs. I think people who suffer from psoriasis and eczema in particular recognise deeply and from personal experiences that life must be hard for them, and often might do more to help alleviate that individuals suffering.
More Realistic: People who suffer from these skin conditions can be more apt to appreciate the difficulties and distresses of life in ways that most other people do not. This is a harsh realisation, but is one that marks a transition towards a more mature and practical outlook on life. Coming to terms with the fact that we live in a world which doesn’t always present you with the most favourable situations, and that you may in fact be confronted with obstacles and hardships you weren’t initially prepared to face is a rite of passage and paves the way for tremendous personal growth.
More Self-Aware: This may not seem like a positive characteristic at first glance, but it certainly can be. Dealing with a skin disorder adds a dimension of self-knowledge to the mix. It encourages a person to look at their lives in a different context, from a different angle. Speaking from personal experience, psoriasis has made me more in tune with my ambitions, goals and interests then I would have been if I didn’t have it.
Talk about it
Whether this happens with a friend, relative or a therapist, getting issues out in the open can help you re-evaluate your situation and provide additional comfort. Avoiding the subject out of embarrassment or fear will only extend the process of needlessly suffering alone. If there is anything I have learned from my personal experiences in dealing with psoriasis, it is that people are tolerant, accepting, and more than willing to help. You should reach out.