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Feeling Confident With Psoriasis: Angela’s Story
- By Diana Rodriguez
- Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD
Angela Rincon used to ditch skirts for long pants, avoid the beach, and be shy around friends and partners because of her psoriasis. Learn how she overcame this.
If you check out Angela Rincon’s Facebook page, Yogini Warrior Yoga , you’ll see photos of the 46-year-old yoga instructor striking a pose and baring her muscles on the beach near her home in Miami. But 10 years ago, Rincon wouldn’t have ventured out in shorts, much less a bikini.
At that time, she’d just been diagnosed with psoriasis. Skin lesions covered her legs and crept up her neck, and she struggled with self-esteem .
“I didn’t know how to deal with it — I would cry a lot, and I was very self-conscious with my boyfriend,” Rincon says. “I stopped wearing shorts and skirts for years.” She avoided the beach simply because she didn’t want to be asked what was wrong with her skin. “My life was very limited because I was so self-conscious and afraid to show myself,” she says. Rincon had always been health conscious and couldn’t figure out how she’d developed psoriasis. Sure that her family wouldn’t understand, she hid it from them.
Then one day she started taking yoga classes and went through an intense three-month certification course to become a yoga instructor. Her body and mind were pushed to the limit, but she persevered and became physically and emotionally stronger than she ever imagined. In time, she was no longer ashamed of her body.
How Psoriasis Can Affect Self-Esteem
Psoriasis may be most evident on the skin, but it’s an autoimmune disease that can increase the risk for many health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. The National Psoriasis Foundation notes that people with psoriasis are at double the risk for depression, compared with the general population, both because of the physical and the emotional impact of psoriasis.
“It’s common for psoriasis to affect self-esteem,” says Theresa Devere, MD, a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente in Honolulu. “People with psoriasis often feel ashamed, embarrassed, and unattractive due to their skin condition.” She says that this can often lead to problems with intimacy and relationships with others.
Teaching Herself to Feel Confident With Psoriasis
Rincon credits yoga as a driving force behind her improved self-confidence and self-acceptance, but she says she took many other steps to overcome her issues with psoriasis. She educated herself about the disease, learned what affects her skin, from stress to diet, which in turn helped boost her confidence and helped her feel more in control. Today, when someone asks about her skin, she’s open about her psoriasis.
“I talk about it a lot because I want to put it out there,” Rincon says. “It’s so freeing to talk about it rather than keep it inside. It’s therapeutic.”
Experts agree that education and openness about psoriasis are the keys to self-acceptance. “The more you understand about your condition, the more comfortable and confident you will become,” says Marla Zeiderman, PsyD, a behavioral medicine specialist at Kaiser Permanente Colorado in Aurora.
“Increased self-confidence will help you avoid approaching situations with feelings of shame and can aid you in becoming an advocate through educating others,” she says. Rincon also works hard to improve awareness about psoriasis and help others with the condition who may be struggling to be comfortable in their own skin.
To boost self-confidence and learn to accept yourself with psoriasis, Docteur
Letting Go and Loving Yourself With Psoriasis
Rincon has come a long way in accepting her body with psoriasis, and it didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a long emotional journey, but a rewarding one. “I had to look deep inside to find a way to love myself with psoriasis” she says. “And for that, I had to let go of any ideas I had of how I should be or what my body should look like.”
Her best advice to others with psoriasis is to love yourself. “We’re often compassionate with others, but tend to forget about ourselves,” Rincon says. “By that, I don’t mean feel sorry for yourself. I mean love and take care of your body, your soul, and your mind.”
Last Updated: 10/27/2014
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