1. Understanding your disease is the first step on your journey
I’ve learned from meeting many people with chronic disease that every person faces his or her own unique set of challenges. Maybe you keep hearing the name of your disease but still don’t fully understand it. Maybe you’re not sure why there are times when symptoms flare up and times when they’re quiet. Your disease might feel like a beast, but understanding how it works can make it easier to handle. Though it appears on the surface, conditions like psoriasis are caused by activity underneath the skin – for example, the immune system may be creating too much inflammation.
When I explain psoriasis to someone who has it, I use a relatable example. Like a boiling pot on the stove, you must work to control the immune system because if it stays on high the whole time, you will ruin your food. When the flame gets turned down, you are more likely to have that perfect blending of flavors. Medicine can sometimes act as the control to turn down this flame. Often when I discuss this with someone, I can see their eyes light up and they begin to piece together their own experiences with a new perspective.
2. Look for guidance and discover the strength you have within
Whether you’re a recent high school graduate who has to learn to manage all of the aspects of your care on your own for the first time, or you’re a parent who has to balance taking care of yourself when others depend on you, remember you have the strength to gain control of your health. You may just need a little guidance to get there. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask someone to point you in the right direction.