50 for 50 Project

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations, we'll be sharing 50 people's stories of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

We have just entered our 50th year here at the Psoriasis Association! A key part of our work over the last half a century has been to raise awareness of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and help give a voice to people who live with both conditions. As such, we thought 'what better way to celebrate our 50th year than by sharing 50 people's stories of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis?'

You can read the first stories below. We'll be adding more throughout our 50th year so keep checking back, and keep an eye on our Instagram page too!

If you'd like to take part in the project and share your own story, you can find out how to get involved here.

Alicja's Story

My life with psoriasis had started a week before my 18th birthday and the first thought I got in my head was "I cannot be a blood donor”, which was my dream for many years. I cried because of it, not because I heard I’m ill. Not even one member of my family has psoriasis, so everyone was shocked when I got this information from my doctor.

At the beginning, there were only a few spots on my elbows (of course they gave me steroid creams) but with time they started to spread.

I didn’t know where to find physical and psychological help. I know that I’m stronger than my illness but still, there were moments when I felt like a loser because of ps. My hobby is cosplay, so it was quite obvious that my appearance means even more to me. I started to hold back with my hobby.

Last year I started a second major of studies and this was my breaking point. I work so hard for everything, but my psoriasis was in the worst state ever. In the morning I had to wait to move my arm because everything was hurting and cracking so much. I got used to itching and bleeding. I decided to change it, give myself some time.

I gave up on my second major. I started a diet, new way of thinking and it's working. Of course, not every spot back to normal and I have to wait for results, but I was getting better! I came back to cosplay, even became a Polish representative in the European cosplay contest, C4 2017.

Nowadays, I am an active member in a Polish support group, and have had many positive comments on my post about my hobby and “not giving up”. This is why I started the social project #JestemBiedronką which means "I'm a ladybug" (something like a cute nickname for psoriasis warrior). I want to show people that they are beautiful and they can achieve their goals.

We did 2 photo sessions with Szkoła Kreatywnej Fotografii in Cracow, and now we are waiting for our first exhibition - 14th May. We are more than amazed by responses on our fanpage - more than 80,000 people have seen our content! Not only in Poland but around the world. Even if we are just a little drop of water in the process of changing social perspectives of psoriasis, we are really glad we did it. This project has changed me and given me more strength than any other treatment, even if my skin looks worse then half a year ago, I'm accepting it.

Photo credit: Agata Lazar, Make up: Maja Bławuciak 

Lee's Story

My name is Lee and I was diagnosed with psoriasis in 1997, and later, in 2012, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Now, at age forty, I am just about at peace with it but it took me a long time to get there.

My initial psoriatic arthritis diagnosis was quite a shock. At the time I was experiencing pain in the toes of my left foot and assumed it to be an old kick boxing injury that was flaring up. About 4 years prior to this I had broken my foot in a kick boxing match. It was natural to assume that the injury was just playing up again. However, after six or seven weeks it hadn’t settled down, so I went to see my GP.

The diagnosis was immediate, but the conversation didn’t make sense to me at the time. “You have arthritis” said the doctor, “In your feet” she continued.

I went to the hospital, had some x-rays and spoke to a specialist. The specialist offered me Methotrexate but also described a whole host of terrible sounding side effects. He also said I’d need blood tests every month as well as some other checks to make sure my body was dealing with the medication without issue. He did use the word “Chemotherapy” during the conversation as well.

At the time I was pretty shell–shocked to be honest. I was thinking “Yesterday I was a normal bloke, working hard and getting on with my life. Today I’m being offered chemotherapy and being told that my condition is irreversible.”

I said “No” to the methotrexate. My attitude was that since I had been able to walk to the bus station, take a bus to the hospital, walk from the bus stop to the hospital, and then walk through the maze of hospital corridors; then surely it can’t be so bad as to warrant such medication? The seriousness of a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis was lost on me.

Now, in 2018, I am struggling to walk at all sometimes. I have had months at a time where I have been unable to pick up small objects, or make a fist, or fasten buttons. I have been hit with the most unwelcome bouts of fatigue and tiredness as a result of the illness.

I have never been a quitter. I have never been someone who gives in easily. I still fight psoriatic arthritis every day, without anything stronger than a Nurofen at the moment, but its effects are undeniable.

I used to be a dancer, kick boxer, singer and guitarist in a band. I have done many interesting things. But now I can’t really walk properly, I can’t play guitar and I get so tired sometimes that I have to take a nap during the day to try and recover some energy. The joint pain moves around the body and affects my hands and knees now as well as my feet. Sometimes it vanishes completely.

After a while I realised that the illness had taken quite a lot of who I am away. It had robbed me of a lot of myself and I hadn’t realised it. I became aware that the disease was beginning to isolate me, so, I began to challenge the illness. I began to talk about it more and acknowledge it more. I began to understand how psoriatic arthritis was affecting me and how to work with it rather than letting it defeat me.

I began to make YouTube videos about my experiences (see The Foot Of Our Stairs), and the number of responses was unbelievable. There are so many people with this disease, and there I was assuming I was somehow alone in all this. It has been such a positive thing to share my experiences and talk to other PsA Warriors about theirs.

I know that my PsA will probably progress, and I know that there’s not much I can do in the long run. But I can keep fighting, keep talking, and keep on going. And that’s what I’ll do.

