A sad child peeks out of a hole in the ground with plaques on their face as an older version of themself reaches out toward them

Are You New To Psoriasis?

There are 125 million people worldwide who at some point are new to psoriasis, and we are one of them. I was diagnosed with psoriasis for the first time in 1963. I was the only member of my family that we knew of who had this illness.

My skin was covered in purple plaques that covered my whole body. It just kept growing and growing. My skin really didn’t know how to stop producing layers of skin. It would be super dry, painful, cracked, and very itchy. I would scratch so much that I was a bloody mess.

Growing up with psoriasis

My body has been 80% covered for as long as I can remember. But if I had to pick the areas of my body that have been impacted by psoriasis the most, it would be my face, scalp, legs, and feet. Can you imagine sitting on a chair and your skin falling off when you got up? This was so embarrassing.

During my adolescence, the worst part for me was going out to meet friends. This was the time of my life that was supposed to be wonderful. Sadly, for me, every new person I met would point to my skin and ask what is that? I tried to keep a small circle of friends who somewhat understood my struggles. Even my friends who still understood me used to make fun of me when we were out playing.

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They actually gave me names that I didn’t find amusing. When I approached them, I could see friends and other people talking in hushed tones and pointing or peeking at me. I would try not to draw too much attention to me. I tried to devise a method of concealing my skin from prying eyes by wearing long, pull-over sweaters. Instead of shorts, which I never wore anyway, I would wear sweatpants a lot.

What I have learned about living with psoriasis

At one point, my psoriasis completely turned my life upside down in everything I did. I was never able to go outside and look for a job due to excess skin being produced, pain, and itchiness. This has caused me to be an inside person. So along with this comes financial and social stress. As we all know stress is a cause of major flare-ups. I can’t seem to avoid it.

I would like to say that we do get misdiagnosed with this disease. If you have any doubts about what you have, get a second opinion. My psoriasis was so different then every body’s else, that I had to have several biopsies. My doctors used to give me soaps, lotions, and creams. But they never gave me anything for pain. The thing that upset me the most was sometimes the medications cause flare-ups. They would fade and then reappear, sometimes worse than before. You always have family and friends who know what’s best for you.

In short, I have never been 100% clear, but some medications have got me pretty close. I do hope that one of these days there will be a cure for psoriasis. I also hope that people realize that we are not contagious and stop stigmatizing us. My advice is to keep yourself motivated and take care of yourself. We are all in this together.

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