Hi, my name's Matt and I've had severe Psoriasis (Plaque, Inverse, Nail, Oral and experienced Guttate) for about ten years or so. I believe my PsO was passed on to me by my father who had suffered with Psoriatic Arthritis his entire life. My brother was lucky in that he had PsO briefly as a child but has never had a flare up since.
I've been asked by multiple people and companies to write a blog post and finally I've decided to give it a go. Mainly because I'm sick of reading the same old ridiculously positive, cloud nine, puppies and balloons Psoriasis blog posts that are out there. Don't get me wrong, it's great to be positive and I do believe that you need a core of strength to be able to cope with the disease, but this is real life and a real life altering disease that can have many different effects on you both physically and mentally.
From my personal experience, PsO has been and continues to be a daily battle. From being able to face yourself in the mirror in the morning after a scratchy, sore night's sleep to being able to bring yourself to leave the house in the summer with your arms, legs, hands, face and scalp all red, itchy and flaking.
There will of course be people out there that have accepted their PsO and are confident, brave enough or simply feel that they have to go out into the world with it on full show, no concealer, no long sleeves or multiple layers and to them I say all power to you, the rest of us hope to be with you someday soon. But getting back to the battle, from my point of view I've accepted it's a war I cannot win but I won't accept that I can't fight and win at least a few battles along the way.
I've battled the urge to itch at work whilst blood has poured down my leg into my sock (a bit graphic - sorry), I've battled to find the best moisturisers, ointments, creams, potions, pills and diets to suit my skin.
I've battled the urge to scream at every person that thinks they know everything about the disease and that says "a bit of cream will sort that out".
The NHS is a constant battle.
In my experience I've had to fight and push to be heard. You need to dig down deep and become more assertive than you've ever been before. Health professionals have knowledge, but you have experience and that is invaluable. Use your experiences with PsO to convey just how much you need them to listen.
Fight for your health, fight for yourself, fight for your sanity! This is a battle we can all win.
During these battles, I've learnt that every little victory boosts you and can keep you going through the battles to come until the next little victory comes along - like finding that perfect top to cover your elbows or discovering The Body Shop's hemp range which most certainly was a little victory. I say treasure these moments and store them in your vault of memories for these are the first places to visit to get you through the dark days.
This was the first of The Body Shop's hemp range I tried, it’s their Body Butter.
One little psoriasis victory can often lead to another - The Body Shop's Face Protector. I love it. It helped me ditch one of my prescribed ointments, but please bear in mind I did this while keeping my Dermatologist and G.P. informed of such and monitoring my results.
Let's face it, we all have them - PsO suffers and non-suffers alike - and it's ok. It's ok to feel down, to feel that it's too hard, that the effort just simply isn't worth it today. But, and this is a big but, don't let those days become two, three or four in a row. I don't want to sound patronising here but as someone who has been there and got the pills, you cannot linger in that dark place. Speak to someone. Jump on social media and have a moan or better yet a rant. You must reach down to your inner core of strength and act.
This for me has been the biggest battle against my Psoriasis.
The Social Media Effect
Moaning or ranting on social media has certainly helped me, but this in itself is a case of personal choice (where you share and to who). You don't need to open up or reveal anything that you're not comfortable with. It may be that you want to share your feelings with friends and family on Facebook or like me moan and rant on Twitter.
Twitter has been an interesting journey for me in that it's connected me with lots of other people with PsO. There are often Psoriasis hashtags that pop up and bring everyone together as part of one conversation. One example is #letstalkpsoriasis, which recently brought together multiple experts, PsO scientific researchers, support organisations, PsO charities and people living with Psoriasis who got involved and discussed multiple issues and answered questions on every aspect of PsO.
I would urge anyone that is newly diagnosed with PsO to get on there and follow @PsoriasisUK (Psoriasis Association - UK based) and @NPF (National Psoriasis Foundation - US based) to start off with as they are very willing to answer any questions you may have and both have great websites packed full of useful info with links on their Twitter profiles.
This is how I started and have since connected with many people with PsO that understand exactly what you're going through and won't mind you ranting away to them. There are lots of different people and organisations on Twitter that can help in many different ways, some of which have helped me without even knowing it.
You may have noticed that I tend to refer to Psoriasis as PsO as often as possible. This is for a personal and probably silly reason to some, but to me I feel it takes some of the power away from the disease and its hold on my life. Little victories.
This content is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
UK/IE MAT-04168. Date of Prep: August 2016