All In My Mind

16 Apr 2013

One of the strangest and perhaps most irritating aspects of psoriasis is the fact that it is so closely linked to how we are feeling.

I’ve started a new job and the whole process of interviews, resignation and starting with a new company is stressful. This isn’t bad stress it’s a very normal part of life that everyone faces at some point (or many times) in their life. It’s actually a positive experience that sees my career advancing. However, I predicted that the process would make my psoriasis flare up and like clockwork, on my time off in between jobs, I got an infuriating itch on my upper arm.

That evening I got ready for bed and saw a small, red, angry looking splodge exactly where the itching had been. It glared at me and I imagined it whispering in a creepy, Gollum-like voice “see, you just can’t handle stress can you? And I’m only going to get bigger now.”
That same week I used a different shampoo from my normal one and my scalp started to feel tight and uncomfortable and I could feel little clumps of psoriasis at the bottom of the back of my head. Then the itchiness spread to my ears, both inside and the part outside where they connect to your head, more and more little itchy patches.

But oh the pleasure of scratching!

I have always refused to have really short nails so there is an unrivalled pleasure in sitting, absorbed in a book or a computer screen, just scratching. Scratching my head, my arms, my ears, my back. I understand that to people without psoriasis or other itchy skin conditions this probably sounds revolting. But the fact of matters is, for the time you are scratching there is a temporary release from that unrelenting background sense of itchiness.

But back to my main point of this post, which continues the theme of many of my posts. Stress. All the advice pages I have read about psoriasis and managing flare ups have advised that you avoid stress. Well I’m sorry, but I can’t fulfil my ambitions without experiencing stressful situations and I don’t see why this genetic condition should stop me.

I’ve been thinking recently that perhaps, just maybe, if I could do something to address my stress and ease my mind on a regular basis then perhaps it might help. Now, I have a mind that refuses to switch off – I often spend my time when I should be sleeping plotting elaborate plans for my future – so I am in search of something to calm my thoughts and take the stress out of my mind.

If I find something I’ll let you know. My emollient cream and soap-free showergel will be coming with me too, but maybe I can find that extra thing to stop me keeping it all in my mind.



Jennifer White is a public affairs consultant who specialises in health at Lexington Communications. She has had psoriasis her whole life and is keen to share her experiences with others in the hope it might help them feel better about the condition. She regularly tweets on health policy and can be followed @JOCWhite.

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