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 

Andy's Story

My name is Andy and I’m 52 years old. I was diagnosed with psoriasis when I was 12 years old. My psoriasis started as a small patch on my left arm. I was seen by a doctor for a few months before being referred to a Dermatologist whom confirmed the diagnosis. I was prescribed some ointments and creams and told to get plenty of sunshine on the affected skin.

As time passed, the creams became ineffective and several more patches appeared all over my body. By the time I was 16 years old I was very self-conscious and depressed. All my friends at the time were enjoying parties and beginning to have relationships. My life at the time had become very isolated and I had shut myself away from the world.

I remember my parents taking me to the seaside one summer. On the beach people stared at me and I became very upset. I locked myself in my father’s car and refused to come out. At home I would cover up all my affected skin and stay in my room. All my school work suffered and I argued with my parents regularly. I became very lonely and isolated.

I was given another appointment with a Dermatologist. This time he discussed the use of oral treatments to reduce the skin coverage. I began taking the medicine and for a few years my life seemed back on track. I was able to get out more and started working for a company that sponsored me to return to college.

Life at this time was much better. I enjoyed my life more and began going out and socialising. Then early on in my twenties I experienced the first of many severe flare ups. I began intensive cream treatments daily and the oral medicines were increased.

I was working in a hospital at the time with long shifts and difficult work. I met someone and for the first time was enjoying being in love. Then one day I woke up and I was feeling very ill. I had to take time off work and go for various tests. It was decided to stop the oral treatment to give my body a break.

The result then was a massive flare up with 80% of my body covered in psoriasis. I had a fever and my body temperature increased. The psoriasis became inflamed, scarlet red and very sore. I collapsed and was admitted to hospital as an emergency patient.

I was to remain in hospital for 3 months while the doctors tried to stabilise me. I lost my job and eventually my new relationship ended. I became extremely depressed and angry with my life. The result of this was to be the first attempt to end my life.

I did eventually stabilise with a lot of medical help. My life then became an endless cycle of topical and oral treatments. I did manage to return to work for a while. But I ended up needing a lot of psychological treatment and my medicines needed reviewing regularly. The strong medicines eventually damaged my liver. I still have to visit a liver doctor yearly to check on the status of the damage.

I was able to work for a long time until I collapsed at work one day. I had been experiencing a lot of joint pain and extreme tiredness at the time. I thought I had picked up flu bug. But this episode was to last for several months. I was eventually so bad I took to my bed and remained there for two years. I was referred back to the hospital several times before a Rheumatologist diagnosed I had psoriatic arthritis.

None of the oral medication worked and, after losing my job, I became unable to work. I had periods of time when I was better but no one would employ me. After about 200 employment rejections my depression returned and I became isolated again.

After a few exhausting years of struggling, I was finally accepted to try a new treatment. I began using biological treatments which gave me a better quality of life. I experienced many side effects and a lot exhaustion during this time.

During the last 10 years I have used several different types of biological treatments. My life at the moment is much better with the help of biological treatments. I still suffer with a lot of daily pain and awful tiredness. But without these treatments I would be much worse off.

I used to hate psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. They have made my life very difficult and often unbearable. But more modern and effective treatments have eased my burden. I still have plenty of bad days but I have become much stronger in my mind. A great turning around point for me was to eventually realise that I can love and accept myself with this condition.

The Psoriasis Association has reached 50 years old on its mission to tell the world all about psoriasis. It has achieved great things along the way. I’m glad it still exists to promote a much better understanding of this awful condition.

This is my story about living with psoriasis for nearly 40 years. I hope by telling my story it will give those that read it a better understanding of what it is like to live with psoriasis.

Anne-Marie's Story

I was first diagnosed with guttate psoriasis when I was 3 years old - 50 years ago. It isn't isolated to any one part of my body but can appear anywhere.

Back in the early days the treatment was very basic, betnovate scalp application and coal tar ointment. This treatment continued through my school days and I lived with taunts of 'flaky, scabby and spotty'. Nowadays this would be classed as bullying, back then it was something you got used to.

