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P is Dimming Her Few Remaining Bright Moments
from Jenni

Your site is amazing and I've been reading it regularly over the past year whenever I've felt lonely or down about my skin.  But now not even FlakerHQ is helping me!

I'm 22 years old and totally at my wit’s end over my psoriasis, which has come and gone over the past 11 years. My scalp has always been the worst, making people think I must have hideous dandruff and meaning I've never been able to wear black tops as I flake all over them. (I once gave in and bought a black velvet jacket when I was 14, but my mum insisted on walking behind me to dust my shoulders off whenever we went out.) 

I've had a lot of sexual partners, around 30, which is far more than I should but I tend to feel so grateful that anybody wants to sleep with me that it would be rude to say no. I've never had a relationship, as I can't face exposing my body to anyone I actually like.  Earlier this year I actually began a relationship for the first time in my life with a guy I think is just amazing.

My psoriasis is mainly in my scalp and on my limbs but, with impeccable timing, now it has spread to my genital area. I told the guy I was seeing I don't want to see him anymore — though not the reason why — as I'm just too embarrassed to have sex.

I'm so utterly desperately unhappy. I know this site tries to look at the lighter side of things but I have nobody to talk to. In my brighter moments I can tell myself I have a great job and wonderful friends and can be happy — but the bright moments are getting fewer and fewer. I hate it so much. Is it normal for people with P to feel so depressed?  I've thought about counseling but don't want to sound stupid.  -Jenni

*****

Ed’s Response:  Your depression isn’t abnormal, Jenni, and no one, especially a professional, would think you were stupid to seek counseling. 

You have been living through what is undoubtedly the most difficult time in a life to have P — the years of sexual awakening, that expanse of time when hormones and culture conspire to make intimacy of primary importance.  At this time P is like a demon living on your skin — a separate entity hell-bent on destroying what you cherish, preventing the fulfillment of all your wishes.

That is how P feels right now. 

If I told you, “It isn’t really like that Jenni.  It is an obstruction, a condition that must be accommodated but it needn’t inhibit....”  If I went on like that you would shake your head yes (you have, after all, lived with it for 11 years!) and you would whisper, “I know that.  I understand that.”  But it wouldn’t change a thing, because you are 22 and you are human, which means you are a sexual creature who loves and wants to be loved, and right now P is your demon.

Demons aren’t to be denied.

The important thing right now is to understand that you can and will survive this dark time.  Perhaps hearing this from a counselor — or coming to this conclusion during counseling — would be a good idea.  However you come to accept this as fact, it is worth the effort, for once you accept it you can begin to communicate it to those you grow close to.  It will enable you to have a relationship in which sex and P are mutually accommodating.  That may mean that sometimes it’s just not a desirable form of intimacy.  It may mean different things.  You will be surprised at what all it may mean, at how well a loving relationship can subsist and quell the demon. 

P is depressing for all of us.  We all manage it as best we can.  I think any flaker who reads this from the perspective of having been 22 “quite a while ago” will agree with me that you are going through the hardest of times.  Just believe — as we are witnesses! — that you will survive it.  And if counseling helps, don’t hesitate.  In the meantime, we are here and glad you found us.  You might want to introduce yourself on PsorChat where communicating happens faster and with more frequency.  -Ed

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