Theodore C. Kent, Ph.D. has his own method for soothing his rosacea. He turns to poetry to help relieve stress and his rosacea symptoms.
"Poetry, because of its rhythms, dives into your psyche," said Dr. Kent, a retired clinical psychologist who now teaches retirees who have gone back to school. "It provides advice and encouragement that make you feel better about yourself."
Dr. Kent used the power of poetry about three years ago when his rosacea symptoms got particularly bad. He developed pimples and redness on his cheeks, forehead, chin and nose, visible blood vessels and a swollen-looking nose. He was having some success reducing his symptoms with oral and topical antibiotics, but was still distressed by his appearance. "I didn't want to scare off the students on the first day," he chuckled.
So Dr. Kent began to write a book of poetry. "I've spent a lifetime helping people cope with difficulties and their problems," Dr. Kent said. Writing the book, he found, was a great comfort to him. The book, Poems for Living, is now helping others.
"People who have a condition like rosacea tend to blame themselves," Dr. Kent said. "They try to connect their misfortune to something they did wrong. I have found that poetry turns negative into positive and can help change your life around."
Dr. Kent said his book of poems focuses on helping readers feel better about themselves, cheering them up and encouraging them to like themselves and see the good and beauty that exist in the world.
And his rosacea? He said medication and lifestyle modification, including a positive attitude, can make a big difference.
"There is a poem I read to myself every week," he said. "Its message is: 'Stop blaming yourself; don't hate yourself.'" One of Dr. Kent's poems received an Editor's Choice Award from the National Library of Poetry.