School life was difficult and as I hit my teenage years I would find any excuse not to do sport because I didn't want people to see my skin. The emotional support wasn't there then and following my O levels I had my worst break out and was admitted to Hull Royal Infirmary. This was to be the first of many visits as an in-patient. What I didn’t know was a newly qualified nurse with 2 small boys would be a part of my psoriasis journey to this day and she is now my specialist nurse.

Over the years the treatments have progressed and I've tried everything, steroid creams, UVA (which I still have), PUVA, ciclosporin and methotrexate all to no avail. The only time in 50 years that I have been clear was through both of my pregnancies.

In 2008 biological drugs were introduced to me and they have changed my life. All has not gone smoothly. I started with Etanercept but this stopped working after a while so I moved onto Humira. This also stopped working. Next step was Cosentyx but this made me feel generally unwell. I'm now on Otezla and although not 100% clear I'm not far off and feel the best I have for a long time.

The psychological effect of psoriasis is immense, not only for the sufferer but for families and friends. Until you live with psoriasis you can never understand how time consuming the management of it can be. Moisturising alone takes up a massive amount of time daily, let alone the application of creams.

We are surrounded by pictures in magazines and on the TV of the 'perfect body'. Learning to live with what the media perceives as imperfect puts immense pressure on psoriasis sufferers, but a social media group called 'get your skin out' has encouraged me to put my skin out there. After all nobody is perfect and beauty is skin deep.

Learning more recently that psoriasis is an auto-immune disease has made it easier to deal with. I know stress aggravates it and I know rest is important to help keep it stable. Above all else psoriasis is part of me. I have never accepted it. I have good days and bad days and I am finally learning to live with it. I couldn't do this without my family, my specialist nurse and the dermatology department of my local hospital.

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.

  • Alicja
  • Andy
  • Anne-Marie
  • Lee

Lyndsey's Story

Psoriasis appeared in my life when I was 19 and I’ve battled with it ever since… At the age of 36 I‘ve still not been able to accept it. The endless appointments visiting doctors, dermatologists and clinics hoping someone can help me look and feel less of a freak!

No matter how hard I try to ‘accept the skin I’m in’, living with psoriasis is unsightly, flaky, scaly, sore, dry and itchy skin. Looking in the mirror I stare long and hard and wonder why this has happened to me.

My nails, which were once long, and my pride to paint in wondrous colours, are now flaky, short yellow coloured, indented remains. Day to day tasks such as handing over money in a shop I feel so self-conscious. My toe nails, crumbly and yellowed, push from the nail bed causing so much discomfort and pain. Psoriasis is so much more than a bit of dry skin…

I long for the patches to disappear for me to look in the mirror and see me again instead of the hideous patches. Psoriasis has taken away the beauty of my skin and my self-confidence.

Every day is a battle having to hide myself away from the world, as I feel judged and ashamed of how psoriasis makes me look. I plan outfits in advance, ensuring my psoriasis is covered.

I love and loathe the warmer months in equal measure. I love the sun shining and the sensation of the sun beating down on my psoriasis patches, I find the sun helps my skin immensely, but with that I have the loathing and dread of uncovering my skin for the world to see. Wearing clothing that exposes my psoriasis makes me feel horrendous.

People often comment when I wear short sleeves and display the large patches of psoriasis that cover the majority of my arms. Comments range from innocent questions from children asking if I have fell over and scraped my arms, to adults enquiring if I am contagious and suggesting I should try a moisturiser.

In 2017 after yet another disappointing trip to the dermatologist, I decided to take part in Clinical Research medical trial for a psoriasis treatment. It felt empowering to know I was involved in something that might help psoriasis sufferers. It was my fight back against psoriasis!

I’ve tried every cream, lotion and potion available, I’ve had numerous rounds of light therapy and now I’m on a systemic medication and hoping this helps… Psoriasis is so much more than just a skin condition.

