Living My Life Under A Rock

My first experience with psoriasis occurred when I was 6 years old. It was my first day of school and I wasn’t allowed to attend because they thought I was contagious. This was over 5 decades ago. The doctor couldn’t diagnose my condition right then and there, but they finally did. I saw a doctor every month, but no one could give me the proper treatment. Sadly, I stayed 80% covered for many years.

Life was not easy

My psoriasis covered over 80% of my body and my condition attacked my face. This was not a happy time in my life. I was covered in itchy, scaly, painful lesions. Dandruff-like particles and patches, made me feel unappealing to myself and others. There was a time in my life when I felt very ugly and even felt ashamed for my husband to see me. So many times when I waited for him to go to sleep before I went to bed. I did not feel attractive at all.

My worst moments in life were going to the salon. Unfortunately, my scalp was always a mess. I have been turned away from salons which I used to cry about. The ones that would take me would have a disgusted look on their face and did bad work on me. Some moments, I would rather shave my head than deal with this. This was something I had to address in therapy. It’s amazing what can torment us for years.

"It took me years before I could stop hating my body"

It’s sad, but we can let our skin define who we are. It can be at work or home; you feel the pain. I have lost count of the many times I have hidden from the world because I was afraid that if someone saw me, they would have something negative to say. This would also include my friends. Why didn't everyone just leave me alone?

So many times, I remember desperately wanting to go to the gym many times in life, but just thinking about putting on gym clothes made me feel shame. I already knew that flakes would be everywhere, and I would be so embarrassed. It took me years before I could stop hating my body.

My husband has always been my number one advocate. He noticed that I had gained a lot of weight and that most of the time, I was sitting on the couch eating and watching TV. I am an extroverted person so this was not me. My skin was always inflamed, and swollen, making me feel uneasy and insecure. At my lowest point in life, he took time off from work to spend time with me and find a doctor who knew how to treat me.

Finding a doctor who understood

After assessing the condition. My doctor started different treatment plans for me. This was the first time in 30 years that a doctor actually saw me. He pulled up and chair and listen to what I had to say. Together we put together a treatment plan. I haven’t looked back since. We know there is no cure for psoriasis. But the treatment plan he put me on reduce the severity of my psoriasis. I started living life. One thing I have learned on this journey is that we need to speak up and find a doctor we trust.

I am a black woman and have been told on many occasions that I had to find a doctor that looked like me. Not true in my case. My doctor is not black, but he was the first person who pulled up a chair, sit down and listen to me and put together a treatment plan. He took the time to provide me with counseling and later introduced me to other people who have psoriasis. I joined a support group that helped me realize that I wasn't the only one suffering. It was time for me to start loving myself and my confidence gradually returned. No one loves their body as I do now,  I no longer look down on myself.

We are all in this together!

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