Speaking up about Psoriasis can be tough. Whether it’s to a close friend or at the barbers, it can be hard to find the words to describe how your feeling.
It’s perhaps easier to see the physical sides of the condition. There is extreme redness of the skin, intense drying or flaking, and inflammation that can leave you feeling run down, tired and lethargic.
I’ve experienced these symptoms since I was diagnosed with the skin condition aged 18. It was a hard blow to my self-confidence and I didn’t like to talk about it. Talking was uncomfortable as it forced me to acknowledge my Psoriasis. To acknowledge it meant I had to deal with it. That only left two options in my mind, speaking up and finding my voice, or letting Psoriasis win. Luckily, I chose to say something.
From that moment on my Psoriasis became manageable. I went to Dermatologists, tried new creams and the results were varied. I’ve gone an entire year without Psoriasis and an entire year with Psoriasis, and I’ve learnt something along the way.
I’ve learnt that the thoughts in our head are potentially dangerous. In a world where we are bombarded with images of ‘perfect skin’ it can be hard to find your place when your skin doesn’t fit the mould of what is deemed acceptable. Thoughts such as ‘I’m not good enough’ and ‘If only I had clear skin’ can become pollutants to our self-esteem.
When I was 18, I wish I had an outlet for these thoughts. If I could just put words to my feelings, then maybe I could have saved a lot of time self-deprecating. Initiatives like the Say Something Campaign by the Irish Skin Foundation are a vital life line to people with Psoriasis. They enable people to develop their own voice when it comes to their Psoriasis care. I am happy to lend my voice to the initiative and would encourage people to make use of the fantastic resources that are laid at your disposal.
If you can find a way to speak about your condition it becomes less burdening. The scariness of Psoriasis for me lies in the uncertainty of the condition. It can seem like Psoriasis will strike at any time, but if you learn what your triggers are and develop a manageable plan you can take control of Psoriasis. There is a network of support out there for you and the Irish Skin Foundation is just making it more accessible.
Partaking in discussions with people with Psoriasis I’ve learnt that I am not alone. I would like to extend that message to you and say you are not alone as well. If your Psoriasis is getting you down, speak to one person you trust and share the burden.
The Irish Skin Foundation is there for you. This campaign is designed for people like us, and why not celebrate that? We don’t have perfect skin, and the truth is that nobody does. Psoriasis is manageable and life can change when we speak out.