Sheila Warner, a 30-year-old certified nursing assistant in Bangor, Maine, says she was teased as a teenager about her psoriasis and still gets looks and questions like, “Is it contagious?” as an adult. “It’s hard to love yourself with so much negative attention on your skin,” she says.
Although these experiences can feel isolating, Sheila is far from alone. Symptoms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis often bring with them stress and dips in self-esteem and body image. Flare-ups, chronic pain, and mobility changes can also make it harder to show up for favorite activities that serve as a source of strength, personal identity, and social connection. As a result, it’s not uncommon to struggle with a vicious cycle of worsening symptoms that spin off stress, anxiety, and depression.
It’s normal and okay to feel deflated or frustrated with life-disrupting symptoms from time to time. But shifting your mindset and finding new ways to build yourself up can also be deeply empowering. Here are some strategies people living with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis use to increase their self-confidence and feel good in their own skin.