Woman with psoriatic arthritis holding up her mobility aid and singing

Tired of Defending My PsA Diagnosis

I am tired of defending my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis. So tired of it that sometimes, instead of explaining my chronic illness, I feel like breaking out into song.

The song that always comes to mind is "This is Me" from The Greatest Showman.

A song that fills me with pride

This song, like most of the soundtrack, speaks to me on so many levels. It speaks of my brokenness, but instead of bringing me down lower, it empowers and strengthens me to keep going no matter what others think.

One stanza after another fills me with pride for not giving up when life gets tough and painful.

"I am not a stranger to the dark. Hideaway, they say. 'Cause we don't want your broken parts. I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars. Runaway, they say. No one will love you as you are."

Being driven into isolation

Friends and family say they mean well when they say “Call us when you feel better.” Maybe they really just want us to feel better and don’t want to feel like they are adding to our problems. But it is those words that drive us into isolation because they are usually interpreted as “I don’t want to spend time with you if you are not able to keep up or are covered with spots.”

"When the sharpest words wanna cut me down. I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown 'em out. I am brave, I am bruised. I am who I'm meant to be, this is me. Look out 'cause here I come. And I'm marching on to the beat I drum. I'm not scared to be seen. I make no apologies, this is me."

PsA is a part of me.

I make no apologies for needing a mobility aid or having to do things differently. I am brave, I am bruised, but this is me! Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic illness. Meaning that there is no cure! It is a part of me and will be until the day I die. Living like it isn’t would be a lie.

"Another round of bullets hits my skin. Well, fire away 'cause today, I won't let the shame sink in. We are bursting through the barricades and reaching for the sun (we are warriors). Yeah, that's what we've become (yeah, that's what we've become). I won't let them break me down to dust. I know that there's a place for us. For we are glorious."

I am no longer ashamed.

I was taught to be ashamed of my rash and limitations. When instead people should be applauded for learning how to live well with them. Hide my skin they say, it will only gross people out. I would rather show the world what I fight! My power wheelchair does not weaken my warrior status, in fact, it strengthens it! As for my psoriasis-covered arms, they do not mean that I am failing in the fight, they are just part of who I am. You don’t have to like it, but you should get used to it if you want to be with me.

I am brave. Every morning I remind myself that I am brave enough to face whatever life or psoriatic arthritis decides to throw my way. I am bruised. Psoriatic arthritis hurts both physically and emotionally. People think they are sneaky, but I see their looks and hear their whispers.

"I am brave, I am bruised. I am who I'm meant to be, this is me."

This is PsA and this is me!

Do you realize how brave and beautiful you are? I sure hope you do, because you are! Whether you are covered head to toe with psoriasis or have to use a different mobility aid each day, you are brave, you are beautiful, and you are who you are meant to be!

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