Have you ever had someone you love put you down, make you cry and believe that you weren’t good enough? Have they caused you to be insecure, doubt yourself, or hinder you from things you want to do most? What would you do to escape the poison of that person? I was a victim of emotional abuse, however, the person causing the pain in my life was none other than me. When we think of abuse, we often imagine being mistreated by another person. However, sometimes it’s yourself that is your biggest enemy.
I was diagnosed with severe psoriasis at the age of seven. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to produce unnecessary skin cells resulting in red skin with thick, itchy, and flaky patches. While psoriasis is a difficult disease to manage, it was also the source of my depression and low self-esteem.
I remember once in the 5th grade when I was taking swimming classes, my classmates questioned me about the flaky scales that covered 90% of my body. I lied, telling them that the woes on my skin were simply chicken pox scars. At 10 years old I could hardly comprehend psoriasis. I knew it obviously had something to do with my skin, but the autoimmune part was hard to understand. I figured my classmates would be able to relate more to the idea of chicken pox scars since most of us had encountered them at that age. That was the first stage of my mental abuse, lying to cover up my disease. I lied to prevent further explanation, concern or judgment from other people. I lied to myself.
As I hit puberty, I began to noticed the stares and comments from those around me. I became ashamed of my psoriasis and worked hard to cover and prevent others from knowing I was dealing with this disease. I would tell myself things like, “People won’t accept you. Your skin is ugly. You aren’t as pretty as the rest of the girls. Nobody is going to want to date you with this stuff on your skin.” I was mentally abusive to myself. As I came to believe these things, I stopped myself from doing the activities I most enjoyed. I refused to go swimming because that meant wearing a swimsuit. I refused to play sports because that would mean wearing a revealing uniform. I refused to try modeling because I told myself I wouldn’t be accepted. I carried this imagine into adulthood, finding various ways to cope and appear normal to the outside world. I had ups and downs with myself…