Ways The Media Disrespects Psoriatic Arthritis
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what that means to me”. When it comes to having a respectable chronic illness, I drew the short straw! Not once, but four times! Each diagnosis has been disrespected by friends, family, strangers on the street, and even medical professionals.
Treatment commercials show patients diving off of cliffs, rock climbing, and dancing all night. Is it any wonder that our friends and family are dumbfounded about why we aren’t experiencing the same results? Even though the audio clearly says that the results are not typical and states a low percentage of relief, people don’t hear it. All they see is the name of the medication and what the patient is doing on screen.
A look at the portrayal of PsA
If commercials weren’t bad enough, celebrity interviews are even worse! Celebrities with psoriatic arthritis often share one part of their pain management plan. One said that meditation relieves their pain. Another suggested that one dietary change is all that they needed to function normally.
Why are some chronic illnesses treated with respect while others are scoffed at? Here are two ways that I believe the media has disrespected PsA and what needs to be done to give it the respect it deserves.
Do I believe that meditation can help? Sure, but as a part of a multifaceted pain management plan. Can a dietary change make a difference? Again, yes, but not entirely by itself.
The problem is that neither shares the whole story. With so many chronic pain sufferers are being denied pain medication, celebrities, bloggers, and social media influencers need to be honest. There is no magic pill, potion, food, etc., that will magically improve living with psoriatic arthritis. There are, however, many things a patient can mix and match to create a personal illness management plan that could significantly reduce pain.
The best way to combat the misconceptions that the media presents are to call it out! Reach out to the manufactures of the products misrepresenting life with this painful illness. Explain how their representation of your condition hurts our community and share your experience.
Lack of Compassion
Psoriatic arthritis treatment commercials are the worst! I blame pharmaceutical companies for the public perception that PsA is nothing more than a rash and joint pain. Why? Because those are the only symptoms that their commercials have a focus on. But as you and I know very well, psoriatic arthritis is so much more.
I understand that their marketers are targeting two of the most prominent symptoms. However, their lack of acknowledging fatigue, enthesitis, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, etc., gives the perception that there are no other symptoms. Instead of showing compassion while experiencing a flare where other symptoms are more prominent, people assume we have done something to cause it.
I have seen a few commercials for Multiple Sclerosis that have hit the compassion mark on the nose. Instead of showing what life could be like, the main focus of the commercial is to promote compassion for one or a few symptoms. And not just the most known symptoms! They even tackle brain fog! There are no false promises, only an invite to check out their medication, as it may improve living with those symptoms.
How do you feel about the media’s representation of psoriatic arthritis?
Have you ever applied for disability?