Sometimes we talk to someone who shifts our entire perspective. Has this ever happened to you?

Interviewing the incredible guests we have had so far has helped me grow so much, and really lean into living a better quality of life with psoriasis. Listening back to this episode though, I couldn’t help but notice how much of what Reena said, really struck a cord with me. I wrote down 10 quotes….its that good!

The Psoriasis Closet

Have you heard of the psoriasis closet? Me either, until today. Even though I lived in it for my entire Teens and most of my twenties. How about you? Are YOU is the psoriasis closet?

Psoriasis is a multi-dimensional disease. I used to underplay my disease almost all of the time. ‘Its just psoriasis’ or ‘it’s not that bad‘. Sometimes I meant it- but a lot of the time I was either in denial or just flat out lying.

But it is that bad and it can be awfully frustrating. Its cyclical and unpredicatabel and when I flare it turns my life upside down.

I had the worst flare of my life in March 2014. I couldn’t sleep. The creams didn’t work on my new outbreak of gutatte psoriasis and the common plaque psoriasis was everywhere. My G.P have me tablets to help me cope while I waited for my Dermatology appointment and they gave me insomnia- so I literally iteched almost every inute of the day. Some days i had to call in sick to work. Some days i went into work and refused to leave when they told me to go hoe becasue i coudlnt contemplate being at home and not distracted.

No one talks about the gap in-between. The wait for the dermatologist when you are desperate.

Stop Hiding

I found respite on community forums at 2am. I felt i had found my people, i could be honest about how i was feeling, about how i was struggling, without the fear of being judged. Without the shame of feeling I was failing.

Listening to Reena talk about her experience missing a friends ebgagametn party really resonated with me. She had achieved something I havent mastered yet (but am now working on).

She has mastered being open and honest. She has mastered the art of openess– of sharing her struggles, and do you know what? She has found that she is more connected as a result. No shame. No loneliness. She has found acceptance.

As she stood crying on the train platform, accepting that she couldn’t face the party with her skin in its current condition, she turned and went home. Her friends knew where she was with her skin, so there’s no animosity there. I would have gone to the party and ended up hiding from people in the toilets. That is not a good healing strategy- I have so much admitration for Reena to be able to listen to what her body is telling her, and to act on it. That is true self awareness and true self care.

Coping with itching

  • currently updating this page 🙂

Episode Highlights

  • My psoriasis story & the concept of living undercover.
  • Coming out of the ‘skin closet’
  • The challenges in dealing with psoriasis
  • Dealing with people who refuse to touch us (context: massage)
  • Forgiving yourself
  • Playing down the impact of psoriasis (a big one for me! You too?)
  • Itch management strategies:
    • Mindfulness/ awareness based strategies
    • Systemic/inside-out approaches
    • Topical Techniques

(If you want more on mindfulness, then in the next episode with Clinical Psychologist Dr. Andrew Thompson we talk about scientifically proven aspects that have been tested in people with skin disease  like us 🙂 )

About Reena Ruparelia (@psoriasis_thoughts)

Reena is a yogi, free spirit and all around happy human. Reena has also been living with psoriasis for the past 20 years. She runs an online Instagram account (@psoriasis_thoughts) where she raises awareness about the condition and documents the ups and downs of living with it. Reena hopes to empower others who are struggling with their skin to love and accept themselves as they are.

You can find her on Instagram and check out her work on LinkedIn

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