What was your diagnosis like, and how did it affect you?

Initially, there was a lot of confusion regarding my condition. My mom took me to many doctors, and none of them knew exactly what I had. This led to unnecessary treatment, which irritated my skin even more.

Later on, I was referred to a dermatologist who eventually diagnosed me with psoriasis. My diagnosis didn’t affect me at first because I was only 7. But as I got older, I started to notice differences between myself and my peers.

As others began to notice my skin condition, they would ask me a lot of questions. Some even didn’t want to associate with me because they thought it was contagious. People reacted in different ways to my psoriasis, which felt isolating at times.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while living with psoriasis?

The most challenging thing about having psoriasis for me is the constant discomfort I experience, no matter what I wear or the weather. I also experience severe fatigue and side effects from my medication, like nausea and mouth ulcers.

Having psoriasis takes a toll on my confidence and self-esteem, especially during a flare-up. No matter how confident I am or how filled I am with self-love, there are always days where I feel too insecure to leave my house or to be around people.

This is difficult for me to deal with because I know my loved ones don’t care and would always want to be around me. But psoriasis can devastate you and make you isolate yourself from others. It becomes a deep hole that can be difficult to get out of at times.

What are your best tips for flare-ups or bad days?

My favorite thing to do is to run a warm bath and soak in it for a while. I also do my best to speak to people within my support system about how I’m feeling. This helps me to realign my thoughts and ground me back to earth again. As a result, I start to feel less isolated.

What do you wish other people knew about psoriasis?

People with psoriasis can lead a normal life and pursue anything they want. The condition doesn’t take away from who you are. It also doesn’t define you.

I also wish people knew that it isn’t contagious. Most people I encounter go out of their way to avoid coming near me because of fear. I suppose it’s just a fear of the unknown, but I can assure all people that psoriasis isn’t contagious.

What was your diagnosis like, and how did it affect you?

I was diagnosed with psoriasis at 4 years old, so I was too young to understand my diagnosis at first. Instead, it affected my mother the most.

She took me to see dermatologists, and I tried different medications and home remedies. My mother taught my sisters how to apply my topical medications in case she couldn’t one day. I think part of her knew being diagnosed with psoriasis could have a negative impact on my life.

I strongly believe that from early on, my mother did everything in her power to prevent me from facing those obstacles. They say ignorance is bliss, and for my adolescent years, the less I knew, the better. But I couldn’t live in my bubble of ignorance for too long.

As a teenager, I noticed negative attention that was drawn to me whenever I showed my skin. I remember the looks of disgust and the comments people made. It was as if what I had was contagious, and people were afraid to get too close. It never felt good. I felt ashamed of my own skin.

I kept my skin covered as much as I could because I thought I was doing others a favor. When I finally spoke to a dermatologist, my only question was, “How do I get rid of this?” He explained that what I had was chronic, and there was no cure. I would have this for a lifetime, and I would have to learn to live with it and control it.

From the moment those words escaped his lips, the appointment was over for me. I felt overwhelmed by the news. All I could think of was what the rest of my life was going to look like. It felt like a very long and miserable life was ahead of me.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while living with psoriasis?

My battle with mental illness was my biggest challenge. Not only did those negative experiences impact me personally, but it was as if someone had snatched the happiness out of me, and all hope was gone.

As a result of that, I experienced depression as a teenager. It was a silent battle. I repressed a lot of my emotions, my thoughts, and I dealt with my situation through isolation. My room and my black sweater became my safe haven.

I tried my best to always keep a strong poker face at school and at home. I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself. I didn’t want to be seen. I felt like no one would understand what I was feeling inside.

How could I make others understand that it was more than just a skin disease? How can someone who doesn’t have to face the obstacles daily understand how this has affected me mentally?

I didn’t know how to communicate what I was feeling inside to help my family and close friends understand me better. It was challenging not having someone that I could relate to. I preferred to stay quiet and deal with it alone.

What are your best tips for flare-ups or bad days?

Remember to be kind and patient with yourself. Healing is a journey, and you can’t rush it. Seek comfort in those that bring you joy and positivity. Never feel ashamed of seeking help.

It’s OK to feel sadness, and it’s OK to be vulnerable. Remember to take care of yourself mentally and physically. You’re an amazing and resilient person, and you’ll get through this. Most importantly, you’re not alone.

You’re loved by your friends and family, and there’s such an amazing community of people with psoriasis that are uplifting, motivating, and kind. I know it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when your skin is flaring, or when you’re having a bad day. But there’s a silver lining to this.

You’ll look within and learn so much about yourself. You’ll discover this strength and resilience that maybe you never even imagined having. When your skin begins to heal again, or when you feel better, you’ll appreciate the small things that can oftentimes be overlooked. It’s a journey that has its ups and downs, but it’s a beautiful one when you begin to discover yourself.

What do you wish other people knew about psoriasis?

I wish there was a way to help people understand the complexity of psoriasis. It’s easy to see it as just a skin disease, but it’s so much more.

Psoriasis can affect a person’s quality of life. It’s important to change the way we react and look at those who have psoriasis or any skin condition. Work together to raise awareness and normalize it. This way, we can have a generation of kids grow up without the negative stigma that many of us have felt.

What was your diagnosis like, and how did it affect you?

I was 4 years old when I was diagnosed with psoriasis. Over the years, my symptoms would come and go as I tried various treatments. By high school it was under control, but it flared again during my junior [year] of college.

It’s been a roller coaster ever since I was diagnosed. I’ll have clear skin one year, then flare. Then, I’ll have flared skin for one year, then it’ll clear up. For the last 2 years, it’s been consistently present, which is the longest I’ve experienced a flare.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while living with psoriasis?

Self-love has been my biggest challenge. The older I got, the more insecure I’d become.

It wasn’t until the last year or so that I told myself not to allow psoriasis to control me anymore. I try not to let it influence my choice of clothing, how I interact with people, and how I view myself. I still have hard days, but I’m embracing my journey.

What are your best tips for flare-ups or bad days?

I’m really big on a holistic approach. I’ve noticed a change in flare-ups after using clean-ingredient household and skin care products. I soak in Dead Sea salt, which does wonders! I still struggle from time to time with scalp flares, but I’m in the process of trying different products to see what works.

I’ve also changed my diet tremendously and can see a difference already. I’ve eliminated dairy, sugar, and white flour products. Meditating and journaling regularly helps as well, especially when I’m having a bad day. I write about how I feel and what I’m grateful for.

What do you wish other people knew about psoriasis?

I wish other people knew that there is more to psoriasis than just discoloration. There are other physical and mental symptoms beyond what the eye can see.

If you also live with psoriasis, know your worth and that there are better days ahead. Understand that it’s a process, but you can heal with dedication and hard work.