October is Psoriasis Awareness Month. For approximately one million Canadians, the impact of psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory condition and common skin disease, can be devastating. The visible skin condition can affect people’s behaviour, feelings, experiences and how they interact with others. Psoriasis can also contribute to poor body image, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.
Canadian actor Jim Annan, who is a comedian (part of the Second City crew and frequent participant in Just for Laughs festivals) and has appeared in TV series’ such as Rookie Blue, Saving Hope, Little Mosque on the Prairie and Dan for Mayor is familiar with this reality. He began suffering from psoriasis when he was 20 years old while still in acting school and quickly became self-conscious about his physical appearance and was fearful about exposing his body because of the symptoms.
Annan’s aim is to help raise awareness of psoriasis and inspire other Canadians living with the disease not to give up hope. Here is what he has to say about his experience with the disease. “At times, my symptoms were so severe that I chose not to go to certain auditions because my skin was covered with red, dry, itchy and extremely painful patches. This had an impact on my confidence,” he recalls. “As an actor, it was stressful and challenging to live in constant fear of exposing my skin and having to rely heavily on covering up with make-up.”
Today, with the help of his doctor, Annan won’t let psoriasis keep him out of the spotlight. Taking an active role in his health has helped him regain confidence and effectively manage his symptoms. He shares a few tips from his Spotlight Approach to Effective Psoriasis Management:
1. Get into the role of taking control. Be your own health advocate and make the most of your healthcare visits by preparing a detailed description of all your symptoms. Speak to your doctor about treatment options that may work best for you.
2. Conquer your stage fright. Talk openly about your condition and find opportunities to educate someone about psoriasis. You can help others understand by explaining what they are seeing, and how psoriasis is not contagious. The more others understand, the better they can help.
3. Strive for success and stress less. Develop your own personal Spotlight Approach to Effective Psoriasis Management with your support team of friends, family and healthcare professionals so you can better alleviate your stress and manage symptoms. Try enjoying positive experiences and doing the things that mean the most to you when you can.
4. Put the camera on nutrition. Eating a well-balanced diet can contribute to your overall health and may help manage your condition. Talk to your doctor about a nutrition plan.
5. Don’t give up and keep learning. For more information on psoriasis, visit the following resources:
Alliance Québécoise du Psoriasis, www.psoriasisquebec.org
Canadian Psoriasis Network, www.canadianpsoriasisfoundation.org
Canadian Skin Patient Alliance,www.skinpatientalliance.ca
Communauté canadienne du psoriasis, www.communautepsoriasis.ca
Psoriasis Community Canada, www.canadianpsoriasis.ca
Living Well with Psoriasis, www.livingwellwithpsoriasis.com