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The Man Who Did Not Run

When I first met my husband, I was 80% covered in psoriasis and an emotional wreck.  I was having one of the worst flares of my life; covered from head to toe and flakes falling out with every step I take. I was always praying that I would meet someone who would not judge me by my skin, but see the inside first. Of course, in the real world, people are judged by outer appearance. I knew this was true, I had been judged my whole life about what I looked like. I had been told in the past that my skin looks like alligator skin.

People would always put a damper on whatever spirit and any confidence that I had left. They just didn’t understand that the tongue can be sharp as a knife. I would always cover up from head to toe and try to hide my true feelings. It could be 100 degrees outside and I would have on long pants and long shirts. I would have to wear tight underclothing so that flakes wouldn’t fall everywhere. I would go out at night so people wouldn’t notice my skin.

My knight in shining armor

Twenty years ago, when I met my husband, he had never heard of psoriasis. I told him my psoriasis never went away, there was no cure and that I had these patches of scales all over me. I told him all of this on our first date. He didn’t run. He actually saw what was in my heart and not what I looked like on the outside. I knew then that I had met my knight in shining armor.

We both learned together how to be very knowledgeable about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I had been going to doctors my whole life and never saw improvement. My husband and I went to four dermatologists in one week to find the best one to treat my very angry disease. We also learned all we could about psoriasis. We started going to psoriasis meetings and started a support group.

Even as an adult, I still had people who would stare and make rude remarks about me. I was so shy and almost in a shell that I never said anything back. But as I got stronger and had a strong partner, my husband, who wanted to learn as much about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis as I did, I was able to speak up.

I was now able to respond to people who stared and made hurtful remarks. I learned that educating others about the disease can reduce the stigma. When people know what it is and that you’re not contagious, they not afraid to touch you or be around you. People are afraid of what they don’t know.

Not covering up

My husband has told me from day one, stop covering up. Then one day with my husband’s help, I decided that I wasn’t going to cover up anymore. It was a very scary day for me, but I haven’t looked back since. When I stopped hiding, I believe my stress level went down, which probably help my condition since stress makes it worse.

Now every time someone stares or says something to me, I’m able to give an intelligent response as to why I look the way I do. People have been stigmatized since the beginning of time. It’s time that we – people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – speak up and be heard.

I want to educate, so that can others with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can gain knowledge and enjoy their lives. Let’s stop the stigma now.

Over the years I have been an active advocate for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, speaking up and out about this disease.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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