Marcelina's Story

I first learned about psoriasis in 2006. Nobody in my family was ill. I knew nothing about this disease, nothing at all. I was in the course of a diploma practice which I had at ING Bank in Poland. I wrote a diploma thesis, I was finishing a serious relationship, the family situation was difficult - my parents wanted to go abroad. All at once.

The psoriatic lesion first appeared on my head. The first dermatologist I saw told me that it's nothing important and will pass. So I did not worry if it was "nothing important". The problem, however, got bigger.

After leaving the hospital, I could not wash the oil out of my long hair, so I asked my dad to cut it off completely. Razor to zero. Mama did not agree. I did not want to bother with daily lubrication, washing, lubrication, washing... And hair to the waist... I thought it would be funny, and it turned out that people said I had leukemia. I wore a headscarf because there were visible psoriatic lesions. My family were afraid that they would get infected from me. My grandparents did not know what it was at all.

After completing my diploma thesis I went to the same bank for an internship, and with them I associated my hopes for future work. After six months of internship, I signed a contract with ING in another city and moved there. A few days later, my parents went to the Netherlands. It was as if I lost them forever.

I went to a Polish organisation connecting people with psoriasis, thanks to which I started to meet other people sick like me. I went to general meetings of this Association - meetings, conferences - it turned out that I am not alone with this disease. I learned a lot about the disease, I knew all the traditional methods of psoriasis treatment, and I got used to the idea that it was incurable. I opened up, I started talking about it, also at work.

I still remember, a friend with whom we worked in the branch, seeing me drink from her cup - threw it into the trash, saying that she was abhorred. It was the time when we worked together with another person in a three-person team in a new branch. Then I lost my heart to this place. I could not work with people who disgusted me, but I did not have the opportunity to change branch.

I returned to my parents' apartment during this period, so I commuted 40km daily by train. I started to have more and more problems with the disease, fast pace, stress at work, but there was no time to go to the doctor because I worked every day from 7am to 6pm, plus commuting. The bank's branch was located in the City Hall, so there were customers all the time, there was a constant queue, and the germs made me more and more ill. Psoriasis is associated with immunity, so I became ill more often, longer and worse each time. One time I was called to talk to the director. He said that if this is the case, he will not extend my contract. I was devastated.

Not long after, I received a phone call from the branch in which I had a practice and internship. They offered me an alternative passage. For me this was like something sent from heaven because, thanks to this, the road to work would take me 10 minutes’ walk. I started a new chapter and there was time to see a doctor during the week and not to have to look for someone in the evenings privately. Psoriasis, however, did not let go.

Every year I went to the hospital for treatment - two weeks hospital, two weeks post-abortive relief. For this "luxury" I had to wait until the end of September so that everyone at work could use their holidays during the holiday season. As a rule I could not sit down because my legs would stick. I worked in sweaters or suits all year long because my skin was cracking and bleeding, and the requirement of a white blouse didn’t leave me a lot of choice. Long sleeves were standard for me. I could not show customers the cracking and bleeding on my hands. Long pants regardless of the heat. Only I know how much time I put into my hair in the morning to cover all the changes on my head with hairspray. Camouflage to work on direct customer service was, for me, the basic activity that I had to do every day.

I hid psoriasis at work, but not among colleagues. Due to the annual hospital treatment, I told them what I was struggling with. They accepted me. I talked to them a lot about it, they were incredibly understanding. I never heard a bad word, only words of compassion. They were my second family. We kept friendly contacts also outside of work. I also had many friends with whom I worked in two other companies. Every second weekend we spent on training. And also friends from outside of work - friends for either simple or difficult conversations at any time of the day or night. I've never been alone.

I took care of my grandmother who lived with me. I took her on visits to the doctors, after a hip fracture and insertion of a pacemaker. She suffered from RA and diabetes, and I extended my time to the maximum. I lived fast, intensely, a lot. Everything was on time. My illness was secondary.

I did not care about psoriasis all the time. Until I felt good - it was good... I knew a lot about it, I accepted it enough that I talked about it openly when someone asked me what happened to my skin. I was not scared to live, I did not stay at home, I felt that people should learn about this disease. However, many absorbing activities allowed me to make only individual people aware of things that were "on the way".

