When talking to psoriasis patients you will often hear comments such as “I hate how everyone stares” or “I’m worried what people think when they see me”. This is sometimes because it does happen and sometimes because it is in our heads. The world seems to focus on how we look, what we’re wearing, are we fashionable, good-looking? Fortunately I have it all, joking. I have been through the same worries, experienced the same anxiety when I’m particularly flaky or even when I’m fairly clear. What psoriasis patients need, I think, is for other people to be more Bob.
What do I mean by be more Bob? And “Who is Bob?” you may ask. Bob is my cat. Meet Bob.
Bob doesn’t care what I wear or how my skin looks. Bob just accepts me for who I am, flakes and all. He is happy just to live with us and of course to be fed. He is that blind to psoriasis that he will scratch me whether my skin is bad or not. It doesn’t mean anything to him. This is what I wish people were like. Well, obviously I am not getting up early in the morning to give everyone their breakfast and to let them in and out of the house when they want. I think you get the drift though. It would be the same with any pet, the love they give is unconditional. You could grow a second head and the most you may get from Bob is “oooo that looks interesting, I’ll give it a sniff”. Yes, he talks, did I not mention that?
I have had moments with Bob where I have wanted to throttle him, when he has scratched my leg (probably my fault of course) and the skin breaks easy. Most of the time though I just want to give him a big hug, although he’d probably scratch my eyes out for that as well. As you would expect from a cat, it has to be on his terms.
There are some occasions though when I think maybe he is aware of my skin. Like him falling asleep next to me and his paw is on my psoriasis covered hand. Or falling asleep myself and he cuddles up to rest against my flaky skinned back. Then this morning when I was about to put my treatment on, he walked up to me, looked at my legs and gently pressed his nose against a couple of the patches. I wonder how many of us could honestly say that if they saw someone with dry flaking skin that they would not be bothered about giving that person a hug or even just standing close to them.
So next time you see someone who doesn’t conform to the supposed level of beauty that the media impresses upon us or isn’t wearing the right clothes, whether they have psoriasis or not, try being more Bob. No you don’t have to press your nose against them.