Psoriatic Arthritis and Self-Esteem
Last updated: September 2022
From a mental health perspective, there comes a need to accept certain aspects of psoriatic arthritis if you want to just get by day-to-day. Having a chronic illness, fundamentally changes who you are.
I believe the extent to which this occurs varies depending not only on how much damage psoriatic arthritis has done but also how long you’ve spent managing the various symptoms and treatment side effects.
The mirror and my body doesn't lie with psoriatic arthritis
I’m not going to lie, psoriatic arthritis has wrecked my self-esteem. Totally wrecked. And in some respects, I suppose I’ve “allowed” it to. However, my reality is that especially during a flare, I can go days wearing the same pajamas.
Which, let’s be honest here, doesn’t do much for my self-esteem once I come out of the PsA fog and take a good look in the mirror. One thing I truly believe to be a side effect of the combination of psoriatic arthritis itself and our medications is that it feels like we age faster.
Obviously, this has never scientifically been proven and just my experience but the mirror and my body doesn't lie.
It still matters to me
If you are blessed with the ability to simply not care about what others might think of you, suffice to say, I’m totally jealous. While I don’t spend too much time worrying about what others think, it still matters to me. Perhaps I’m vain, but I enjoy it when I think I look good. I enjoy taking a little extra time and energy with my hair, makeup, and outfit choices.
Therein lies the problem my friends, extra time and energy. The budget for energy is tight. Even if you don’t include the dexterity it takes to apply eyeliner or grip strength to hold a hairdryer.
By the time I expend the necessary energy to feel like I “look good,” I just don’t have the energy to care anymore. It functions like a never-ending cycle.
Simple things to do to boost your self-esteem
Here is the important part to remember though. Sometimes, a few simple things can go a long way to help boost your self-esteem. Write down a few of the things that make you feel good about yourself, then rate them on a scale for the amount of energy and effort it takes to do it.
For example, I really enjoy actually doing my makeup. I also really enjoy treating my skin, like with a mask or good moisturizer. When I rate the activities that make me feel good about myself I can clearly see that it takes much more energy and skill to do my makeup than it takes for me to do a simple skincare mask or special moisturizer.
You can even include some of your favorite physical activities in this- walking, gentle yoga, whatever makes you feel good about yourself. Then
You can make a difference in the way you feel
Each day, and I mean this, every single day, pick one thing to do that matches your energy level that makes you feel good about yourself.
Doing this has made such a difference, not only in my self-esteem but also in how much I believe psoriatic arthritis ages me. Yes, PsA will always play a daily role in my life, but now I can see much easier ways to put myself first, even on the difficult days.
Has PsA changed how you think about sex and intimacy?
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