See Psoriasis : Look Deeper

I have just written a postcard to my psoriasis.It may seem like an odd thing to do: I’m not sure if anyone else pens missives to their illnesses. I’m never noticed friends texting their eczema or sending an email to their piles, but maybe they should. This whole “Wish You Weren’t Here” initiative is part of a drive by the Psoriasis Association – in conjunction with the Mental Health Foundation –

Yes, he may look cool, but dressing this way will not help your condition one bit.

called See Psoriasis: Look Deeper.  The plan is to raise awareness about the psychological impact of the disease. (I orginally mistyped it as See Psoriasis: Look Depper, which is an altogether different campaign which involves dressing like an idiosyncratic Hollywood actor prone to eccentric performances. It has not been a success).

Anthropomorphising one’s illness isn’t as cheesy as it sounds when it comes to psoriasis, because one often relates to it as one would a person: I get angry with it, I resent it, I sometimes get embarrassed to be seen with it in public. It is also a very personal disease – bespoke even. It is uniquely tailored to each individual: therefore no-one quite understands it – or relates to it – in the way the sufferer does. It is a character in one’s life: the sense of resigned dread one feels when sensing a new outbreak is identical to the one experienced when told that some tedious relatives are coming for Christmas. Having psoriasis is also like being in an abusive relationship, because although I hate suffering from it, part of me is drawn to the victim-fetish that accompanies it. I know that is wrong and unhealthy, but I can’t deny that it is there. And so understanding this complex psychology is important.

So I’ve written my post card. I don’t think I’ve done an especially good job of it to be honest, but it’s the act of writing it that is the point. It’s a public display of one’s feelings about something that people perhaps don’t understand. The tendency is to bottle up one’s emotions, because no-one likes making a fuss (and it’s not like it’s life threatening is it?). Perversely, this refusal to express oneself helps to nurture the thing, because its propagation is undoubtedly linked to one’s mental state. There’s also an option – on the postcard – to draw an image representing what you feel about the disease, but that has flummoxed me. I’m depressingly literal, clearly, and abstract imagery is not my bag. Never mind – the drawing thing is good for people who aren’t used to articulating their thoughts and feelings (which as a stand-up is what I laughably call my job).

The really exciting thing for me personally about See Psoriasis: Look Deeper is that I have been invited to attend the launch at the Houses Of Parliament on October 17th, and will be notching up some media appearances to coincide with it. If anyone reading has an outlet that they think might be interested in giving this initiative some profile, please to leave some details in the comments section and I’ll get back to you. The launch will be a chance for health professionals and MPs to focus on the needs of people living with psoriasis, and as such should be welcome relief to the millions who are affected by this ailment.

For more about The Psoriasis Association, go here.

For  more about the See Psoriasis: Look Deeper campaign, go here.

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