My Love Story with Advocacy
I met psoriasis when I was 7 years old after a bad case of chicken pox triggered my immune system to go crazy. Since then psoriasis has continued to tag along in all my life experiences. Growing up I use to hate the fact that I had psoriasis. I use to wonder out of all the people around the world, why was I the one who had to deal with this disease? I felt as though psoriasis played a part in every aspect of my life and really put a damper on the things I wanted to do. It played a role in my social life, how I went about relationships, what I wore... Everything. Honestly, I felt cursed with this disease. For majority of my life I lived in shame and refused to talk about my disease. I hid my psoriasis by all cost, even though now I realize people still knew something was there. I suffered from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks due to psoriasis.
2011 Changed my Life
I started to search for an outlet. A safe place where I could express my sentiments of psoriasis without being judged. After some research of the web I found a online psoriasis support group. At this moment I went from knowing zero people with psoriasis to know being in the presence of thousands with the disease. My first post on the site was entitled, "My Suicide Letter." The letter wasn't about a physical death, I didn't want to actually kill myself. I wanted to kill the things within me that were caused by psoriasis. I wanted to put to death low self-esteem, my lack of confidence, my fears of what other people thought about me so I could truly live my life to the fullest without regret. These were my true feelings, the things I felt inside but hadn't had the power to achieve. Unexpectedly to me the letter received a lot of attention and went viral in the psoriasis community. Someone was so inspired by it that they sent it to the National Psoriasis Foundation. The people there so impressed with my story reached out to me and invited me a Volunteer Conference which took place in Washington D.C.
My First "Date" with Advocacy
Remember that first date with someone you were really into? You were excited, but didn't know exactly what to expect or what the future would hold? You were just happy for the opportunity to see where things might go? That's exactly how I felt about my first encounter with advocacy by attending that volunteer conference hosted by the NPF back in 2011. They had a workshop about how to tell your story through blogging. My mind was overwhelmed with the possibilities of telling my story. As soon as the conference was over, as I was flying home on the plane, I was writing potential names for my blog. The moment I walked into that workshop I had made it up in my mind that I would start telling my story through blogging.
Initially I used blogging as a safety net, someone I could come to reveal parts of myself and not truly know what the person reading was thinking. Honestly what they were thinking didn't matter, my job was simply to tell the story. Through blogging, I became engaged to advocacy. I feel in love with it. Blogging became my life; The place I went to expose my deepest fears, it's where I felt safe, and where I wasn't afraid to share my story. The love of your life is usually the person that you feel closest to, where you feel like you can most be yourself, that is what psoriasis advocacy has done for me and made me feel.
I Decided to Tie the Knot with Psoriasis Advocacy
My life with advocacy was unexpected. I didn't grow up thinking "when I get older I'm going to tell the world about my disease." I can't even say it was the "last thing on my list" it wasn't a consideration, AT ALL. But this year I decided to dedicate my entire life to advocacy, psoriasis, dermatology, and chronic illnesses. I've started working for myself and I'm back in school to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant with a concentration of Dermatology.
The Things that Hurt Us
I once thought psoriasis was the worse thing that happened to me. Little did I know psoriasis and those who have it would truly become the love of my life. Sometimes the things that we think have hurt us the most are the things we must show the most love to. If you are having a hard time with psoriasis I encourage you to use that energy as a way to help others!
Do you like to go pswimming with psoriasis?