Speak Clearly: Perspectives on psoriasis

I don’t remember a life without psoriasis – I was diagnosed at the age of five and have never known a life without my skin condition. I often wonder if my life would’ve been different had I not grown up with psoriasis. My psoriasis took control of my self-esteem at an early age, but over the years I learned how to take back control and be more confident in my skin.

One of my earliest memories of school is when I was about six – a girl in the playground asked me why I had cornflakes in my hair while pointing and laughing. I was completely confused until my sister explained that she was referring to my psoriasis. It soon became apparent that the girl’s intention was to taunt me for looking different, in front my classmates.

Despite the bad experiences, I was very fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly supportive people who helped me to not only accept my psoriasis but learn to feel comfortable with it, too. However, to this day, I felt like there was no one who truly understood what I was going through when I was younger. There was no one who knew the daily ups and downs psoriasis brings to your life.

Psoriasis affects around 125 million people worldwide1, yet I hardly knew any! So, I turned to the internet in search of likeminded people. What I found was so much more.

As I connected and chatted with people online, I was amazed to discover that I wasn’t alone. It was so refreshing to connect with an ever-growing community of psoriasis warriors, all sharing their personal journeys - the highs and lows, management plans, coping mechanisms and daily doses of positivity and skin confidence. And while all of us are somewhat different, we have a level different levels of understanding, and we are all determined to find ways to feel free from our psoriasis.

Alongside the friends and allies I met in online support groups, I’ve learned to reclaim my confidence and how to feel comfortable in my skin. Here are a couple of other things I learnt along the way:

  • Each platform offers something different, so find the ones that work for you. Whether it’s through closed Facebook groups, which offer a safe and private environment to chat about your condition, or Instagram where you can see or even join thousands of people sharing pictures of their skin to beat the stigma, normalize the condition and help others to feel comfortable in their own skin. There’s something for everyone.
  • Talking about your psoriasis can be hard and you might not ever want to, but the beauty of social media is that you can follow, read and learn from a distance until you feel ready to join in. I’ve found that the psoriasis community provides instant access to a ready-made support network who understand better than most where you’re coming from and who are happy to share kind words of inspiration or advice. Not sure where to start? Share your story here.
  • Talking really does help. Just knowing that I belong to this brings so much reassurance and encourages me to give back and empower others around me to feel confident with their condition and demand the best possible care for them.

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References:

  1. Psoriasis Statistics. National Psoriasis Foundation. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/psoriasis-statistics/. Accessed on October 26, 2020. 

Get clear with your doctor

You deserve to feel confident in your skin, but how do you have a clear conversation about your psoriasis goals with your doctor? Sometimes speaking up can be the hardest part.

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