I think you can probably tell, this blog post isn’t going to be about websites.
Three and a bit years ago I had a strep throat infection, which basically feels like a really bad sore throat. Unfortunately as a result of my sore throat, I developed Psoriasis. More specifically, the guttate variety. Guttate Psoriasis is different from the more common plaque psoriasis because instead of big patches of psoriasis, I get small spot-sized patches.
The spread of psoriasis on my body was quite rapid and unfortunately I was misdiagnosed by two different doctors on two separate occasions which led to a delay in getting the treatment I needed which mean my condition was allowed to worsen much more than it should have. It also meant me spending a lot of money on useless prescriptions. I was also devastated to discover when I got the correct diagnosis that there is no cure for the condition and in all likelihood, I’d probably have it in some form for the rest of my life.
I did however spend many weeks attending treatment at Brighton General Hospital, which was light therapy. Light therapy involves standing in a sort of tanning-booth for a short period of time twice weekly. Although it’s like a tanning booth the two shouldn’t be confused, tanning booths do not filter the UV rays they emit so are not effective and are also significantly more dangerous. However any exposure to UV radiation does carry risks. The great thing however was the therapy for me worked, and save for a couple of tiny bits I was cleared of my psoriasis. I then got on with my life.
About 4 months ago however a minor relapse started coming on. I’m still dealing with this relapse which has affected the skin on my face, arms, and trunk area of my body. My current relapse is nowhere near as bad as my initial outbreak, so I’m feeling positive about getting rid of it. I have a second doctors appointment booked and I believe I’ll probably get another referral to see a specialist and that will possibly result in more light therapy.
So how does psoriasis affect me?
- Social life. If I’m having a bad day or having a flare up on my face, I become a recluse. I go to work but that will be it, at best I’ll go to a friends house and watch a movie. Psoriasis makes conducting a healthy and engaging social life incredibly difficult, frustrating and demeaning. Even if you do pluck up the courage to go out, often people will look at you and point out your skin. Even when it’s done with the kindest and best intentions, when I do manage to go out the house, I’m doing it to get away from my skin, not be reminded of it.
- Comfort. When I have an outbreak, it makes me feel very uncomfortable. Basic tasks can become difficult, such as sleeping or having a shower – or even just walking.
- Humiliation and complete loss of self-confidence. I spent a lot of my childhood feeling extremely crap about how I looked. I felt very ugly. Things improved for me when I hit my late teens and I started to feel really good about my looks. I had spent my whole life trying to be happy with my appearance, when psoriasis came along and completely destroyed any hope I had of achieving that. I don’t think I’m ugly anymore, but it’s very difficult to see yourself as attractive when you have the condition.
- Relationships. Difficult enough for anyone, now imagine you have psoriasis and you can maybe get a feel for how difficult it is for me. I had a relationship last year with someone that didn’t care about my psoriasis which was great, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. Dating is really difficult because even if I manage to go on a date with someone, I have to confront that awkward moment when they turn up and they can see my condition. Many girls are not comfortable with the idea of dating a guy with psoriasis.
- My personality. Psoriasis has made me an angry person. Most of the time, I channel my anger into positivity, by working hard and trying to do good things. Sometimes though, it makes me a complete tosser. There’s really no other way to put it. It can make me a very horrible and difficult person to talk to and live with. I can’t help this though and try to deal with my emotions as best I can.
The important thing I have learned from having psoriasis is that it does not need to control your life and there are treatments out there that can and will work. If a treatment doesn’t work or loses effectiveness, just ask to try another. The good thing is every year many new treatments are being developed and gaining approval, so as time goes on there are going to be more and more options available to treat it which should hopefully mean the outlook is positive.
I’m confident that seeing my doctor next week I’ll be able to get this current outbreak under control and hopefully get rid of it altogether, and then I can get on with my life. I’m also confident that any future outbreaks I have, I’ll be able to deal with them too. I have to accept that I will probably have psoriasis for the rest of my life, but I’ve also come to accept I can still lead a positive and happy life.
I hope if you are reading this, you have learned a bit about psoriasis and it’s true effects and how horrible it can be to live with. So if you know anybody that suffers from it, keep it in mind and if they’re stressed or short tempered, give them a break, it is probably because of their skin. Don’t stare or ask stupid questions or treat them differently, be kind and understanding to their condition and be there for them as support and care.