There were more and more changes at work in the bank. The friendly atmosphere changed into a rat race, and my parents more often told me to move closer to them.

I left the bank hearing that I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I never thought so. Rather I felt that I was free from the gaze of other people, from my personal prison. I could not be myself. My daily work deprived me of a few hours of freedom, because I had to cover my body.

I went to the Netherlands in June 2014. I did not know any foreign language and I had to continue to heal myself. I studied the local health service from scratch, I asked people to go with me to a dermatologist. I started from scratch. Even the medical documentation from Poland did not matter.

I paid for the first six months in the Netherlands with a very bad mood. From the fast, happy, active life I suddenly fell into complete silence. I did not understand anything, did not say anything, I lived like in prison. I worked physically, mostly on night shifts, because my parents worked too, and in the day my daughter could not be alone (she was then 4 years old). I remember this time as sad and at the same time physically tiring.

I started the year 2015 by leaving my job. I could not live that way, and psoriasis was more and more resistant to standard treatment and more and more active. I spent a few months at home, regenerating my strength and skin. The institution that helped me financially offered me a job in a Dutch company, where I could only speak Dutch, so I listened for the first months, still not saying much. In the meantime, I've already learned to speak in English (conversations with people in a previous job helped a lot) so I was independent in dealing with doctors and research. In this work, I started to understand the Dutch language.

2016 brought me the first Dutch contract. I was proud to start work where I was appreciated and where I communicated with people freely. Psoriasis was treated pharmacologically at that time, no external therapies were used. I was also calmer. I had a permanent work contract. Finally, a normal life began, or so I thought...

In September 2016, all this stopped. I have been living with a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis for 1.5 years. At that time I had thyroid cancer, asthma problems and psychological therapy.

I try to help other people. From the beginning of my journey with the disease I have been running a Polish support group for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The group operates under the patronage of the Polish organisation, the Union of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Associations, to help create a better way for people tomorrow.

I try to acquire and expand knowledge amongst patients about these diseases in other countries. I'm running a blog about my psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (in Polish language). I want these diseases not to be taboo, and to show that psoriatic arthritis does not break the principles of freedom of life. 

I never lost hope.

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. 

Olivia's Story

I have always had psoriasis since I can remember. I remember being in secondary school and having it so bad on my face, but first thinking it was acne and my mam buying all these acne soaps and creams which, looking back now, only made it worse.

I also had it really bad in my scalp. Well I say ‘had’ - I still have it quite severe in my scalp now, but being so young and not having the correct diagnosis was very stressful. My skin on my scalp would get infected very easily and it was awful having to go into school with yellow, flaky skin around my forehead and in my scalp.

I grew out of it being that bad and, from leaving secondary school to being 23 years old, my psoriasis was manageable. I had the right diagnosis and had plaque psoriasis. I always think back to how bad I thought my skin was in that gap from leaving secondary school to turning 23. Little did I know the worst was yet to come.

Just before my 23rd birthday I had what I can only describe as the worst skin flare up I could (and hopefully will) ever have in my life. Literally my skin changed overnight. I woke up with tiny dots over my arms, hands and stomach. I work in a hospital so thought I had caught something from a patient. I went straight to my doctors and they thought I had a hair follicle infection.

3-4 days of taking antibiotics made no difference so I decided to go back to see a different doctor who then told me the devastating news that I had guttate psoriasis which should clear in 4-6 weeks. All I had to do was keep my skin moisturised. I found this information to be an absolute lie!!

As the days, weeks and months continued, I became more covered in these horrendous, ugly-looking dots and they were starting to get bigger as well. The itch was unbearable and I became very low and depressed. I reckon I spent about £300 on things I’d seen people use online who have the same condition and they were completely healed. Nothing helped! Turmeric capsules, probiotics, covering my full body in coconut oil, sea salt baths, going gluten and dairy free. I even ordered a cream from Germany, I think it was, and that didn't help.

