Sometimes it may feel easier to hide difficult feelings, but consider opening up about how you feel about yourself, both physically and mentally. You may find a support group local to you through EUROPSO, the European patient psoriatic disease website.
There may be times when you need help from others, e.g. if a flare-up leaves you feeling too tired to do as many things as usual, so you may need support from friends or family.
If you’re in a relationship and in the middle of a flare-up, sex may be the last thing on your mind. Talk to your partner and find other ways of being romantic, like watching a film or cooking dinner together, or if you want to be intimate, do what you need to make yourself comfortable. Whether that is setting a date for sex, taking pain medication in advance, not taking on too much during the day, or building a sense of desire.
If your loved one withdraws from you, avoids socialising or cancels plans, try to understand that they’re probably not rejecting you and is likely to be a result of how they feel about themselves. This can be frustrating, but flare-ups could leave them feeling very uncomfortable and tired. Be patient and give them space if they need it, or suggest an alternative plan.
It can be tempting to try and ‘cheer up’ someone who is feeling depressed or anxious about their PsA, but it may have the opposite effect. PsA can have an impact on mental health, and stress can trigger psoriatic arthritis symptoms. Read about PsA and mental health, and discover stress-busting tips. It’s also a good idea to encourage your loved one to talk about their feelings with their doctor, in case they need additional support.
Psoriatic arthritis can take a toll on the body and there may be times where your loved one needs your support. This could be as simple as helping with household chores during a flare-up. It might be useful to visit a patient support website to connect with other people with PsA and find out how they cope with the condition.
For some people, doctors’ appointments can be daunting so think about offering to support your loved one with this, or even going with. Discover tips to help your loved one make their consultations work for them, including those specific to virtual appointments via a phone or computer.
While you’re not legally obliged to tell anyone at work about your condition, you might prefer to share some information with your manager or human resources team if you feel it could affect your work at some point. Sharing some details could help your colleagues understand your needs and make adjustments to make your life at work a little easier.
Stress can make PsA worse for some, so it’s important to take self-care seriously and plan ways to switch off and relax during stressful work periods. ‘Self-care’ means different things to different people, but it could include meditation, reading a book, listening to podcasts or taking a walk.
It’s important to let your healthcare professional know how you’re really feeling to ensure you’re on the right treatment for you, so that your PsA doesn’t get in the way of you living your life exactly as you choose. Don’t be afraid to explain exactly what support you need and what you’re hoping for from your treatment, so that you can discuss what’s possible and what options are available to you. It may help to make notes on this before your appointment, so you have something to refer to. Take a look at our tips to help you get the most from consultations by having a productive conversation during your next appointment.
Talking about your PsA with others may be daunting, but it could make you feel free and boost your confidence. It can also help you get the support you need. The following may be helpful to start that conversation: