What I Hide with Psoriatic Arthritis

You may have seen that commercial with the lady that holds up the fake smiling face for pictures while her real face appears sad and distraught. She looks so alone in her pain. Clearly, she doesn’t want others to know that she struggles. So she holds up her fake smiling face for others to see, hiding what is really going on behind a smiling mask.

We all have parts that we hide

We all have parts of ourselves that we hide from others. Those parts that are especially painful or ones that maybe we aren’t very proud of. And that’s okay. It’s okay to reserve parts of ourselves for only the most private of moments and emotions. But what’s more important is what impact this has on us. Keeping everything inside leads to feelings of loneliness and depression.

What I hide

Why do we feel the need to hide our most literal and metaphorical pain? What makes experiencing pain feel like it is so private that we need to hide it from others? Everyone with psoriatic arthritis experiences it, on so many levels yet we dance around the topic and often speak in generic terms. We hide it from others out of fear that they won’t understand. Or worry that we will be judged as weak, dependent, or worse, a fraud.

Support and understanding

We go through life day-to-day without the support and understanding that is so crucial to our mental and emotional health. We don’t share our experiences and consequently we feel alone and separate from the very people we need the strength and encouragement from. Everyone has a story to tell, even if it is painful, so why don’t we share it?

What I hide

Sometimes we don’t share because it feels as if there is no way anyone can possibly understand. Or worse, we don’t want people to understand because that would mean they experience it too. We hide our pain, fears, and frustrations. We don’t celebrate the small daily wins like opening a jar or taking a walk. Why? All anyone wants, whether they have PsA or not, is to feel like someone “gets” them. No one wants to feel like they are all alone on an island, left to fend for themselves.

Take the time to connect

We are at a point in our history where we have instant access to almost any type of person, anywhere in the world. We are able to connect with others like us and share our experiences like never before. We can build a community of support and understanding made up of those who actually “get” what it is like to live with the daily challenges and successes of psoriatic arthritis. Yet, we don’t. We lurk somewhere in the background, reluctant to reveal pieces of our world to anyone else. But, what if?

What if someone needs to hear your story today?

What if someone is there, waiting to just listen?

What if there is someone out there who has been where you are?

Sure, we may not have all of the answers. I can’t fix your pain. I can’t make it easier to drag your aching joints out of bed in the morning. While I’d love to be your cheerleader, you and I both know that will only get you so far. But I can understand. I can listen. I can be here for you to share those parts that you hide from everyone else. Why? Because I hide them too.

Take some time today and reach out. Share your story with someone. Listen to theirs. You won’t regret it.

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