Eventually I got referred to dermatology. My appointment came through for June and we were in March! There was no way in hell I could physically or mentally wait ‘til June. Thankfully, with my amazing mam ringing every day to see if there were any cancellations, I got an appointment in April.

I was that low that even going to this appointment and being told I was going to start UVB light treatment at the time made me feel no better. I just thought ‘I had tried everything, why was this going to be any different?’ However, 4-5 treatments down the line I started to notice a difference. I could not believe my skin was changing before my eyes. These little dots were still on my body but they were no longer as thick to feel and the redness was going.

I am now on my 13th UVB light treatment and I'm a completely different person to that lost woman I was in March of this year. I hope this message lets people who are in the midst of suffering with psoriasis at the minute, or in the middle of a bad flare up, know that it will pass - I promise! And try not to push anyone away who just wants to try and make it better for you. Let your family love you because we all deserve it!!

  • Lyndsey
  • Marcelina
  • Nakita
  • Olivia

Rhianna's Story

Hello, my name is Rhianna and I’m 17 years old. I began my psoriasis journey when I was just 11 years old. I remember waking to red, angry patches covering my body, that felt like a paper cut. I was confused and that’s the least I can say.

Weeks before I discovered I had psoriasis, I had moved to a completely different town, hours away from home, leaving behind family, friends and memories. It was a positive new start for me, well that’s what I thought. I hated it! I used to reassure myself that it will get better soon. I became emotionally drained.

I had no idea that psoriasis even existed until my dad reassured me that he also suffers. My confidence was non-existent. I remembered myself being this positive, smiling young girl who had no worries. I stopped doing the things I once loved like socialising and even going to school. I became just blank like a canvas. I lost myself.

I had to undergo PUVA treatment which gave me hope in finding myself again. The treatment left me drained and unmotivated. I had my first experience of sleep paralysis due to how drained I was with the early morning travels to a different town. My face was covered in painful burns. I just felt helpless and sorry for myself.

It was suggested that I talk to someone professionally to just talk. My confidence slowly came back as I began to write my feelings in a book. My psoriasis became unnoticeable from the strong treatment and I just reconnected in general.

Most people with psoriasis will know the struggle of feeling not good enough in your own skin. It’s the learning how to deal with that thought. Accepting your flaws and just being confident. Show strength to those who doubted you and forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for the pain you’ve put yourself through. 

Russ' Story

Russ has chosen to share his experiences of psoriatic arthritis by writing a poem. Have a read below, or listen to Russ read his poem aloud instead.

Psoriatic arthritis
What the hell is that?
Are you growing an extra head?
Will you need two hats?

The total lack of knowledge
Totally flummoxed me.
I was having an assessment
At the D.W.P.

I accept that my condition
Is not exactly common.
Even my family’s understanding
Borders on the rotten.

People only see my skin,
They cannot see inside.
I’m too young for arthritis,
People often chide.

They don’t see me in the morning,
Crawling out of my pit.
I’m like Bambi full of whiskey,
Going for a p*ss.

I get some tablets down me,
Cover myself with grease.
A fag and a strong coffee
Brings me inner peace.

I’m ready for the day now,
See what fun it brings.
Already I am giggling,
I can’t open the bin.

Fat fingers are a nuisance,
They’re swollen and they’re sore.
I start to butter a piece of toast
And drop it on the floor.

I must use half a loaf each day,
There is toast everywhere.
But that’s one of the problems
Of having paws like Yogi Bear.

It looks like I’m staying in today,
Using keys is such a chore.
I have been trying for 10 minutes
But can’t unlock the door.

PsA is weird,
Some days it ain’t there.
I feel I could go dancing
Just like Fred Astaire.

Then other days it hits you
With a full frontal assault.
I struggle to even walk
Never mind run like Usain Bolt.

That’s what really baffles me,
How will I be tomorrow?
Will I be dancing in the street?
Or drowning in my sorrow?

The latest drug really helps,
It’s fresh off the shelf.
For the first time in 20 years
I feel like myself.

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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