Stress has a way of making chronic illness worse, and when you toss in stuttering, the effects can feel shattering. Ashish shares his very personal story of living with psoriasis and how he’s learning to take charge of his health holistically. He blogs at http://www.psoriasisselfmanagement.com.
I first got psoriasis in Aug 2005, at the age of 21. It was a heavy breakout of lesions on my scalp and back. After some failed attempts to treat them at home with general home remedies, my father took me to a dermatologist who told us that it is psoriasis- it has no cure and he prescribed me a bunch of topical solutions, an immunosuppressant and a multivitamin supplement. His exact words were- apply these topicals and take these pills for a few weeks and the psoriasis symptoms would subside. Whenever they appear again, you have to repeat the diagnosis.
Today, after so many years, I heartily appreciate the honesty of that guy. But, on that day, it was a heartbreak for me as well as my father. A young, tall, decent looking guy at the peak of his youth developed a skin problem which has no cure. Well, my elder brother runs a chemist shop. So, he enquired about psoriasis from other sources to confirm that the modern medical science is yet to find the exact cause and subsequently, the cure for psoriasis.
The psoriasis lesions rapidly cover me from head to toe- scalp, neck, inside the ears, eyebrows, between the eyebrows, forehead, nose, chin, cheeks, back, knees, elbows, chest, limbs- everything was occupied with plaque psoriasis. Everyday in the morning, I would see broken lesions and hairs on my pillow- the empty spaces in my scalp were so easy to notice.
I tried everything from pills and topicals to Ayurveda and Homeopath- nothing provided the long term relief.
After completing my engineering in 2007, I got a job and remained with the same company till 2013 for two reasons- one, I stutter so I was not confident enough to make a job change and second, I was so much occupied with my skin struggle. Though I was not enjoying that job, but, I continued anyways.
Having psoriasis and stuttering together was just a double trouble for me. Psoriasis used to shatter my confidence and when you are low in confidence, you are bound to stutter more. So, it was a vicious cycle and I was trapped in it with no way out.
There is a saying- every person has a breaking point. For me, that came in Dec 2013 when I decided to quit the job, take a break and sort out my personal issues. I quit in Dec 2013 and decided to invest all my energy and efforts for the next months to improve my speech as well as my skin.
With all the lessons that I had learnt till now, I decided to empower myself with the right knowledge about psoriasis. I read books and various resources over the Internet. I joined various discussion forums and came to know that a lot of psoriatic people are managing their conditions well by making changes in their diet and lifestyle. Similarly, a lot of people improved by tackling the stress levels in their lives.
Gradually, I developed a strategy for myself and of course, I improved it with time.
I devised an elimination diet for me, making sure that I don’t starve myself and I do include all the necessary nutrients. I learnt about dietary supplements and herbs. I practiced and self- experienced the benefits of yoga. I understood the concept of “acceptance”- the unconditional acceptance of self. For me, acceptance doesn’t mean to quit or to give up. It simply means accepting the present day situation wholeheartedly and getting out of the “shame” or “guilt” associated with psoriasis. Acceptance helps you to get rid of the unwanted stuffs- denial, shame, guilt, hiding tendency. Trust me, it would reduce the stress level tremendously.
For me, psoriasis management needs a holistic approach- you have to work on your body-mind as a whole. Your diet, lifestyle, level of stress and anxiety- everything matters.
Psoriasis cannot be cured, but, can be managed to the extent that it doesn’t drive your life anymore. I started my journey almost 3 years back and have improved significantly. But, it doesn’t mean that I don’t experience those occasional flare ups anymore. I do, but now I have learnt my way of handling them more wisely.
Take charge of your life; accept yourself wholeheartedly, including psoriasis, and make sincere efforts for improvement. There is nothing to be ashamed of because it’s not your fault that your immune system attacks your own body instead of protecting it.
Let us drop the attitude of hiding it or denying it anymore. Instead, invest all your energy and efforts to bring back the natural balance in your life.
Thank you, Ashish, for sharing your inspiring story!
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