Stress Reduction
by Sean Seffer

Hello! Great homepage. I am, as you can guess, another person blessed with that ugly P word. I'm a 31 year-old male who first showed symptoms about three years ago. They began as a few large rashes on my legs. When they didn't go away, but yet grew in size, the panic thing started.

I'm convinced, in my case, my outbreak was triggered by stress due to work and personal issues going on around me. When I look back on it, I ws at peak stress level. Anyway, I went through the embarrassment that most of us have to deal with. I hid the disease from everyone until only about six months ago. I didn't wear shorts in summer ... the whole bit.

It remained localized on my legs until this past Christmas. Then, once again stress caused a major spread to my legs, stomach and lower back. I had just gotten laid off my job, and was really bumming about everything. That seems to trigger it for me.

So, I finally got the courage to see a dermatologist. I would estimate my case at 50%. Doc put me on UVB treatments, which have helped to a degree. I will lay in the sun this summer as well. These are the only treatments I have faith in at this point. Oh, Doc also put me on a mild anti-depressant called Paroxitine. In two weeks I haven't noticed any effect they may be having. However, the arms and stomach/back area are clearing up pretty well.

I've kinda resolved myself to the fact that I may always have psoriasis to some degree. But it's a load off now that my family knows. They're very supportive.

I like your light-hearted approach to the matter. Anxiety only makes mine break out. So keep up the good work! -Sean Seffer

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Ed's Response:

Dear Sean: Glad you are enjoying FLAKE HQ. Ramrodding this place for flakers is, I guess you could say, a form of stress-reduction for me and the levity we try to maintain here could be regarded a sort of "stress relief valve."

I've aired my own views on stress as a psoriasis trigger on many occasions (too many to hyperlink to). In Flake I call stress the excuse de jur of the 90s. If it does happen to be your primary trigger, it would make sense to concentrate as much on reducing the stress as on palliating the psoriasis symptoms.

The problem I've found on those occasions when I do accept stress as a problem (those occasions are few and far between) is that effective countermeasures are hard to come by in our society and in this day and age. I've tried drugs, booze and profligate behavior and those categorically don't work. I've tried dropping out and found little relief there until the next step was suicide, at which point I turned and ran backwards.

I even have a mantra, wear Navaho jewelry, collect imitation Egyptian artifacts, tried soothing background music, once enrolled in the Rosicrucian Society, joined a bowling league and bought a hot tub. Even Free Love didn't help me relax.

So far, I've found only five things that always relax me: Laughter, spending time alone, reading, writing, and sitting with cats around me or on my lap. And in the eight years I've been experimenting and searching for relief from my psoriasis, even these becalming activities and situations have failed to have any lasting affect on my psoriasis.

But I'll be the first to admit stress might be a primary trigger for other flakers. For reasons quite beyond our perpetual molting, taking initiatives to relax are probably healthful. One thing's for sure. When we're relaxed and feeling good our flaking matters much less. -Ed

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