Being comfortable with my psoriasis is something that took a long time and was a long process. I didn’t just wake up one morning and suddenly decide that I was happy and in love with my psoriasis, nor did I wake up and decide that this was something I hated and would never get used to. Like I said, it was a long journey and it took me a long time to get comfortable in my skin.
Picture of my skin in 2013
I was first diagnosed with psoriasis in October 2013. However, it took a long time for the doctors to officially diagnose the skin condition for what it actually was. For a while they treated me for fungal infection and other skin rashes as over the years I had been really unlucky with my skin. I have had everything from shingles and chicken pox to undiagnosed rashes and various types of impetigo. Since it took so long for the condition to be properly diagnosed I had to tell numerous doctors about my skin and what was going on, show it to them and have them look and try to figure out what it was. It made me really insecure about what was going on with my skin. When I was finally diagnosed I had never heard of the condition before and I felt like the only person in the world with psoriasis. To make matters worse the first little bit of psoriasis was a small patch in the middle of my forehead for the whole world to see. There was no way of hiding my biggest insecurity.
Picture of my skin in 2016
I guess over the years, I have become more confident with showing my skin off and post pictures of my psoriasis regularly on the Internet and social media. People assume I am not insecure about it but to tell the truth, they couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, my facial and body psoriasis is something I have come to accept but it is still the biggest insecurity I have. My facial psoriasis has gone from being one small circle on my forehead to now covering the majority of my forehead, scalp, other facial areas as well as my pubic area. The majority of my psoriasis cannot be covered and I guess I will always be conscious of people looking at it on my face. When I meet new people I usually have to explain what it is and if I date someone and I am going to get intimate with them I feel the need to explain what I have in my pubic area which can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable conversation to have with someone.
Accepting and loving my skin
One day I realised I had two options of how to deal with my skin. It was during the run up to Christmas in 2013, not long after I had been diagnosed. I was working behind the counter on the till at my clothing retail job and I was serving a lady who was visiting from another country. I was aware that she kept looking at my forehead but I tried to ignore it and keep serving her. Eventually she pointed to my forehead and said “I thought you had to be pretty to work here”. I was gobsmacked. How could someone who I had known for a mere few minutes say something like that? How dare someone tell me that my psoriasis was my defining feature. In that moment I realised I had two choices, I could either let this destroy me and be really upset and insecure about me skin forever or I could completely own my skin and say “yes, I do have psoriasis but it doesn’t affect me as a person, it doesn’t affect my beauty and it isn’t going to be my defining quality for anyone”. My psoriasis is part of me. In that moment and from then on I needed to own and love that little part of me and be proud of it no matter how insecure it made me feel.
Showing my skin to the world
About a year ago, I decided to start blogging about my skin and sharing my experiences with psoriasis. It has really helped me come to terms with my psoriasis and love my skin even more. My skin had progressively gotten worse and I decided to see what else was out there on social media for psoriasis. I was shocked to find a supportive and loving community all shouting about how great psoriasis was, sharing tips and supporting each other. It was refreshing to know I wasn’t alone with my skin doubts and that being proud of my psoriasis was something to most definitely shout about.
The community is a great place to share thoughts and talk to when you are feeling down about your skin. The positivity and love from these people has really helped me on my journey and sharing pictures of my skin and telling people about it doesn’t scare or embarrass me anymore. In fact, it empowers me, and I love telling people about psoriasis and my journey. Educating people when they ask is the best. People are usually curious and not trying to be malicious or cruel.
I am three years into my psoriasis story with all the ups and downs that have come with it. I am sure, as I move on through the years with more treatments and tips to try, I will have more highs and lows to contend with. For now, I’m just going to love my skin because I am beautiful, no matter what.