Nakita's Story

Hi, my name is Nakita and this is my psoriasis story.

I’ve always had something wrong with my skin, even from a very young age. I had severe eczema at the age of 3 and I can still remember the pain I was in when it was bad. Everytime someone touched me it felt like my skin was on fire. After a while it settled down and eventually went. 

Later on in life when I started secondary school, I was in PE class when I noticed this dry red ‘spot’ on the back of my leg, so I ignored it and didn’t think anything of it. I then noticed that I had a few dry bumps on my scalp. The following week I noticed another one of these ‘spots’ appear, so I went to my mum about it where she then booked me a doctor's appointment. My doctor took a good look at my skin, diagnosed me with psoriasis, and gave me a steroid cream to try out, but then it rapidly spread from my legs up to the bottom of my back. At this point it wasn’t severe at all, it was only minor.

After a few months of applying the cream, my psoriasis settled down a lot but my scalp was still quite bad, so I went to the doctor's again and got prescribed shampoo and solution to apply to my scalp. Everytime my mum applied the solution I would scream the house down (not literally) - it felt like someone was squeezing lemon juice into an open wound. I can’t even describe the pain I was in. We went through countless bottles of shampoo and solutions but nothing ever cleared my scalp up so I just ‘sucked it up’ and carried on with my life like usual.

As you can imagine, having psoriasis in secondary school totally sucked. By the end of year 9 I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression, as well as trying to treat my psoriasis. It was hard but I kicked its butt and I pulled through it! 

And then... in my first year of college the psoriasis came back, and it came back biting! I didn’t want to leave the house, I thought this is the worst I’ve ever had it. I did some research and people have said online that the sun/sunbeds have helped them, so later that year I started having sunbeds and I could not believe the result - after 1 month it had all practically gone! I can wear t-shirts again!!! So I then stopped sunbedding, and kept moisturising my skin so it didn’t go dry again, and it was all good for about 8 months. 

I got admitted to hospital this January with septicemia due to an infection in my kidneys and it almost instantly came back. I thought it couldn’t be as bad as it was when I was in my first year of college, but boy was I wrong. I had never ever seen anything like this before. It was all over my back and there were a few ‘spots’ on my chest but nothing compared to my back.

I went back to the doctors after I recovered from having septicemia, and my doctor told me it has flared up because ‘my body has just gotten over a serious infection and infections can cause psoriasis to flare’. My doctor called it ‘guttate psoriasis’ (I didn’t even know there were different types of psoriasis). At this point she then gave me Eumovate cream to try, alongside more shampoo. I continued to use these as directed by my doctor but, a couple of weeks later, I notice it has started spreading and getting worse on my chest. I also notice that my face is now covered in red patches and dry skin. It hurt to even smile.

Yet again, I went back to my doctor and she gave me this magical cream for my face called Hydrocortisone. It worked wonders for my face, but you’re not allowed to use it for a long period of time so, of course, I eventually ran out of it recently and it has started to come back on my face again. I’m just hoping it doesn’t get as bad as it was again. My doctor also gave me this ‘foam’ called ‘Enstilar’ to try on my skin. It has slightly worked by calming it down but I have recently noticed that new ‘spots’ have appeared on my chest, neck, legs, arms and back. 

When I first had psoriasis I never thought it would be this bad. I have tried so many creams over the past few years that I haven’t mentioned because I can’t remember the names of them, but only a couple have calmed it down. Would I say psoriasis has affected me mentally? Yes, 100%. I used to feel comfortable in my skin and I used to feel pretty when I put make up on, but now, no matter how much make up I put on, I still feel ugly. No matter how much foundation I apply to my skin, you can still see the psoriasis under it. I have massive white scars on my neck and shoulders from previous psoriasis outbursts, that people tend to stare at.

So what I have learnt is, don’t try and hide your skin condition - it is your skin and no one else’s! Sometimes I wish I could talk to someone else who understands me, and understands that going to bed with mittens on isn’t weird because you scratch your psoriasis in your sleep to the point where you have to change your pyjamas because there’s blood all over them. Or someone who understands that you don’t want to leave the house today because it’s really bad and you can’t cover it up with long sleeve tops and a bit of foundation anymore. 

I finally have an appointment to see a skin specialist at the end of this month (April) where hopefully I will be entitled to the UV treatment. I have been waiting for this day for years!! 

Thank you so much for taking your time to ready my story about psoriasis. For all of you beautiful people suffering with the same problem as me, you are not alone in this, we can do this! 

Nakita,

Aged 19. 

Share Your Story With Us


Are you inspired by other people's stories and interested in sharing your own experiences of psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis? Would you like your story to be featured on this page, and on our social media channels?

We are looking for...

  • Your story of life with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (or both) in your own words
  • Ideally 400 words or less (if you want to write more, that's fine too)
  • A photo of yourself to accompany your story (you can provide as many photos as you like)

  • If you're interested in taking part and sharing your story, or you'd like more information about the project, please contact us at
    mail@psoriasis-association.org.uk  

The Psoriasis Association is the UK's leading national charity and membership organisation for people affected by psoriasis – patients, families, carers and health professionals Read More >

Get in touch

The Psoriasis Association Dick Coles House 2 Queensbridge Northampton NN4 7BF

Email: mail@psoriasis-association.org.uk

Tel :
01604 251 620
Fax :
01604 251 621
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