Living with the condition psoriasis doesn’t come with a manual. It takes time to learn and understand how your psoriasis works and what is best for you through ‘trial and error’. It took me a long time to figure out what works well for my psoriasis and what doesn’t, and to be honest even after having the condition for 14 years, I am still educating myself about my psoriasis.
So here are 10 things I wish someone had told me about living with psoriasis:
1. Psoriasis can be very tiring and exhausting
Living with psoriasis can be exhausting; mentally, physically and emotionally. When my skin was at its worse, treating my psoriasis was so time-consuming. My days would just revolve around me treating my skin. The emotional stress that comes with the condition would mentally exhaust me, as well as the insane itching that also comes with psoriasis. My itching is worse at night, which would mean that I’d lose sleep, causing me to feel fatigue and having an impact on the next day.
2. Psoriasis has a mind of its own
Over the years I have learnt that my psoriasis has a mind of its own. It’ll turn up when it wants and it will go when it wants. Each flare-up is different, and I feel like every time I get a new flare-up, I have to spend time understanding it again. It’ll decide which treatment it wants to respond to, and which it doesn’t. Even though I have learnt to emotionally control my psoriasis, it can be difficult to physically control at times.
3. It can literally manifest anywhere on your body
It’s true, psoriasis can appear literally anywhere on your body. I have had psoriasis in my scalp, including my hairline and forehead, nails, hands, face, in my eyebrows and the list just goes on.
4. Psoriasis can affect your mental health
My psoriasis has really affected my psychological side. When I was going through a severe flare-up, my confidence levels dropped drastically, which hugely affected my social life and the relationships around me. It made me extremely self-conscious, which led to me feeling very low and depressed at the time. It also caused me to lose my appetite and lose a lot of weight too. I found that my life started to revolve around desperately trying to cover it up.
5. Your psoriasis probably isn’t as noticeable as you think it is
I wish someone had told me sooner throughout my journey with psoriasis that it’s probably not as bad as you think it is. Always focus on those people that aren’t staring it at.
6. The itch stays with you
I have recently learnt that even though your psoriasis has gone, the itch will annoyingly stay! In particular in winter, or during sudden climate changes.
7. You will probably be left with pigmented skin
One of the side effects from certain psoriasis treatments can result in being left with dark pigmented patches, or “psoriasis shadows’ as I’ve recently learnt, on your skin.
8. Black tops are a pain to wear with scalp psoriasis
Over the years I have learnt that wearing black or dark coloured tops when you have severe scalp psoriasis is a nuisance, due to the flakiness of the condition. This has resulted in me investing in a colourful wardrobe to help disguise any flaking. Here are some of my favourite tops:
9. Psoriasis is a chronic condition that can physically hurt
Having psoriasis can actually be very discomforting. I think the physical pain associated with the condition is not commonly spoken about and most people just think the scales sit on your skin and that’s that. I guess each sufferer has a different experience, but for me the discomfort of psoriasis increases with the severity of the condition. Itching causes my skin to become very sore and sensitive, creating a ‘burning’ sensation. Certain clothing can also add to the irritation. I also find that when I have flare ups near my joints, especially my knees and elbows, due to the dryness of the condition, movement of my joints would be restricted and my skin would tighten up, sometimes resulting in cracking or bleeding of the skin. At the time of my severe flare-up my psoriasis would constantly itch and burn, and I’d have this tingly feeling, all through the day and all through the night, it would drive me insane.
10. There are various different treatment options available
Although you can’t cure psoriasis, there are a wide range of treatments available, such as ointments, light therapy and biologics that can help to control your psoriasis. I wish I had been told about the different treatments available sooner and had a choice of which I would prefer to use.
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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-03322. Date of Prep: May 2016