August is the psoriasis awareness month. I have been wanting to share my experience with psoriasis for the past 18 months but the psychological effects of psoriasis are such that I could not just gather the courage to pen down the pain my little girl has been going through all this time.
According to the World Psoriasis Day consortium, 125 million people worldwide—2 to 3 per cent of the total population have psoriasis. Approximately 14.8% to one-third of all psoriasis cases occur by the age of 15. Symptoms often start between ages 15 and 25 but can start at any age. Men, women, and children of all skin colours can get psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a skin condition resulting in skin cells built up, red rashes, dry and itchy patches in any part of the body. In this condition, skin cells generate rapidly and need immediate intervention, no home remedy works here, believe me, I have tried and tested all.
My seven-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Psoriasis amid the complete lockdown in April 2020, when the Novel Corona Virus first wave hit worldwide. We could not take her to the doctor and moreover we could not understand what is happening to her. She had developed red patches in her foot and hands.
Excessive itching and pain all over the affected areas made her way to irritated. We started with home remedies but it hardly helped. I consulted a few doctors online, but they were not seeing any patients until the lockdown is lifted. It was in June 2020, when the unlock began and, I immediately took an appointment and rushed to a skin specialist.
That was the first time, I took her outside since the COVID hit our lives, double masks, gloves, sanitisers made her feel claustrophobic trapped in the situation. She threw up, I had to console her and when we went to the doctor, the diagnosis came as Psoriasis.
Psoriasis is said to be a common skin disease that lasts for years and finding the right doctor and the right cure was the most tedious and nerve-wracking problem as always. Besides, the psychological effects of psoriasis are such that my child began to feel frustrated, and anxious because of it.
3 Psychological Effects of Psoriasis in Children
There were hardly any symptoms, besides sudden itching and skin scaling. The reason is still not clear, as psoriasis is said to be directly linked with your immunity system, or it could be hereditary. But none in our families ever had such skin conditions. I went to at least 4 different doctors and none helped, the fourth one even put her on steroids for a week to control the rapid skin cell generation, she could barely walk as her foot was brutally affected.
I am not sharing the photos purposely, for two reasons, first, it makes me cry and might scare you as well. I finally found a homoeopathic treatment, it has been 6 months now, her condition is stable, although not completely cured, too sensitive, too allergic, we have to take care a lot. But things are in control. Here are 3 major psychological effects of psoriasis, which we personally went through:
1.) Shame and Embarrassment
My daughter began to feel a sense of shame when she was among other people, she would feel what others will feel seeing her hands and foot. She was itchy all the time and had to wash her hands often, which made her agitated.
She felt embarrassed when someone asked her if this is a contagious infection sort of disease, she would come running to me to help her explain what exactly it is.
Since the treatment is a lengthy process, it is way too difficult to keep your child stay hopeful that things will be fine soon. Sometimes, she just bursts out in tears saying, “I cannot bear it anymore, it is too much now”.
3.) The Pain
The pain, itchiness, and discomfort, are taxing. It costs a lot of emotional health deterioration. We, adults, get all frustrated with a single wound, she was dealing with multiple cuts and skin peeling. How would it not affect a child’s mental health?
Overcoming the psychological effects of psoriasis
Children are not like us, I mean we might end up not moving or being too cautious but she would play, cycle, skate even when her foot cracks would bleed. I had to stop her and this corona anxiety in kids, online schooling, everything started taking a toll over her, she got real irritated and frustrated with her skin condition. She would cry and get angry. I allowed her to.
Honestly, it was not at all easy for me. Rather very tough to see her in constant discomfort. I have bought like end variety of shoes, socks that could make her feel comfortable, tried all the home remedies, tried allopathy, ayurvedic and now homoeopathy.
I would cry while applying the ointment to her foot which was a terrible sight to watch. But we overcame all this together, gradually. I did everything to make her feel comfortable, we would watch Marvel/Harry Potter movies, series so that she can sit in one place. Treatment started showing results and she started playing, dancing but we have to be very cautious as a slight change in weather, cold, dryness again aggravates it.
To conclude, I would admit it is terrible to see your child in pain but sometimes all we can do is allow them to be angry, irritated and frustrated about the situation because everything just kept adding on. This also resulted in a stronger bond between the two of us. She is much better now and since August is the month of psoriasis awareness, I thought of sharing my share of ups and downs, I had with psoriasis to spread the awareness.
Love and light
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.